Many Americans, whether Christian or not, strive for the American Dream. As Christians, how are we supposed to view it and/or respond to it?
Many things come to mind when thinking about what the American Dream is. Maybe it’s opportunity and success, maybe it’s comfort and safety, maybe it’s health, wealth, or the image of a house in a neighborhood with a white picket fence and a dog.
These are all great, God-given things! None of these are bad ideals to strive for in any way. But, do we live for them? Say we achieve these things, then what? What’s to life beyond the white picket fence?
Let’s turn to the Bible. Matthew 6:19-21 says,
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Living in light of Scripture challenges us to live differently.
It challenges us to live in a way that honors God over the American Dream. This might look like working hard for God in whatever position he has put you in regardless of your status or pay. Not always trying to “get ahead” but balancing work with other priorities in life. It might look like giving of your material possessions freely and using what you have to serve or invite others in.
Living in light of Scripture changes our motives.
We’re not to live purely for the sake of the American dream (to be safe, comfortable, or happy). Rather, we’re to serve and honor the Lord regardless of where he’s placed us and what he’s entrusted to our care. Instead of our goal being how much earthly success we have, our goal is growing in the grace, knowledge, and understanding of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
In the end, God won’t look at what material possessions we owned, where we were able to vacation, or what we accomplished. He’ll look at our hearts- how we loved others, how we served him, and how we stewarded what he gave us. For in these ways, we become truly rich in our heavenly home!