Sunday, May 04, 2008


I was walking through the mall yesterday when I noticed a huge annoying advertisement telling me that I need to "Get my Inheritance!" by supporting/going to the church ran by the picture of the pastor and his lovely wife.

Now, doesn't the word choice here seem a bit suspect? (other than the ambiguous use of the word "get") Doesn't "Inheritance" imply money? Why would this advertisement be in a mall, a place literally fueled by the spending of money? I don't think I'm stretching here to think that the advertisement was playing to our inherent association of the word "inheritance" with money, or resources or tangible goods.

I don't think it was an accident.

This problem is huge to me. Lately it's become close to my heart. We're propagating the idea that when one has faith in God, they begin to accumulate resources. That when you become a Christian, you become the smiling, wealthy, picture of contentment I found on the mall advertisement.

Is that what a Christian looks like?

What about the guy from the broken home who becomes a Christian?

What about the wife trapped in the abusive relationship? Will her becoming a Christian stop her husband from hitting her tomorrow?

What about the poor and uneducated? What about the fishermen?

Will they become prosperous by becoming a Christian? Will God transform their work ethic and opportunity, that they might be successful and prosperous?

Maybe, but maybe not.

I was reading today (after an awesome message on John 15) and the words from John 14:27 jumped off of the page "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

He said it.

The world wants us consumed with money and wealth. Isn't there is a very obvious correlation between the MALL and the word choice of INHERITANCE. We're constantly (and I'm so guilty of this) equating faith in God with success.

But I believe that Jesus would have told his disciples "Success I leave with you." But he didn't, he said "peace." He even made the distinction that he would give differently than the world, probably because he knew that later on, we'd start looking for Jesus to give us the same comforts as we expect from the world, when really, we're calibrated the complete opposite way.

I think really, Jesus is cutting to the chase, eliminating the middle-man of wealth and prosperity. Because think about it, when we buy a car, or buy new clothes or seek new jobs or relationships, what are we doing?

We're seeking peace, seeking contentment. Seeking to fill some hole placed within us.

Jesus is telling us that we'll find peace, which, I believe is what we're all looking for in the first place.

To give credit where credit is due, my students showed me this first. I thank God for that and them. John Piper says everything I just did, but way, way better.


Kristin said...

I agree...
and this is further fueled by those people that preach "become a christian and become a winner!" like that guy. its very much a relief that He doesn't give as the world gives.

The Passerby said...

I wish more people had you for a teacher.

WanderingWolf said...

Wow, I've walked by that same poster countless times never feeling as strongly about it as I do now.

Christ crucified is the message we see in the Bible. Not "Christ gets a really nice wagon and a whole herd of sheep". If we labor to be like Christ it is only natural that when He says that we will suffer for his namesake, that we take that to heart. I like the part you wrote about Jesus giving us gifts differently from the method of the world. I took that to mean treasure in heaven as much as peace on earth. And hey, if I only get one of those I'll be more than content. Not that we should only labor when we get something in return, or that we should aim to be rewarded.

Anyway I have to stop myself before I ramble on more. Thanks for spilling your thoughts and provoking mine. I'll catch you in the a.m.