"Lest I be full and deny you" A meditation on the secularizing influence of riches, as seen in a video.
One of the great “evils” of our time is satiation. I put the word “evil” into quotes here to emphasize that no particular good thing that God has made is, in itself evil. But we, on account of our own inordinate drives, accumulate and indulge beyond reason. And in becoming satiated, that is filled, we leave little room for God or others for that matter.
The more affluent we become in material things, the more spiritually poor we seem to become. The higher our standard of living, the lower our overall morals. The more filled our coffers, the emptier our Churches. This is the evil of our times. And it is no theory. The numbers demonstrate well that, over the past 60 years that as our standard of living has risen, church attendance and other signs of belief and spirituality have plummeted. So has family time, and the developing of deeper human relationships. Marriage rates have plummeted, divorce has soared. Birthrates are down. Kids are a burden in a satiated world with a high standard of living.
And it isn’t just wealth. It’s all the things which distract and divert us. There are so many things, most of them lawful pleasures, but often just too much of a good thing.
One might imagine another scenario wherein we were astonished by God’s providence and fell to our knees in gratitude, and in our riches, and possession of many good things and pleasures went to prayer and church even more, out of sheer gratefulness. Alas this is seldom the case today.
Proverbs 30 says, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me [only] with food that I need for today: Lest I be full, and deny you, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. (Proverbs 30:9-10).
Yes, indeed…lest I be full and denying you say, “Who is the Lord?” It is indeed a snare in our times that many think they do not need God, or others. Our affluence creates the illusion of self sufficiency and self fulfillment.
St. Augustine sadly noted in a time far less satiated than our own: I, unlovely, rushed heedlessly among the things of beauty You made. You were with me, but I was not with You. Those things kept me far from You, which, unless they were in You, would not be. (Conf 10.27).
Many other scriptures warn of the spiritual danger posed by wealth and worldly satiation:
- But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. (1 Tim 6:9-10)
- No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money! (Luke 16:13)
- But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. (Luke 6:24-25)
- But many that are first will be last, and the last first! (Mat 19:30).
- How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” …It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mk 10:23-25)
It is amazing that, hearing all this most of us still want to be rich and would jump for joy if we won the lottery, instead of soberly cringe with fear and look for good ways to shed our excess.We still continue down a path of unreasonable desire and satiation.
Alas, the human condition, at least the fallen version of it. It isn’t very pretty and is proof positive that we are going to need a lot of grace and mercy to get home.
Think of that this as you watch this video. It’s a pretty stark portrait of the modern man. Consider how full, yet lonely he is. He speaks only of himself, and seems to interact with almost no one: lost in a self-referential world of excess, filled with every good thing, but too full for God. Somehow the man knows that the worldly things fill him for only a moment and pass. But still the answer is more! Quite a little portrait here of too many today.