Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keeping up with the Jones'

Keeping up with the Jones' is not a new concept. It is not something that was conceived years ago when the US economy began to pick up steam after the wars. It is not even a US concept. As I was reading this morning I came across a passage in the Old Testament where the Israelites were trying to keep up with the Jones'. Take a look:

I Samuel 8: 4, 5 - 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."

Do you see it, "such as all the other nations have." We want to be just like them. We want a king we can see, touch and hear. Not a King who is the King of kings, not a King who destroys the enemy and allows us to plunder the spoil. When Samuel heard this he went to God to inquire as to what to do. God said that if they wanted a king He would give them one and this is how he would rule:

I Samuel 8: 11-18  - 11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

I am not sure that is what they were hoping for. I know that would not be the style of leadership I would look for in a king. Surely after hearing this they Israelites would say "Well if you put it that way, we would rather God serve as our King." Let's see what happened:

I Samuel 8: 19, 20- 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."

In essence they said we really don't care what it will cost us, we just want to be like everyone else. Why is it that we want so badly to be like everyone else. We want the new car, the big house, the extravagant vacations at all costs. I heard a pastor tell his congregation that most Americans spend more money on Christmas presents than most families around the world make in a year. We want more and more and yet we still feel lacking. Most of us have the privilege of having a copy of the Word of God that shows us all the mistakes people made when they ran after the things of this world, we have the opportunity to read about what truly brings peace and satisfaction in life but we neglect it. I read a statistic just last week that says only 37% of American's read the Bible weekly and of those 37% they only spend 52 minutes a week in the Word, less that 10 minutes per day! 

Hebrews 4: 12 -  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 

Maybe if we spent as much time focusing on the Word of God as we do focusing on keeping up with the Jones' we could transform our lives, our churches and our communities. 


  1. I actually starting a website with this same topic to be ironic!

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for your insight!