Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Perhaps this is more social commentary this week than forklift based observation of life and faith. However, there is more also more to life than just sitting on a forklift for 50+ hours a week. That is to say that we can not live our lives in a bubble. The fact of the matter is, there is life beyond the warehouse. Also, scripture references are indirect at best.
To this end, I confess, I enjoy playing video games. Now, I don’t particularly care for some games. Especially the hyper-violent and criminal activity type games. Why? Simple. I don’t believe in engaging in criminal activity in reality or video games. However, I do enjoy adventure games, and farming based games.
Now, in terms of adventure games, there is an interesting feature in some of them. This feature, which many gamers may know, is called “overkill”. In its simplest of terms, overkill is defined as cutting the enemy’s hit point, an arbitrarily chosen number of points representing its health to injury ratio, to the point of negative numbers. Initially, this simply resulted in eliminating an enemy boss or creature more quickly. In later adventure/fighting games, this included awarding the player with points based upon how much overkill damage was done. Often these points helped a character level up faster.
Let me make something clear, though I am aware of games that employ this concept, I am not really a fan of such games. In all actuality, I am more of a fan of the Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games produced by Natsume. These games are primarily farming based, though the Rune Factory games do incorporate a dungeon crawling element with monsters of one sort or another to battle. Yet, there is little in these games regarding the acquiring of material goods. Yes, there may be items dropped by creatures in some of the titles, but many of those items are meant for quests or for creating items needed for fighting other monsters.
Truthfully, I am not a big fan of the dungeon crawling and fighting aspects of such games. I am more involved in the farming, crafting, and socializing aspects of these games. I find the social interactions much more intriguing. However, that is more of a person preference. Ironically, there is something that can be learned from this.
Huh? Learning? From a video game? Yes, to a limited extent.
It is not uncommon to hear people complain. Indeed, the biggest complaint I hear is related to pay and the acquiring of stuff. People are often looking for jobs with “better pay” or “better hours”. Truthfully, not many are looking for jobs with entail long hours and hard physical labor. Many want to work as little as possible and yet get as much money as they possibly can for it. Sadly, there are times when it seem that these are the ones who get the promotions, much to the dismay of those who who have worked for many years for a given employer and have been passed over for a promotion more times than they can care to count. Indeed, to that end, it is no wonder some companies have such low morale. Who can be excited about a job if they have no prospect of ever being promoted? But I digress.
The problem is that of ego and mammon. Simply put, people feel that they should have more than they do, and resent those who have more. Another way to look at this is greed, which goes all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The serpent enticed them to eat by claiming that it would give them knowledge. To desire this knowledge was a sort of greed. What did it get them? Loss.
I think that Christ Jesus said it best when he said in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.” The King James renders the word “money” as “mammon”. Regardless, the point is still the same. Additionally, it does not necessarily need to be money. It can be anything that takes the place of God. Basically, it is really idolatry.
Do you think that churches are immune? If so, you are deceived. Just listen to a Joel Osteen sermon. He preaches that God wants you to be wealthy and successful, which is almost completely contrary to what the Bible really says. Joel Osteen preaches a false gospel, and it’s true god is not the God of the Bible, but the god of mammon.
Alas, Joel Osteen is not an exception. Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time will know full well that I am not a fan of mega-churches. Experience has taught me much regarding these things and how they often accept false teachings, often so to keep their membership numbers up. It is sad to think that a church would compromise on scripture just to increase its membership numbers and, correspondingly, the amount of money brought in via the offering plate. Such churches are often decision theology based, and will try to claim that they are doing well because they are blessed by God. Sadly, they deceive themselves. They do well because of high membership numbers because they were willing to compromise their faith.
In short, they grew to large proportions, and quite rapidly, yet sold out their faith in the process. This would be considered, to a great extent, overkill. Such churches, I not only avoid, but I will literally run from. Only once have I attended a service at a mega-church. It was horrid. The pastor told a heart rending story about having had a fatal blood disease, only to bait and switch it. Then he held an altar call. Another church I visited, which seemingly aspired to become a mega-church, put a heavy emphasis on the idea of tithing, making a new law out of it. Suffice to say, both churches were only about growth and money.
Sadly, our personal lives are often no better. We are greedy by nature. That greed is often hurtful. Just look at some of the popular stuff on television. I once watched a program in which people used “extreme couponing” to hoard large amounts of items, much of which they’d never use, just to save money. Sadly, they were putting more time and energy into this than was necessary, and often caused problems for those around them. Yes, overkill.
Humans are greedy. Its a part of our sin nature, which we are born with. There is no escaping it. However, that doesn’t give us a right to indulge in it either. Greed is a sin, and we need to repent of it. This is especially true when we are so greedy that we are willing to hoard things and otherwise devote ourselves to acquiring stuff, especially stuff that we don’t need. Church are equally guilty when all they are focussed on is growing the size of a congregation, and not sharing the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Overkill in a video game is one thing. Overkill in our daily lives is another. If we pray “give us this day our daily bread”, we should not be praying for massive amounts of wealth. Daily bread is simply what we need to survive. To ask anything more is greed. Will God bless us with more? I can’t answer that. I trust that he is capable, but that doesn’t mean it is his will. I think in this regard, the Apostle Paul said it best in Philippians 4:11 when he wrote “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Paul also went on to discuss knowing what it was to be brought low and to abound. In this, he could say that he could do all things through Christ. Context.
In closing, we are often too greedy for our own good. This often means wanting something that isn’t ours (covet?), and even causing problems for others just to attain what we do not have, and not willing to accept that we may be wanting something that is really unnecessary. Yes, we are all guilty of overkill in one form or another. Yes, we need to repent.
I think, for the secularist, Jimmy Buffet said it best in his Banana Wind album. I will let it speak for itself. Note, if you have a problem with profanity, don’t bother listening to this. There is profanity in it. I don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Buffet and his beliefs, but I do agree with the overall message in this song.