Throughout our day to day lives, it often feels as if there are a million commitments and responsibilities grabbing for our attention while simultaneously begging us to commit our time, energy, and resources to them. We as human beings crave success, accomplishment, and establishing ourselves as worthy among our peers. We believe that by remaining busy, productive, and constantly ‘on the move’ we will gain the fulfillment we are longing for. While this sometimes has the potential to make us feel purposeful and productive, it has a very tangible way of creating a sense of exhaustion, high stress, and even chaos within our lives. If we as followers of Jesus Christ aren’t careful, we may find ourselves completely depleted with nothing of eternal value to even show for it. It’s important that you ask yourself this question: “Are the things I’m giving my life to really worth it?” While this point of self examination is a sobering one, it’s one that we are excited to see you answer with a resounding “YES!” We at Alpha Ministries are so glad that you have found yourself on our blog and sincerely hope you leave encouraged, refreshed, and excited for what God is doing in your life.
What the World Says…
Lots of money, a lucrative career, an attractive spouse and talented children… for many of us, this is the standard and worldly measure of success that we’ve been taught to pursue since before we were able to walk or talk. “Want to look successful? Drive a fancy car that you probably can’t afford. Want to make those around you proud? Make as much money as humanly possible and spend it blatantly on your comfort. Wait as long as you can before retiring and then buy a beach home and spend your final years playing golf and relaxing by the water.” When looking to secular, American culture, this is the mentality we are trained to conform to and abide by in order to live a happy life worthy of our limited time on Earth. John Piper, beloved pastor and author said it best while speaking to a group of college students when he made the statement, “the main tragedy is having a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures until you die in your lakeside rocking chair, wrinkled and useless, leaving a big fat inheritance to your middle-aged children to confirm them in their worldliness. That’s the main tragedy.”
So what happens when the few of us “fortunate” enough achieve this materialistic goal actually do it? According to recent studies on the American population as a whole, we are currently the most addicted, overweight, and medicated human society in documented history. The results speak for themselves and are gravely concerning. We at Alpha Ministries cannot help but grieve the fact that there are millions of Americans spending their entire God-given lives seeking to achieve material and monetary success. Worst of all, at the end of the day, they come to realize that they’re more miserable and discontent then they could have ever prepared for.
What Scripture Says…
In Matthew 6:19-20, it says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” In two simple verses, the secular standard and expectation for how we should prioritize our time and material pursuits are shot down in an instant. We learn through God’s word that our focus should be on eternity to come, righteous pursuits of holiness, and service to others. In the book of 2 Corinthians, the church in Corinth is instructed to give of themselves to others rather than to their own worldly comforts. Paul writes in chapter nine, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” While we may have our lists of nonprofit organizations and ministries that we love to give to (perhaps Alpha Ministries?) can we honestly step back and claim that we are living biblical lives marked by giving? If not, take heart and understand that we are broken, confused people who are desperately in need of God’s grace every day. Know also today that the American standard for success and biblical characteristics of what true achievement look like are polar opposites. You were created to live a life of abundance and not the cheap version of worldly materialism you often are told you should pursue.
Ways to Grow…
When faced with the reality that we are called as Christians to live a lifestyle that counters what the culture we live in says to do, we can often feel overwhelmed and defeated. But in reality, our calling is simple. Rather than wasting our lives on the pursuit of material goods, let’s become givers who sacrificially put the needs of others before our own. Let’s love each other so well that the world around us is forced to take notice. Watch and see how God will bless your life with a richness that goes far beyond what any material possession or worldly security can offer you. Today, we at Alpha Ministries want to encourage you to take inventory of your life, look to see what you are pouring your time and energy into, and ask yourself if you are truly investing in eternity.
For more information on our organization and the eternal investments we are making every day, visit our website and contact us.