This weeks reading from Amos 5: 21-27 couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. I am reminded of the scene in DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments where the slave driver Edward G. Robinson (bad casting) reminds the Israelites of their former life in Egypt. Even as slaves, they still had food and roof over their heads. How can they continue to follow Moses and this god they don’t understand? And so he coerces them to mold the golden calf to worship.
We are seeing class warfare nightly on the news. It’s the haves vs. the have-nots. Note the emphasis is always on the material. It is rarely on the process of how most wealth is obtained. To be sure, there is corporate greed but not all wealth fits this paradigm. To be obsessed with the fruits of labor, whether one has them or not, is still a form of idolatry. There are basic needs that all should have; no one wishes to see dire poverty. But what about the poor in spirit? I don’t hear too many talking about that.
Most of the wealthy people I know got there because of a deep passion for their work. In fact, most would probably work just as passionately if they didn’t achieve material wealth. While some of them have acquired a great deal of wealth, they still focus on the process, quality and passion of their work and not on how much money they have.
Warren Buffet appears to be a simple man who loves his work. Yes, he is wealthy beyond most of us, but he would be the first to admit that his motivation is not in the acquisition of wealth. He is, as he puts it, “wired” to do what he does. He is passionately committed to his work.
Where has the work ethic gone? Where is the passion? Where is the willingness to sacrifice at any cost to follow ones deepest desires?
God’s anger in the Amos passage seems to be rooted in people missing the point. Jesus leads us to find the calling to be our true selves aside from worldly distraction. The joy of life is found in the process of living fully and respecting the same qualities in others.
Chuck Marohnic – Director of Music for Darkwood Brew