Beware of Materialism

I was always aware of the subtle irony when I worked in product development at a company that made products for wealthy people. It’s not that I’m completely non-materialist–I’ve always like tools and gadgets–but that having material goods has not been a priority of mine since somewhere in my college days.

Bible Study Magazine contains an article this issue that is a story about the president of China Bible Seminary in Hong Kong. Julie Wu grew up there, but obtained a Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary in California.

She discusses the difficulties of talking with people whose religion is Buddhism or ancestor worship. Today’s materialist culture in Hong Kong, which she compares to the West, presents the biggest challenge to talking to people about spiritual things.

“Materialism powerfully draws away Christians’ attention to God and our dependence on Him. It leaves us with no time to develop a closer or deeper relationship,” she says. This orientation toward life leaves one open to sin or helplessness.

Jesus, the Proverbs, and countless other teachers have preached on the problems of materialism. This is not a distinctively 20th-21st Century problem. I find it interesting that people were teaching about that some 4,000 years ago.

Every once in a while, it is good to step back and do a self-check. What am I holding on to? Are my urges pointed toward acquiring something material? Am I able to control those urges?

Early in my career, I was interviewing for a position whose compensation would have been substantially greater than what I was making. “What would you do with the additional money?” the interviewer inquired.

A good thought to ponder.

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