Seminary: A Crucible of Faith

So about a year and a half ago, I got around to responding to a friend’s question of how had seminary affected my faith. Over the last few weeks, I have come back to this question. Some of those things I am still struggling with. The difference now is, my classes this semester seem particularly timely. They are forcing me to take a deeper look at myself.

Money, Possessions, and Eternity, by Randy AlcornI am taking a stewardship class because I am in debt. My rationale was partly self-seeking but ultimately, I want to learn how to help all believers free themselves from the bondage of debt, myself included. My professor has us reading Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn. I’m only on chapter 9 but it has already challenged me. This passage stuck out as I was reading it yesterday.

“A startling thing has happened among Western Christians. Many of us habitually think and act as if there were no eternity–or as if what we do in this present life has no eternal consequences… Being oblivious to eternity leaves us experts in the trivial and novices in the significant… We major in the momentary and minor in the momentous” (p. 108-109).

I have understood that my view on life is short-sighted, but I have struggled in understanding the root causes. Alcorn points out materialism is one of the key factors for being focused on temporal things. I have realized that I may not run after new cars and HDTVs but I would eat out every day if I could afford it. I also have a large number of books and I have to fight the urge to walk into Barnes & Noble. My desire for marriage and a job “that will make me happy” would also fall into materialism.

I find myself at a crossroads. Do I continue to run after temporal things or do I allow God to break the hold that these things have over my life. Being married, having a job I enjoy, or a TV are not bad things. However, if I allow those things to be gods in my life, I will be in sin and continue to be “oblivious to eternity.”