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The Great American Tragedy

Many people have believed a great lie that our personal worth is equivalent to our material success. Character is replaced with charades, while families break apart in the pursuit of more. Children grow up unnoticed by parents who are too busy chasing retirement.

More success.

More money.

More power.

More prestige.

More attention.

More followers on social media.

In the pursuit of the American dream – which is basically called “greed” in every corner of the world – we have lost our identities. Instead of being concerned with who we truly are, we are more concerned with appearance and acceptance. We trade being known for being affirmed.

So often, we hide behind Versace in fear of being seen in our frail poverty. Lexus and BMW make a fortune off the lie that others care what car we drive, rather than the motivations that drive us. We have believed the lie that we are only worth as much as the bottom line.

In case you’re in the dark, here’s a little tid-bit: no one cares what you drive. The world cares who you truly are, what you contribute to others, and how you are generous. You may argue, “But Andrew, all my friends love my expensive car!” You are correct; they love it because they want it for themselves, not because you have it!

I’m guilty of something I must confess: my identity has been accessorized. Often, it is easy to think I am my cool hat collection, that I am my incredible music playlist, and that I am my favorite sports team affiliation. The reality is, I am none of those things. We are not what we wear, what we own, or what we consume. We are much more than the material world can ever describe.

Switchfoot says it perfectly:

“When success is equated with excess

The ambition for excess wrecks us

As top of the mind becomes the bottom line 

When success is equated with excess”

                                                       – Switchfoot, “American Dream”

Rich people die, just like the poor. Death comes to us all. Your memory will live on through generations because of your generosity, not your 401k.

On a lighter note, an incredible movie scene just came to mind from the film The Great Muppet Caper (1981). John Cleese and his wife are eating dinner in their mansion, as their only concern revolves around the potential purchase of a jar of jelly…If you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favor and order it on Netflix. A masterpiece. #RichPeopleProblems #JellyIsAmazing

So back to the topic in discussion: what motivates you? Do you work to live, or do you live to work? What are you trying to prove to everyone around you? How do you want to be remembered?

“If the people who have what we want aren’t happy, let’s want different things.” – Donald Miller

Be honest: wouldn’t it be incredible to stop striving so much for accumulation and start living your life for greater things? This is not me saying, “Possessions are evil; Poverty is good!” This is simply a matter of perspective and humility, a call of awakening to what really lasts.

We are all born into poverty. Brokenness. Heartache. Sin. Failure. Dysfunction.

But we are called to awake, to pursue hope, to desire God, and to give love to a hurting world.