The American Dream=Excess? (Money, Part I)

“They live like kings and queens.” – Jonny Lang

Money is a hot topic. An inescapable entity. We all think about, respond to, rely upon, and co-exist with money in a variety of ways. Consider money. Is it…

Source of pride

Source of power

Source of security

Status symbol in the fleeting game of earth

Something to fear

Something to cling to

Something to share

Something to hold loosely

Something to define you

or something you define

Something that you hold

Or something that holds you

(or something He holds)

A noose or a rope

A path or a pit

A necessity or a luxury

A detail or main focus

An object or an Obsession,

An addiction or take-it-or-leave-it



Individually, our personal value systems are evident in the ways we pursue the Almighty Dollar. Collectively, our American culture unabashedly promotes wealth as the end goal. You’ve arrived when you are inordinately wealthy.

American Dream by Switchfoot

When success is equated with excess/ The ambition for excess wrecks us/ As top of the mind becomes the bottom line/ When success is equated with excess/ If your time ain’t been nothing but money/ I start to feel really bad for you, honey/ Maybe honey, put your money where your mouth’s been running/ If your time ain’t been nothing but money/ I want out of this machine/ It doesn’t feel like freedom/ This ain’t my American dream/I want to live and die for bigger things/I’m tired of fighting for just me/This ain’t my American dream/When success is equated with excess/ When we’re fighting for the Beamer, the Lexus/ As the heart and soul breathe in the company goals/ Where success is equated with excess/ Cause baby’s always talkin’ ’bout a ring/ And talk has always been the cheapest thing/ Is it true would you do what I want you to/ If I show up with the right amount of bling?/ Like a puppet on a monetary string/ Maybe we’ve been caught singing/ Red, white, blue and green/ But that ain’t my America/ This ain’t my American dream

“Consider this,” says author and speaker, Tony Campolo, in an interview with Relevant magazine. “The typical size of an American house has increased 40 percent in the last 25 years. It’s not because we are having more children; we’re having fewer children! We need bigger and bigger houses simply to hold all the stuff we don’t need. What’s even worse is that we’re renting out space in storage bins because we can’t contain all the stuff we have in the huge houses we have at our disposal. It has become an insane society as far as surplus is concerned.” What a commentary on our modern-day culture of excess. It brings to mind the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12.

“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist the abundance of his possessions.’ And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21

The proverbs say, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:4-5).

Take this opportunity to consider your core beliefs about money. Is it the end-all, be-all? Is it worthy of the investment of your life?

Or might there be something more? Could you possibly pour your passion, energies and moments into something Better, something that will last?

My friends, just know that you can’t have it both ways. Jesus himself told us in his Sermon on the Mount: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Come along as we continue our look at money…its clasp, our grasp, and conquering our love-hate relationship with the color green.


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