07. Money, Sex, Fame

I don’t remember where I’ve heard it from, but it does appear that the world runs on those three things: money, sex and fame. They are the fundamental goals that most people seem to want to strive for in life; thinking that the “fullness” of life is measured by how much we have of each of those three things. I wonder as a Christian why pursuing these things are bad. I had known that pursuing them were bad; but of course everyone does need a legitimate reason that’s more “because God told you so…” So, right now, I’ll try to deal with these three things and see where I get to.

 

Money

 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:10

 

I won’t deny it, I too seek money. I picked Actuarial Studies hoping to eventually become an Actuarist, and earn some good money to make my life easier. And even right now, I want to tutor, for the same reason: earn some money so I can less dependent on my parents and be able to buy the things I want.

 

And let’s face it, money is a fundamental part of this world. As the saying goes, money does make the world go round. Without it we won’t be able to deal with everyday transactions for food and stuff. We need it now to pay for the house, the water and electricity bills, the Internet, for our mobile phones; a lot of the things we have depend on money.

 

But what is more is that our needs also depend on money; or should I say “wants”? Are there things that we truly “need”? Or can we do without them. Thinking back to a young age, have you ever “needed” something but your parents wouldn’t buy it for you because they didn’t see it as a serious “need”? Did you manage to survive through without the thing that your parents didn’t buy for you? Because if you did, then it does mean that you didn’t need it; and surely if you think back now it isn’t something that you need right now, yeah?

 

Recently I found myself spending less and less money; I heard other people say they need to spend like over $100 a week, on what I don’t know; but I don’t seem to have anything to spend my money on, other than food and the occasional outing with friends. It is interesting how my parents have managed to pose the thought set onto me that if I don’t have much of a need for it, don’t buy it.

 

It tends to make sense; money does lead to greed. The more you have of something, the more you want of it. I find this particularly interesting with the Internet for me. I was stuck with dodgy dial-up like back in year 6; upgraded that to 256K broadband for a while, then upgrade to 20mb/s with a dodgy 2GB download limit and now I’m sitting on a 20GB download limit. And now I see that we keep wanting to improve on something that we already have; but is there a need to have more of it?

 

For whatever we pursue, if we pursue it too far, it will take control of us. Give a kid 20GB of Internet and he’ll sit in front of the computer downloading things all day long; give him more and he’ll have no life. I don’t know how to use up my 20GB at the moment, but surely I’ll figure something out; but I wouldn’t be thinking of it if I had stayed on my dodgy 2GB limit before.

 

Having said that, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t pursue any sort of worldly possession. Of course we need stuff; otherwise we wouldn’t be able to exist within society. But I think for Christians that we need to learn to control ourselves and not become corrupted by a lust for money. Pursuing money is alright, but only if you pursue to an extent which doesn’t jeopardise Christian values of greed; when you feel the slight tinge of greed, you know you should take a step back and say to yourself: “I don’t need this, therefore I won’t give it to myself.”

 

Sex

 

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. – 1 Corinthians 6:18

 

One of the most obvious things that drives our world today is sex; we see it on the news, through celebrities and in advertisements. Sex is everywhere because of its appeal to us. And of course sex is a fundamental part of our lives; God made it to be the greatest expression of love between a man and a woman; but today, everyone is misusing sex in a way they feel is right. Why? Because as I said, it “feels” right.

 

Part of us find justification in the things we do through “feelings”. There’s no harm in having pre-marital sex yeah? (just as an example) Because it “feels” right. Of course it feels right, if it didn’t no-one would want to have sex. But perhaps I’m taking this too far; sex is indeed an extreme thing; hardly applicable for teens and young adults. What does seem dominant in our age group is the whole "boyfriend/girlfriend thing; the whole dating thing, the pre-sex things which of course lead to sex.

 

Again I’m not saying that having a boyfriend/girlfriend is bad. Similarly to money, it is not wrong to have it, but it depends on the way you pursue it. If you pursue a person for sex, well clearly that’s wrong; you’re “loving” someone for the wrong reason. And don’t laugh at that, I’ve read the MX on the train, and I can’t believe how many things that are “overheard” are related to boys/girls chasing their partner for the purpose of sex.

 

Take another step back from that; I know some people who are “lovesick”, who desperately desire to have a partner. In fact that was me a while back; I was glad it didn’t take me anywhere bad, but the possibility of those “consequences” are apparent if people are pursuing to find someone for that reason too. Why do we want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend? It is really vital that we have one by next week? And for what reason? Is it because everyone else has one? Because we feel “lonely”?

 

If you are in this category ask yourself the question: “Do I want someone for the sex factor of the relationship? The whole holding hands thing, the kissing, cuddling, all those intimate activities; is that what we desire? Because frankly, all these things do point to sex, not immediately, but that’s where they point to.

 

What I’ve learned recently is that, what we need is not a  boyfriend/girlfriend; rathermore, we just want a friend, simple as that. Of course by friend, it can (and should) be someone of the opposite gender, for reasons I won’t cover here. But isn’t what we really need, simply the “friendship” factor in relationships. Why would you go out with someone you don’t want to be friends with? Did you notice the word “friend” in boyfriend/girlfriend. A married couple is meant to best friends; if you can’t start off with that in a dating relationship then you have no sustaining relationship.

 

Everyone knows the feeling of holding someone’s hand that’s not the hand you had first held, yes? Not me personally, but I understand the feeling. And surely the feeling of having sex with someone different to your first time is clearly much worse. That is the ultimate consequence, the ultimate shame and fear that people can feel when they pursue sex in the wrong way. What we desire throughout our lives is friendship based on God’s love, not sexual love.

 

Fame

 

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this taxcollector. – Luke 18:11

 

I left fame till last for a reason, because it is sort of linked to the other two. Again with the celebrities, politicians, whoever; everyone pursues fame to get their names out there which in turn earns them the big money they want. So money is clearly linked into this. But with fame comes responsibility; people get to know us, people watch what we do in everyday lives, and people will criticize us. That is why if a celebrity makes a fuss in public, it is more noticeable than some grandma in the fruit market chucking a tantrum.

 

And so we have certain celebrities who create awareness of sexual appeal, to take a stereotypical example, let’s use Britney Spears; videos of sexy dancing, her style of clothing, you get the idea. And that’s where the sex factor comes in again. But she doesn’t care right? As long as she has her fans. her millions of dollars, she could care less if little 12-year-old girls follow her example and become sl*ts.

 

But where is the downfall in pursuing fame? Is there someone that can destroy your life? Probably; if there is so much media attention, you will face up to a lot of criticism as a celebrity; and you may end up being hated for that matter. But if you keep playing the right cards you’ should be fine, right?

 

Some celebrities don’t want to have crazy famous lifestyles; it becomes too hardworking to maintain that popularity; to make sure you make all the right moves all the time, the lack of privacy, and the lack of time to spend time with loved ones. Imagine yourself swarmed by a lot of “fans” everyday; unable to get away from the crowd, when all you went to do is go out with your friends to see a movie, without being hassled for autographs or phone numbers and stuff? Hard yes?

 

Again, pursue fame in the right way; not a way to attract attention for money, or through sex. Attract attention for the right causes, because of what you believe in; what your values are. But don’t pursue fame for its own sake; as in don’t do things that match your values because fame will come with it. In pursuing fame you become reliant on the attention of other people. If they like what you do; hey you’ve just got a huge fan club with a lot of laughs and all; but none of those “fans” are truly your friends right? Once you stuff up, they leave you, and  if you can’t find a way to attract more people, then you’ve just created this huge void within yourself; all because you relied on other people who were won through fame.

 

Perhaps you should not pursue fame at all, for any reason. But if it does come, well it comes; just as when you do employed work, money comes as a reward. Let fame be a reward, not a motive in the things that we all do. After all, it is stupid to in truth have 500+ “friends” on Facebook, do you even know half of them, have you even met them before?

 

But to sum it all up; pursuing fame, sex, money; it all stems from one thing: selfishness. By being selfish you place yourself first before other people. You chase money and push away anyone who stands in your way; you take advantage of people in order to have sex; you push away your close friends so that you can meet 100 more which you’ll probably never see again, or stay by your side in times of trouble. Selfishness is the underlying motive that makes us want to pursue these things.

 

But God provides all; trust in Him faithfully and he’ll keep you with enough money to survive, He’ll give you the relationships that you need to be sustained; but most importantly, He’ll keep you away from the temptations of this world. A God who provides everything; what more should we pursue in this world apart from God?

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