Let me begin by sharing my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to all the wonderful e-mails shared with me by readers of my articles. As I have written to some of you, please join me by sending me your ideas or writing for this wonderful website. It is a blessing that it is available and hopefully other courageous writers will contribute an article about their profession, passions, or points of views.
I am sorry it has taken so long to write more articles as the winding down of another semester, caring for some elderly relatives, and helping my dad find a job, has kept me quite occupied. My family has hit a financial snag when my father was laid off from work. I share this not to endear any readers, that is the furthest from my mind, but to share a personal reflection that has given rise to today’s article. Thankfully dad was able to find another job, but he now has to drive nearly two hours one way.
I mention this to highlight another reason why I love my dad so much; his optimism born from his faith. When I tried to empathize with his ordeal of a long travel and less pay he smiled and said, “brronee (son), I listen to your Ipod (after I showed him how to connect it to the car, he is infatuated with the device and has adopted it as his own), pray an extra rosary, and enjoy your mother’s bag of fresh fruit and vegetables; I am even more blessed now. God always knows better, I just enjoy the ride.”
In this article I felt it important to write about how money impacts people. Fortunately, my mom and dad never seemed to get caught up in the need to show-off their material possessions. They were obviously too confident and secure to feel the need to make a statement with material goods. Unfortunately, my cousins and many close friends, come from families who struggle with the need to compensate with flashy goods. The drive to prove they have made it is overwhelming.
The desire to “keep up with the Jones" as the American saying goes, has been a driving force for many people who are bent on trying to keep the pace of the seemingly "higher class." This is no different in the Chaldean community. There apparently is a prevailing theory that the grass is always greener on the other side.
These feelings of dissatisfaction run rampant in our society and in our community. Sadly the feeling generates a desire to constantly outdo and outsmart our neighbors. We want to have the latest and greatest, the biggest and fastest, and the most superior possessions available to us.
Although this trend may seem harmless and perfectly natural, we must recognize that Scripture clearly condemns envy, discontentment, and covetousness because they can lead us down a destructive path of self-centered, self-absorbing, and self-gratifying pursuits.
Discontentment undermines God's promise to "provide all that we need" (Phil. 4:19) and to "satisfy the desires of every living thing" (Ps.145:16). Hebrews 13:5 says, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God said, ' Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' " The Lord gives us this command so that we will devote our time and energy to a life of service with eternal rewards rather than a life of temporary pleasure with fleeting satisfaction. God does not want us to be so consumed with working to earn money, that we are reduced to just "making a living" instead of "living a life."
Paul wisely instructs Timothy to "pursue righteousness, godliness, . . . and love . . . " instead of money, for he states that "we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it" (I Timothy 6:11, 7) Wealth and hoarded possessions only have value in this life; a point made clear by the fact that hearses never pull U-Hauls.
King Solomon, once the wealthiest man in the world, wrote, "I amassed silver and gold for myself . . . I denied nothing my eyes desired . . . Yet when I surveyed . . .what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless" Ecclesiastes 2: 8,11). In the end he concluded that the only worthwhile purpose under heaven was to "fear God and keep His commandments" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Jesus promises that if you "seek His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). Immeasurable blessings await those who pursue the higher calling of Christ Jesus rather than enslaving themselves to the unending pursuit of prestige and possessions. When all is said and done, what will be your legacy? Will it be said that you pursued the Kings of Kings or merely the riches of His kingdom?
Thanks for reading,
"That's me. Frankie D!
Frank Dado is a student of Theology at the University of San Diego. He enjoys the science of psychology and philosophy along with sports and writing. He has written many reviews and essays on the philosophy of everyday living and the science of behavior.