While working on the sermon for Sunday (Mark 10:17-31) I stumbled upon an article by Barry J. Bryan entitled “Relationships in the Age of Consumerism.” He writes: “Though glossy advertisements are promoting modern myths such as ‘Material possessions will make you happy,’ often at the expense of developing meaningful personal relationships with God and with other people, the Bible offers a contrasting message that won’t die with fads. The Apostle Paul knew that wealth, being physically attractive, success, and fame are not the secrets to contentment. ‘In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and being in need,’ he (Paul) declares. ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:12b-13). About the temporal nature of material possessions, he observes: ‘for we brought nothing into the world, so that we cannot take anything out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction’ (1 Timothy 6:7-9). The need for love and acceptance is crucial in all human relationships, yet this ‘unconditional love is a priceless gift that money cannot buy.’ Tonya Stoneman reminds us unfortunately, what money cannot buy, our consumerist hearts cannot properly value. The Apostle Paul realized that God can satisfy this need for undeserved and complete love, within all of our relationships, like nothing else.”

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 15:11
“Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”

Reflection Questions:
What do you value most?
How does God strengthen you?
What do you think of the sentence “What money cannot buy, our consumerist hearts cannot properly value.”

Prayer: Holy God, satisfy me with an undeserved and complete love and help me build meaningful relationships.  Let me remember that which fills me with happiness. Amen