American Idols (Pt 3)

Funny thing, this morning I received a mailing from Focus on the Family.  Enclosed was a small flyer entitled “State of the Family 2010.”  Four key issues infecting our families were listed:

Unmarried childrearing, Cohabitation, Increasing childlessness, and Busyness.

Did you catch that last one?  Below the bold-faced Busyness the flyer reads: “Nearly 3 out of 5 Christians say their hectic schedules prevent them from spending enough time with God.  American parents spend 40% less time with their children than they did 50 years ago.”

But why?  Why are we work-a-holics?  Why do we work 50, 60, even 70 hours per week?  Is it because our employers demand it?  Only in rare instances is this truly the case.  I remember well working for a Fortune 500 Company from 2000-2004.  At first, having come from a military officer position (where ridiculous work hours are often routine and necessary), I logged 60 hour weeks.  I will never forget my first opportunity to get a raise.  My raise was pathetic in comparison to the hours I gave, and if I may say so, the value my work added.  My job was to save the plant money via materials cost out projects, and save it money I did! 

It was a pivot point in my life.  God came to me through those circumstances and strongly convicted me that I was enslaved to a system that was hindering my walk with Him, as well as hurting my family.  After long talks with my wife and lots of prayer, we begin making some tough decisions.  I would not work 60 hours any longer, unless there were true emergency-type circumstances.  The next three years of my work life were more pleasant, and even more financially rewarding, not to mention the turn for the better in my home life. 

But, why did I work such long hours anyway?  My wife and I had already committed to her staying home to manage the home and raise our daughters.  So, maybe that’s why I felt compelled to work so much.  We’d sacrificed the two-income standard, so the burden was now all mine.  Or, was there really another reason lurking beneath the surface? 

One word – lifestyle.  It’s the “other” American Idol that is spiraling Christian homes (and all homes for that matter) down into the abyss. 

Folks, face it, the “American Dream” still captivates us.  We work insanely hard to increase our lifestyle and to save so that we can give our kids an even better standard of living than our own.  Our parents bought into this idolatry.  So did their parents.  It appears at times that American Christians are willing to give up almost nothing for the sake of God’s kingdom.  

But, in our next installment, we shall see that our King, Jesus, has made Himself clear in this matter.  Doing home God’s way, pursuing God’s kingdom and His righteousness, requires hard choices, not the least of which is how much longer we are going to allow the idols of busyness and lifestyle to own us.

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