Main, Opinion, z25
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No, You Cannot Have a Billion Dollars


Photo: BostonBill/Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo: BostonBill/Flickr/Creative Commons

I am sure that you are here for a reason. Every human being has a purpose attached to their existence, and feeding ourselves is not the meaning of life. Building important things means more than becoming the richest person in the cemetery.

Recently I had to wait in a parking lot for someone, while a thunderstorm poured water on everything. I was safe and dry in my truck, but I got bored so I drove over to a huge home improvement center and went inside until the rain stopped.

Window shopping for paint, and power tools, and patio furniture distracted me for a while, and just when that got old, a friend walked around a corner and said hello. My friend goes to the church I used to attend, until I moved, and we talked for a while.

One thing was clear, my friend wasn’t hiding from the rain; he was working in the mega home improvement store. The economy is in a recession, where I live, and my friend found a low paying retail job to survive. Now he can’t go to church because he works on Sundays.

My contracting business is also in decline, but we talked about how we still pay our bills by working hard. We might grumble, but no one listens, and then we have to get back to work. A slow economy annoys us older men, but it is much worse for young adults who are trying to get their lives started; they really feel the pain. I thought about these things when I left the store.

What should we do now?

Money is one image for the god of this world, and it owns us. We struggle when we are short, and complain to anyone who will listen, and we squander our paychecks on toys when the money is good. Materialism is the worship of a god and it can make life into a circular ride. Not enough or too much and maybe more, can own our attention. We can love money when we have it, and when we want it.

So do you want a billion dollars? Money is a side effect, a supporting spin off when we discover our real purpose. When we focus on the supporting resources we lose the life project, the purpose, the thing we should be building. If we get lost in what we need, we lose what we were made for.

In the Bible, God simply detested Christians who are blinded by the cash flow:

So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of My mouth! You say, ‘I am rich; I have grown wealthy and need nothing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3: 16 and 17).

That is very strong language for people who work hard and pay the bills, ‘You do not know that you are blind.’

The tragedy of materialism is the loss of vision. Too many lives are distracted and wasted by the supporting details while the purpose and project are lost. Money always looks the same, and it does the same things; we only need it for financial support. We should all dream and see visions; the world needs new ideas.

Hoarding resources to feed ourselves is like climbing higher on a sinking ship. Possibly the slow economy is good for my friend and me; it might improve our vision. And the future must be renewed with our dreams and visions, not with crowded and crumbling old things.

Steve Jobs was the leader of Apple Computers when it grew from nothing to the wealthiest corporation in the world. He ended with billions of dollars, but he didn’t start there. As a young man he took a class in calligraphy, artistic handwriting, and developed a vision for style and image, when computers were ugly machines. He found his vision, and then he started Apple Computers in a borrowed garage, with a few friends. The important asset was Steve Job’s vision and everything grew from that.

The first Christians had nothing and were afraid for their lives, but God gave them a vision, and they changed the world. So what holds us back?

This is God’s answer to a recession:

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)

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