Modern citizens are consumed by life, liberty, and the pursuit of more and better stuff. This obsession is fueled by the relentless flow of advertisement campaigns designed to keep the products moving by creating an almost insatiable desire for material goods.

(Interlude – Bob is on his soapbox: The irony is that when it comes to advertising, material goods is not the “product” being sold–YOU ARE! If a Hollywood producer can get you to sit in front of your TV for 30 minutes to watch a show, he or she can then “sell you” to corporate America during that time slot. If that same producer can get everyone on your block to do the same, his or her profits just skyrocketed. Personally, I am not as sickened by the system as I am repulsed by the depths to which Hollywood will stoop in order to get us glued to our tubes!)

Back to our topic–materialism. The tragedy in our modern, materialistic culture is that feelings of personal satisfaction and happiness actually DECLINE among people who become driven by a need for financial success and numerous possessions. People who buy into the values of a consumer culture often end up starved for close friends, family, or any deeper meaning in their lives.

Money and possessions are hollow fixes for doubts about self-worth, worries about life’s uncertainties, and, especially, fears of death. “When money becomes the focus of what you think is important, your motivation and well-being suffer. Increases in one’s salary don’t equate with increases in happiness.” (Tim Kasser, “Buyer Beware,” Science News, September 6, 2003, p. 152).

As human beings we naturally seek to overcome our feelings of worthlessness and insignificance. We battle against the anxiety caused by life’s uncertainty. And who among us can deny that death holds a particularly strong influence over our thinking. But, the conclusion being reached by modern mental health experts is this: making money and material goods the object of our affections is counterproductive in our attempts to adequately respond to the human condition. What we need, ultimately, is to love and to be loved.

Funny how “true science” and God’s Word always wind up agreeing. God has been telling the human family for a long time that it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10).  May we never love money but, rather, may we always be growing in our ability to love God and to love one another.