Psalm 49, 1 Chronicles 29:16–22, Acts 3:1–16
Wealth and prosperity have long been a source of strife, envy, pointless striving, overwork, and abandonment of others. In an achievement-driven culture, it became an even greater issue as an “achievement” of wealth is measured against those whose wealth is an astronomical amount (i.e., a person valuated higher than many countries). With the 2007/2008 bust, wealth was replaced by influence and likes (wealth was still significantly important). Then Generation Z comes along, and wealth and likes are important, but significance and satisfaction have started to override the others. Many are saying this is a sign of a “spoiled” and too wealthy generation, and a generation doomed to self-inflicted misery. What if, however, it is instead the greatest hope of the church in the United States?
Without question, each succeeding generation has had a “higher” starting line than the previous generation. Yet, the likelihood that the next generation will move “upward” financially is far less likely. This is not as bad a thing as many think it is. Due to this, the next generation is looking at what they can do to make a difference, and feel as if they are leading a life of significance, and the difference and significance can be as small as their neighborhood or their job. This generation is also more aware of the impact their lifestyle has on the world around them. Being aware of your impact (both positive and negative) is very healthy.
Solomon was a wealthy king. His father had set a very good solid base financially and militarily. In the beginning, at least, Solomon had a very good understanding of the wealth and success…God had given it, and in response and thanks, Israel returned in worship. Stuff is always God’s, and God gave us the freedom to choose what to do with it.
Sometimes it isn’t just money and power, it is our bodies. Just like the coming generation, there wasn’t much upward mobility in most of the Jewish context. You were at the place your parents were, and that was the way it was. If your body was broken, you “earned” a living for your family by begging. The man who was healed was one of those.
It is more than the healing that the man got (though it was great) or the financial and material state of the United States (though it is significant), it is the words of Peter, “…why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk…,” or Solomon’s “…all this wealth…comes from your hand…your people who are present here giving joyfully and willingly to you…”
1) What area of your life do you struggle “giving” to God versus “earning” it?
2) How do achievement and influence affect your relationship with God? How do you see it affect others’ relationship with God?