One sunny Labor Day, I had the opportunity to go boating with a group of six high schoolers in the clear blue waters off the coast of Miami. Six of us enjoyed the beautiful weather while swimming and water-skiing off the back end of a pretty impressive boat that belonged to Dave’s father. When it was Dave’s turn to ski, I went to the back of the boat to slide him the skis while he dove into the water. When he came up out of the water, he leaned back and let out a comfortable sigh. “Ahhhh,” he said. “I wonder what the poor people are doing today.”

Dave had verbalized an attitude that’s been way too common in our culture for way too long. In fact, Jesus addressed its presence 2000 years ago. We have become so consumed with meeting our own needs that we forget about or don’t even care for those less fortunate than ourselves. Our actions, particularly our lack of assistance to others, especially the poor, reveals the fact that we are satisfied with being self-centered.

When it comes to integrating Christian faith into the material and financial parts of their lives, even Christian kids – like the rest of us – are having difficulty. I’ll never forget something Kenneth Kantzer wrote that hit me right between the eyes: “The most serious problem facing the church today is materialism – materialism not as a philosophical theory, but as a way of life.”[1]

Tom Sine feels that adults are selling young people the wrong dream: “We all seem to be trying to live the American Dream with a little Jesus overlay. We talk about the lordship of Jesus, but our career comes first. Our house in the ‘burbs comes first. Then, with whatever we have left, we try to follow Jesus.”[2]

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Source: CPYU[/column]