by Mike Ratliff
1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. 4 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. 5 When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:1-5 ESV)
The god of the natural man is self. Worship of self revolves around self-gratification. This idolatry is enhanced in a consumer driven economy such as in the United States. The “visible church” is not immune. From pastors like Steven Furtick becoming so wealthy that he can build a huge 16,000 square foot mansion to Mark Driscoll and his elders forcing all of the leaders in his church to sign non-compete agreements that if they leave that church for whatever reason they cannot start a new church or even become part of an existing church within a certain square mile radius of any of the Mars Hills campuses. These things are the fruit of “ministries” that are focused primarily on the “bottom line.” If you keep these things in mind then you must understand that how these ministers and those like them “minister” to their “flocks” is all designed to keep the money flowing in.
by Mike Ratliff
“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:3-5 KJV)
The god of the natural man is self. Worship of self revolves around self-gratification. This idolatry is enhanced in a consumer driven economy such as in the United States. Today is Thanksgiving Day and tomorrow is called Black Friday because it is supposed to be the heaviest shopping day of the year as people hit the stores to buy Christmas gifts at supposedly lower prices. The day is called Black Friday because it is traditional that most retailer’s ledgers and balance sheets get into the black for the first time in the year. As a result we are inundated with sale papers and ads on TV about sales that begin before the Sun comes up.
This consumerism is the fruit of an economic system that is designed to manipulate people into buying things that they would not ordinarily buy. Christmas has become a commercial holiday that is all about buying gifts and spending money. The holiday was supposed to celebrate the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, however, that meaning has been relegated to the back burner or lost in the shuffle. Now, it is all about buying gifts and receiving gifts. To the retailer, it is a time for making money. No matter from what angle we approach Christmas, it seems that it is all about greed. God’s people are called to be different. Their focus should not be on self at all, but on serving their Lord in obedience and love. Continue reading