God’s dream is not the same as the American Dream.
One of my favorite American pastors, David Platt, really woke me up to a new reality just a few years ago as I listened to one of his sermons on YouTube. He said that God’s dream for us is wholly incompatible with the American Dream.
“Wait what?” you ask.
Platt reminds Christians that we are here on earth to tell others about God and the story of Jesus. If we know the “truth” about God, then He expects us to share that truth with others. The real purpose of any Christian’s life should be to bring as many other people as possible to God during our time here on earth.
It doesn’t. And that is Platt’s point. Americans give so much reverence to the American Dream, but for those of us who are also Christian, well, the two concepts are mutually exclusive. The modern American Dream preaches to get as much wealth and stuff as possible, to keep up with the Joneses, but the Christian message is to completely shun material wealth.
Platt reminds us that we should be living out God’s unique purpose for us, and anything different is living in man’s world, and that includes the American Dream. Read The Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke chapter 12 if you doubt me. Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool who wanted to build bigger barns to store all his wealth. Things didn’t turn out so well for that fool who was solely concerned with where to put all his wealth.
Bonus Life Tip for Christians: The word “retirement” never once appears in the Bible. Let that sink in for a moment. Retirement is a secular concoction, a capitalist creation. God never intended for us to save so much money that we spend a large chunk of our final years relaxing, eating, drinking, and being merry. I was taken aback when I first realized this tip, and sure enough, it makes perfect sense. This is directly referenced in that same Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke Chapter 12: “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” ~ Luke 12:19-21