In the beatitudes (Matthew 5), Jesus shared that the poor are blessed because they often are richer in faith. Yet we rarely associate the word “blessing” with the word “poor.” In fact, the American Dream has taught us to compliment wealth more than character. You rarely hear, “He lost it all, but he’s blessed. He’s standing firm, and his family is standing with him.” Instead, we say, “Wow. He’s so blessed. He just got a raise.” Or, “You are so blessed to have such a beautiful house.” Perhaps we, as Christians, should use the word “blessed” more thoughtfully.
Can we really reconcile the American Dream with Jesus’ messages? In Matthew 6:24, Jesus clearly states that we cannot serve both God and money. But the American Dream says we can do both—in fact, that we are entitled to both. From every street corner, computer screen, and radio station blares the same theme: You need this to be happy! You need this to succeed! YOU NEED MORE STUFF! Our possessions hold us captive, and we soon find ourselves enslaved to the worldly desires of security, comfort, and success.
Jesus calls us to discard our idol of the American Dream, to prevent materialism from hindering our pursuit of God. Let’s not allow our stuff to obstruct God’s work.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
*Content for this slideshow came from an article which first appeared in Fusion magazine Spring 2013. Used with permission.
Felicia Alvarez, a graduate of Liberty University, lives in Southern California and loves avocados, sunshine, and serving her Savior. Currently, she teaches dance to over one hundred students and is working on her second book. Connect with Felicia on her blog or on Facebook, she would love to hear from you!