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Affluenza: Just a Little Bit More
Scripture: Proverbs 3:9-10
Track 5 of 13 in the American Idols series
Running time: 44 minutes, 53 seconds.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

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I still remember the frustration I felt talking to our children's high school guidance counselor. It was always "this field pays well" or "you'll make the most money doing this." That was really never our daughters' question.

I still remember the disappointment in our daughter's voice as we drove home from visiting with a nurse who was to share with her the "joys of nursing." All he talked about was how much money could be made. That really wasn't her concern.

According to Wikipedia the term affluenza was first coined by John de Graaf in 1997. He defined it as "a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more" (de Graaf, 2002).

We used to call it "keeping up with the Joneses." Last Sunday's Herald-Whig titled their article Big $pender$. It dealt with the issue of luxury spending, just one of the symptoms indicating affluenza.

This insatiable desire for more is called "greed" in the Bible. It was one of the church's "seven deadly sins" - Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride). Interesting, isn't it, how closely they are related to affluenza.

Two Australians, Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss identify "debt, overwork, wasteful consumption, and spending ourselves sick" as the results of affluenza. None of that sounds particularly Christian, nor personally healthy. It does, however, sound like an accurate description of most people in our culture.

This week, consider your choices...examine your life. Are you too far in debt? Do you work too much and relax too little? Do you fall prey to our "throw away" culture and waste precious resources? Do you overspend to have things you really don't need?

Disciples of Jesus are called to live lives of contentment...the only antidote to affluenza. So, please don't easily dismiss this with "I don't have that problem."