A few years ago, PBS filmed a really fascinating study, and showed it through a wonderful series. They took three families, replicated the original American pioneer environment, and had the people fully live just the way the pioneers did more than a hundred years ago. Afterward, they filmed a follow up several months after everyone returned home.
I will never forget the two teen age girl cousins who had been part of the experiment. They were sitting listlessly by the pool, thinking about going to the mall to shop again. It was clear that as hard as the living had been on the prairie, they had been happier.
I thought about the series once more as I read this recent headline from a Boston Globe article: “Having it all, but feeling empty”. Some researchers are discovering that “materialism is bad for the soul.” Solomon would agree. In Ecclesiastes he says; “‘Vanity of vanities’, says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity'” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived according to the Bible. He had it all in power, possessions and riches. Yet he comes to one conclusion: VANITY – meaningless – conceit – pretension – vainglory. Why is it so hard for us to come to the same conclusion?
Do we think we are the one person who won’t be affected? I admit I’ve felt that way. Here’s a prayer for each one of us to keep our balance: “Give me neither poverty nor riches-feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.'” (Proverbs 30:8-9)