Following Christ in a Material World
God blesses us so that we will bless others.
"Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl"
The princess of pop, Madonna, has sung the lyrics of this song many times. And as we enter the season of Advent and Christmas, Madonna's lyrics seem to ring louder and louder. We are living in a material world and we have increasingly become as someone put it a "culture of stuff." We accumulate stuff. We buy stuff for ourselves and stuff for others. We live in an age where the more stuff we have the more successful and happier we appear to be. And friends, the truth is that none of us are immune to materialism.
For instance, it seems pretty crazy to me that rather than get a good night's sleep after Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans are willing to get up at two or three in the morning just to wait in line in the frigid cold to have the opportunity to shop on Black Friday and potentially purchase one of three laptop computers. Is $299 a fantastic deal for a laptop? Sure. Is it worth the hassle and the effort? I'm not so sure. But, once again, "we are living in a material world," and we are material boys and girls.
My purpose today in this message is not to give us a tip on bargain shopping. Instead, for the next few weeks during this Advent season, I'd like for us to put our thinking caps on and consider what the Bible has to say about money, wealth, material goods, and prosperity. As we journey through life, few of us will actually stop to think through the ramifications of how we use money and our role as stewards of God's resources. We're going to title this short Advent series: "Following Christ in a Material World."
We're going to start this series with a case study of a well-known ...
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Matthew D. Kim is Associate Professor of preaching and ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the author of Preaching with Cultural Intelligence: Understanding the People Who Hear Your Sermons (Baker Academic, 2017).