I'm Not a Spiritual Capitalist

John 12:25-26 - Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Capitalism gets a lot of press these days.  Simply stated, it means that I own stuff…not the government or anyone else.  It means that the government works for me, and not the other way around.

As a social structure, Capitalism is oft debated.  From a personal standpoint, I would say I have personally benefited from the ability to own stuff.  In order to fuel an economy, Capitalism makes sense.  It means that personal desire is the chief engine of my productivity.  The idea is that if I want, I work.  If I work, I can (have the chance) of having.  Any good idea is ultimately critiqued based on an analysis of its extreme points of use.  This begs the question, is it good to be greedy?

Jesus’s words in John 12 fly in the face of what I am comfortable hearing.  There are times I want God to tell me that He just wants me to be happy… that He exists so that I can “Love My Life.”  This can easily turn me into a spiritual capitalist.  Not only do I want/desire/need material blessings, but I also want/desire/need everything to go my way…all the time.

This is not the message of the Gospel.  Jesus tells us that the broken kingdom is never supposed to be that great.  It a rotten, stinking, sin-soaked heap.  Its filled with broken people who break things.  The only redemptive elements (joy, peace, love) are borrowed glimpses from the Kingdom to Come.

Spiritual Capitalism makes me horde elements of this world.  The constant call of Christ is to die to self, let go, and surrender.  We all want abundant life.  We don’t often realize that death is the key.

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.