Tag Archives: materialism

Where Are Your Monuments?

339px-Washington_Monument_Dusk_Jan_2006What is important to a nation? Look at her monuments. In our country we raise monuments to political leaders like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and presidential libraries. We build shrines to honor wars and those who die in war like the World War II memorial or the Vietnam Wall. In our own town we honor veterans and even sports teams for their victories. Monuments show us our values and priorities. Every monument, great or small, requires an investment of time and money to build. We only invest in those things that are important to us.

God had his people build monuments too. The Lord had the Israelites build a memorial of stones taken from the Jordan River. These dozen stones commemorated the crossing of the Jordan when Israel finally entered the Promised Land (Joshua 4:1-7). Monuments are significant because they declare our values and publicize our priorities.

All of us are building monuments. We don’t think about it because we are not cutting stone and erecting great walls and statues. Nevertheless, we are building monuments to our personal values and priorities. Where you invest your time, energy and money proclaims what is most important to you. As you might expect, some monuments are worthy but many are not.

Monuments to Self

For some, they alone are the most important priority in life. We know this because their shrines are all about themselves. They are built to draw attention to their lives. Someone might invest heavily in clothing and jewelry to adorn themselves beautifully. A man might spend untold hours in the gym sculpting his physique. Some preachers are even known to primp and prep before a sermon not to better glorify God but to look better themselves.

Nebuchadnezzar is the Biblical example of a narcissist who built monuments to himself (Daniel 4:28-33). He lifted himself up through his great building projects only to be shattered in humiliation by the God of heaven. There really is no place for self-worship or self-aggrandizement in the Kingdom. We are simply servants (Luke 17:10).

Monuments to Wealth

For many, we pursue things. We collect wealth in our accounts and material items in and around our homes. Sometimes our choices have little to do with need or value. Instead we seek to seen and noticed for our display of wealth. Our choice of automobiles, address and clothing often signifies what is most important in our lives. Our career pursuits are linked to wealth monuments because the clearest sign of job success is the paycheck.

Paul reminds us how temporary wealth can be. In 1 Timothy 6:7 he writes, “we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world.”  As tortured Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return” (Job 1:21). Just as we would never think of building a great war memorial out of paper, we should rethink the personal monuments we build too.

Monuments to God

It is also possible, and desirable, to build monuments to God. This is akin to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount encouragement to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). Just as we build shrines here to our values, we also build up monuments in heaven. Unlike earthly constructs the heavenly monuments are lasting and eternal. They neither age nor corrupt. Even the Washington Monument, at 555 feet of granite, marble and gneiss, will one day collapse. But our heavenly monuments never tarnish and never fade.

We build these monuments to God through our faith, dedication, attitudes, worship and money. The one who skimps toward God in any of these areas lessens the memorial he offers to God.  Paul calls on us to present our very lives as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

I wonder, how’s your heavenly monument coming along?

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Comfortable Sin

Comfort foods are foods that bring us great satisfaction. Chocolate cake, a homemade chicken casserole, extra hot sanchos from Taco Casa in Tuscaloosa. Right? The problem is that comfort foods are usually unhealthy, especially in volume.  We never fuss at anyone about eating them because they are so common and, well, comforting.

Jason Todd at Relevant magazine writes about a comfort sin. He calls it The Socially Acceptable Sin. I don’t know Jason but he nails it on the head in this brief article. I encourage all my readers to ingest his discomforting words and make application as needed.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Lord Keep Me From the Extremes

Would you rather be rich or poor? Does it matter? The wisest man ever, who happened to have great wealth, said it like this:

“Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

give me neither poverty or riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me,

lest I be full and deny you

and say,” Who is the Lord?”

or lest I be poor and steal

and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8-9)

Solomon desired neither wealth nor poverty for both bring their own sets of problems and challenges which the King wanted to avoid.

Some have advocated poverty for those who seek the Lord. They have renounced earthly wealth and have chosen to live impoverished lives thinking that the life of the pauper is spiritually superior. And we are well acquainted with preachers of the “prosperity gospel” who call the faithful to great wealth every Sunday through television and radio. Continue reading Lord Keep Me From the Extremes

Treasures on Earth?

American financial markets have struggled this week. The government seizure of key mortgage and insurance businesses and the bankruptcy of another cause great fear and trembling within that industry. Pictures of business executives wringing their hands and shaking their heads have been commonplace. One picture that stands out to me was taken in front of the Lehman Brothers offices in Manhattan. There formerly high paid employees were seen leaving and taking all of their belongings out in a single box. How sad!

The disruptions in the American markets however, emphasize something Jesus said Continue reading Treasures on Earth?