Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come! [...] You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on your musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.If you're reading this, you have access to the internet. Most likely, you live in America or some other highly developed country. I would venture a guess that you've never had to worry about getting your next meal, that you have a house with running water and electricity, and that you're not being politically oppressed for your religious beliefs. How much of that did you build or obtain completely from scratch? I can't even claim the fact that I'm at a good college... it was my parent's decision to move to this state, and they raised me with a very good work ethic. Sure, I do work hard, but I can't claim it 100%; I didn't farm the wheat and ground the flour, I just put the ingredients in the oven.
Amos 6:1-2, 5-6.
Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."
But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"
"I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."
But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight."
All this to say: what you have been given is enormous. We're comfortable, and that's a blessing. Our problem is that we have no perspective; we don't know how fortunate we are, how much other people are lacking. All that we have is "normal" to us.
I could spend the rest of this post advocating giving all you have to the poor, literally selling your unneeded "luxuries," giving the money to the Church, and taking only what you need to live off of from your paycheck. I won't go that route because I haven't gotten the chance to be able to do that myself... I still give spontaneously when I'm led, but I want to live out what I read in the Bible as a financial ideal before I really start to bug people about it.
Want I want to encourage you in today is simpler... live as a threat to Hell. Think about God-focused things: get into a worshipful mood through music everyday (seeking God's face on a daily basis), get into the Bible everyday (Jesus, God incarnate, used scripture to refute Satan), and PRAY everyday (a gift so powerful that 1 Thessalonians tells us to pray nonstop). Everything we have, we have been given. Especially us here in America, where too much food is more of a problem than too little.
If you're a Christian, I suspect you would say you love God. Do you show that with your actions? I'll balance that by saying that seeking God is not a checklist; you don't have to fill up a prayer meter to get to be a part of God's awesome plan for your life. "Seeking" God with all you are is an intent that manifests itself in action... and it's a tricky balance to keep up, but if your heart is in the right place (loving him) you'll be fine.
I want to encourage you in this; it was life changing, one year two months ago, when I pulled out of a moral nosedive and decided that I would finally live out my faith, what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. This is obscured so much for us in the U.S.; in faith-persecuting contries, it is literally a hazard to your life to profess faith in Jesus.
Start by praying.