This one is kind of ironic given my job, but that’s why I think it is especially important for me to keep in mind. While I am certainly not wealthy by the modern American standards, I am surrounded by wealth and its pursuit. It’s easy when I read the verses warning about the dangers of wealth and the love of money to think of it as applying to “those people” – the millionaires and billionaires who have lifestyles that I can’t really fathom. But it’s important to always keep in perspective that most Americans ARE¬†wealthy when you look at worldwide averages. I drive a car that runs well and has a working a/c and heater, I live in a comfortable home with plenty of room for our family, we never have to worry about where our next meal is coming from or if our electricity will be shut off, I have a smartphone that keeps me connected to others pretty much anywhere I go, I have some retirement savings, and my family is covered by health insurance in case we have any medical emergencies.

Despite all of these comforts and extras, it’s amazing how much society insists to us daily that we “need” more. Renting an apartment isn’t good enough, we must own a house with a minimum of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a fenced backyard….my outdated phone isn’t flashy enough and I need to go ahead and upgrade to a new model…I need to have more stored away in savings “for a rainy day”….I need to be more ambitious and pursue a position that will pay more, because of course anything less than 6 figures just isn’t enough….I need to buy my son hundreds of dollars worth of gifts for each birthday and holiday because that’s apparently what “good parents” do….I need to enroll him in all kinds of enrichment activities because that’s the only way he can truly be successful in life….enough.

At some point, we have to start ignoring the voices.

Why do we listen to the criticisms and advice of people whose lives we have no desire to actually emulate?

Why do we care what they think of our decisions instead of what God explicitly tells us in His Word?

Why do we frame our entire lives around the fear of missing out or of not having enough instead of embracing the freedom of faith in Jesus Christ?

Do we think he isn’t telling us the truth when Jesus says God knows our needs and will provide for them, or are we just that arrogant that having our needs met isn’t enough for us?

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” I Timothy 6:6-11

Let’s take the advice of Paul and flee all of these things. Flee the pressure and the lies that make us slaves to earning more and buying more and impressing more. Let’s flee these chains and pursue higher things.