Our Culture of Material Blessings and Movement

Two things that Americans tend to highly value are material “blessings” and movement. Without harping on whether this is good or bad, our tendency is to measure our success or “blessedness” by the state of our home, what kind of car we drive, or how large our church has grown. In addition, part of the quest for this material blessedness requires that we are constantly moving, always trying to get ahead. But motion seems to have become comfortable, so the TV is on, radio plays, and we browse the internet; if our bodies are immobile, then our minds will continue to keep the pace up.

Though you can debate the exact message of the Prayer of Jabez, A recent piece of fictional satire in lark news reports that this bestselling American book has destroyed the underground house churches in China. Ouch! And then I read a passage this morning that almost seems to fly in the face of America’s theology of blessing:

“Which of you, with a servant plowing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, ‘Come and have your meal at once’? Would he not be more likely to say, ‘Get my supper ready; fasten your belt and wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and drink afterwards’? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are useless servants: we have done no more than our duty.’ ”
Luke 17:7–10

That passage does not seem to get a lot of air time in the USA.

2 thoughts on “Our Culture of Material Blessings and Movement

  1. Ed Post author

    I’ve been reading his Letters and Papers from Prison and finished the Cost of Discipleship about 6 months ago, so I’m sure his thoughts have shaped much of what I think these days, even if I don’t quote him directly. Good observation. I think Bonhoeffer may be one of the most significant theologians of the past 300 years.

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