The non-Christian's world-view is success, happiness and pleasure based on what the world-system values, which is money, success, power, prestige. The worldly priorities are:
- Getting an education, qualifications, skills or trade through school and college and getting a career and income.
- Accumulating wealth in the form of a house and pension
- Meeting and choosing the right partner
- Having successful children (?) while working full time, to ensure they have all they need and want
- Maintaining family relationships
- Supplying a sufficient income for one's retirement, old age and care/dying, funeral---
Many intelligent, able people do not achieve all this today. Our lives are closely tied up with the times in which we live, to how well we adapt to changes in employment, to the level of recognition of skill, expertise or ability, to our mobility for work and to our health.
Most of us do not expect that maintaining relationships could be rather challenging (divorce now frequently leads to financial ruin); or that finding a life partner can prove impossible; or that we will become chronically ill and are unable to work; or a family member(s) will become disabled, or a spouse or child will die. We do not anticipate loss of jobs or problems in the economy or mental breakdown or the effect of an accident or crime.
Few people reach all these life goals, unless, in my observation, they have a boost of inherited wealth early on, such as a house. They can still feel empty, if and when they do. We must never forget that there is a high price for high achievement. People can succeed, grow rich - and report themselves as feeling content - but inside they know they have lost something infinitely precious, such as their soul, or a sense of perspective on money or their connectness with their loved ones. Without God, it all tends to imbalance.
The Christian's main priority is serving God and His Kingdom in their vocation (work), family and wider relationships. This view leads to a balanced life. Outwardly, it can issue in apparent similarities with worldly priorities, but the difference of emphasis, the bias to God modifies ambition and desires. Above all, it credits all that is given to the Giver which engenders a deep spirit of thankfulness which counters greed and wanting the greener grass on the other side.
It was the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon who said that entering a true Christian home (modest as it is likely to be) confirms something distinctive. Christian homes often reflect the inner being of their inhabitants. They feel like true homes - hospitable.
It astonishes me that the ideal modern 'minimalist' home pictured in the property sections of our London newspapers is so utterly inhospitable, utterly cold and dead, like an office.
Success - but at what cost?
Success - but at what cost?