…And All She Wants to Do is Dance: The American Dream While The World Dies Around Us

Posted: March 8, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke
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Luke 12:13-21 — The parable of the rich fool is appropriate for the American reader. Jesus is in the middle of a sermon teaching his disciples to fear God alone, when he is suddenly interrupted by a man who is dissatisfied over what he considers to be an unfair division of his father’s estate between himself and his brother. The man says in verse thirteen, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Then, Jesus responds with the parable. Jesus’ story ends with the point that a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not a have a rich relationship with God.

Today, we are taught by each other and by the media that we should live the good life. We need to have the biggest house we can afford and maybe more than we can afford. We are taught by each other and by the media that we need the biggest, newest car on the market. We are taught by bumper stickers that you whoever dies with the most toys wins. We are made slaves to our own goods that we purchase. We finance our lives away. And we live our lives in hopes of retiring with a big house on the coast of Florida or on some tropical locale. This is the parable of the rich fool in modern times. Americans are so enamored with the good life that it has become our god. We have bought the story that we need all the latest gadgets and that what we have now is not good enough.

You know sometimes that God sends us messages in multiple different formats and in multiple different ways when He really wants you to hear something. That is why this passage makes you go, wow, I think God is trying to say something that I need to share. Right now, I am leading a book study at church based on the book, I Was Broke Now I’m Not by Joseph Sengl. At the same time, for my personal reading time, I am currently reading the book, Counter Culture by David Platt. These two things are converging by the Holy Spirit in my heart for today’s message. First, Pursuit of earthly wealth and all the debt that goes with keeps us from being effective witnesses for the Lord. Second, pursuit of wealth takes our mind off things that really matter in this life and in eternity.

In leading the I Was Broke Now I’m Not six week study, one of the most poignant statements that Joseph Sengl makes is that Satan wants us broke because it makes us ineffective. When we are mired in debt and living paycheck to paycheck always seeking the next greatest thing to buy to make us happy, we lose sight of God. We become slaves to our money. Having too little money can become a god just as much as having too much. When we mortgage our lives to the hilt, it dominates who we are. We think about it all the time. But, yet, we continue to buy things. Joseph Sengl says that how Satan wants it. He wants to spend 100% or more of what we make so that we cannot help the homeless man in need. He wants us to spend, spend, spend, so that we cannot help the single mom whose husband has left her. He wants us mortgaged to eyeballs so that we cannot help finance a friend’s mission trip. He wants to have so much debt that we cannot follow a holy calling from God on our lives. Switch careers to become a missionary in India or Africa or Asia? No way, I have got this 2015 Lexus to pay for, the house in River Falls Plantation to pay for, and the 2014 Corvette too. You know the tune. Most all of us sing it. Why not though be radical? Start paying off debts and keeping assets longer. If we become less enamored with things, we will start to pay down all these debts to the point one day we will be debt free. As the debt stranglehold loosens maybe then we can become what God intended us to be, what he called us to be. When we have earthly treasures in the right perspective (that they are to be used by us to help expand God’s kingdom) and that our ability to earn all these things comes from God, maybe then we will become effective tools for the kingdom. Maybe then, we can make a difference in a world that needs change.

There is so much injustice in the world that we sit in our pretty little homes in the United States and say that is so sad and then we do nothing. Sometimes it is because we are so in debt that we cannot do anything financially. Most times it is because we really are so enamored with the good life that we are unwilling to do more than watch a news show. For example, in the book, Counter Culture, David Platt tells us that there are so many social issues out there that we need to be addressing as Christians (not in protest but in ways that are compassionate that bring about real change). Yet, we are more interested in our houses, cars, movies on the weekend, the parties we go to. There was a song on this subject back in the 80s about how we ignore the issues of the world around as Americans. It is about how we seek pleasure and ignore the social issues of the world around us. Don Henley’s “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” is a searing indictment of us as pleasure seeking Americans. David Platt tells that we need to open our eyes. For example, there are 27 Million women in this world that are currently in sex slavery around the world. 27 Million women that have no hope. Yet all we want to do is dance. We spend more on going to the movies than we do on contributing to our churches. There are 27 Million women who are forced to have sex 20 times or more a day and are kept drugged and beaten and they have no hope. We paint Red X’s on our hands and say we support ending sex trafficking but as long as it doesn’t interfere with my weekends at the lake in the summer or my season tickets to Clemson football in the fall. All she wants to do is dance. Poverty abounds around the world but we spend more on video games than we do on charity. All she wants to do is dance.

What would happen if we lived as Christ followers who did not get wrapped up in the good life. What if we decided this much is enough for me to live on and now use the rest to be effective missionaries at home and abroad. What if we managed our finances so well that we could follow when God calls. What if we put God first in our finances such that we were satisfied with this much. What if we put God first so that we could see all the injustices in the world and actually could address them because we are not seeking the American dream. What if we really put God first in our finances so that we were free to as the body of Christ to address issues of sex trafficking, of poverty, of illiteracy, of social injustice. What if we wanted to do more than seek our own pleasure. What if we wanted to do more than pay lip service to the causes that we care about. What if we were free of earthly wealth concerns and could go to the places here in America and around the world and rescue 27 Million women from sex slavery instead of just painting Red X’s on our hands. What if we could do more? Satan wants us to support our favorite causes but do nothing about them. He wants us to be ineffective. He wants the sex slave to have no hope of any Christ follower ever really doing anything real to help her.

Let us store up treasure in heaven rather than in our driveway. Let us make arrange our financial lives such that we put God first and things second. Let us arrange our lives such that we can respond to God’s call when He calls. Let us arrange our lives such that we can pick up and move to southeast Asia or Hong Kong or the streets of any large American city to fight against sex slavery. Let us care more about our fellow man’s plight than arranging our next flight – for our vacation in Vale. Let us live our lives to use our resources to address the things that need addressing. Let us live our lives to make a difference for the kingdom of God. Let it not be said of us as Christ followers that “all she wants to do is dance.”

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