The American Dream. Achievement of this goal has brought millions to our shores looking for a better life. Not only has the pursuit of this dream been a large driver in American history, it’s also a force to be reckoned with today. We are bombarded daily with pressure to live up to this dream and compete with our neighbors to reach it. In order to win this competition we need to accumulate as much wealth and material possessions as possible. To a degree, we have even excused this race to wealth by co-opting it into American Christian theology. It’s not difficult to find Christian teaching about how God wants us to live full, comfortable, and successful lives that look an awful lot like this elusive dream.
And indeed God does want us to be successful. But I’m afraid our definition of success may not mirror his. Does success for the Christian mean having the biggest McMansion on the block while there are homeless people on the other side of town? Does it mean driving the nicest gas-guzzling SUV in town while there are people in Africa who have no fit water to drink? Does it mean being entertained in our living room by the largest plasma TV available while tribes in South America have never heard the gospel? Does it mean wearing a designer name on our backside while the poor barely have any clothes at all? Does it mean diverting the resources God has given us to only serve ourselves?
Perhaps a better gauge of success for the Christian would be how we use what God has placed in our hands to reach those who need help. This lines up much better with the mission we’ve spoken of so far—the mission of going to the need and sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
Not to say we can’t have nice things, but this definition of success does require some sacrifice. No one but God can tell you where the boundary between having nice things and living only for yourself exists personally for you. But it does exist.
Yesterday we saw how the marathon runner became distracted and followed something that didn’t lead him to the finish line. It’s up to us to make sure our pursuit of the American Dream doesn’t become a distraction by siphoning away the resources God has given us to achieve our mission.
If you’d like to explore this concept a little further, I’ve included a very much related discussion about how our needs are met on my original blog SonBurn.
Tomorrow we’ll venture where angels fear to tread.
Live The Mission,