Before entering the promised land, Moses tells the people that when they occupy the land they will live in houses they did not build, drink out of cisterns they did not hew, and eat from vineyards they did not plant. What a blessing after wandering in the wasteland for 40 years!
But with this blessing comes a warning: “when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 4:12).
The American church finds itself at a similar crossroads. We have been blessed beyond measure – we drink water from faucets, we drive on roads we didn’t build, we eat food but didn’t labor to produce it. We have a great abundance, but that abundance is a danger.
I’ve been reading the book “Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church” (pictured above). The author, Kena Creasey Dean, argues that American Christians have become listless in our faith because we have so much and that we have succumbed to another narrative – the narrative of the market, the very same market that provides us with this abundance.
Abundance is dangerous because we can learn how to live without the self-donation and self-sacrifice of God. All too easily we forget God, not because God doesn’t exist, but because we worship the existence of an abundance gone awry.