My Friend Jeanie,
America is a prosperous nation. America is “a consumer society”. The idea of a “consumer society” is that our prosperity is used to purchase “goods for recreation, for creature comforts, for self-esteem, for social standing, for the country’s prosperity, and in general for Americans’ access to affluence.”1
How do the words of Jesus square with our American way of life? Well, I think the majority of us would say, “Wait, I’m not enslaved to money! I have a job. I’m paid for what I do. or I’m paid for what I sell. or, I’m paid for what I know.” I would then ask of them what I’ve asked of myself, “Do you think you are overpaid? Would you like to be paid more? Why? Would it be so you could purchase more comfort and convenience?”
Jesus says some hard things. Remember Eden. Sometimes we refer to it as “Paradise”. Wasn’t it comfortable? Wasn’t it convenient? Did Adam complain and want more? Did Eve? No, neither did until a lie came along. Because of a lie, they believed their life could be better.
In the garden that Jesus, the Word, had created for them, Adam and Eve had no need to worry about everyday life—and they didn’t. When the Word became flesh and dwelt on earth, Jesus told us we have no need to worry about everyday life. His Spirit, that now lives in us, tells us we have no need to worry about everyday life. Our problem is, we don’t listen and have chosen to believe the lie. The lie is, “I can do it on my own and live my own life!” Yes…you can…God will let you…but what a hard row to hoe! There is a simpler, easier way.
Jesus tells us and the Spirit confirms, that everyday life is more than food and clothing. God understands we don’t live in Paradise, we live in America. If we lived in Sudan, Somalia, or Djibouti it would be simpler—survival, food, water, and clothing—not easier. In the “land of plenty” surviving is not that hard but living is sure, not easy. Should it be? No! Can it be simple? Yes! How can everyday life in America be simple? Belief in Jesus Christ makes it possible. The Holy Spirit
When Adam and Eve belived the lie and disobeyed, their spirit immediately died to God. Their body and soul did not do the same, but the body did begin the slow process of death and decay. It was many years later before their bodies died. Until the moment of disobedience, their body and soul was controlled by their spirit which was in communion with God.
1 All Biblical quotations taken from the NLT unless otherwise noted.
2 Richard M. Abrams, “Consumer Nation,” Dissent Magazine, Spring 2008, accessed November 20, 2020, https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/consumer-nation