God’s Kingdom and the American Dream

Illustration by J Fowler

If I’m honest with myself, I struggle with the desire to pursue the American Dream. I want a house of my own, two cars and a good stock portfolio. I want to be able to provide what my kids want so that they can live a comfortable life. I want a job that pays well enough that we can save money each month and have enough to give away. I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. I want to be successful.

What is wrong with desiring success and wealth?

A man once ran up to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. This man had kept all the Ten Commandments but wondered if there was something more. “One thing you lack,” Jesus said.”Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

For this man, wealth and success had become an idol. Jesus did not say that there was something inherently wrong about wealth and success, but for this man it was in the way of following Jesus. The man couldn’t fathom giving it up.

After a failed small business, we do not have a big bank account or stock portfolio. Thankfully the only debt we have now is school debt. But I am tempted to seek the American Dream and put my trust in money and what it brings. For me, it’s Satan’s way of shifting my focus away from seeking God’s Kingdom.

For now as we focus on seeking God’s kingdom, it seems to run contrary to the American Dream. In a lot of ways we are living like missionaries. We did not chose my job for the paycheck but for Kingdom values. We might never be able to buy a house or build a big savings account. At least for Hillary and I seeking Kingdom values instead of the American Dream puts us in a position where we have to trust God for the future. We can’t trust in our finances.

What do you think? Can we seek the American Dream AND seek God’s Kingdom? How do we balance wealth and success with following Christ?

If you want to dive deeper into these ideas, check out David Platt’s book Radical.


About joelnewton

I am a husband to Hillary, a father to Anna and Norah

Posted on September 3, 2012, in Dangerous Obedience, Personal, Spiritual Growth and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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