Materialism

by Dr. Agonson

I met a masked man on the train today. I watched him as he went from seat to seat working his way closer to me. It was just us, and as he ascended the steps to the section where I sat he noticed me. His body language became uncomfortable but he would not be so dissuaded from his task.

“If you ain’t searching, you ain’t finding,” he said, almost in explanation.

A philosophical statement, I thought. Then I realized he meant it quite literally. So I asked the stranger, “What are you looking for?”

“Random shit,” he reported and mentioned the populace’s propensity to abandon cell phones and such on the train. He seemed comfortable with me now and sat down listing the things he could find.

I really wished to let it go but already felt that I had to continue. I asked him, “Are you satisfied with random shit?”

The masked man stood up and declared there is no satisfaction in life. When I told him I disagreed he made for the door.

“What are you, religious?” he inquired over his shoulder.

I affirmed that that was more or less true.

“Ignorance is bliss,” he remarked disdainfully.

At this point he became pensive, pacing in front of the doors as if I was some lion who would pounce upon him suddenly.

“You know,” he remarked, “All the holidays you celebrate are pagan.”

I tried to explain how that is the wonderful thing, how I myself was pagan but Christ redeemed me. I don’t think he was listening. The doors were now opening. He shouted as he left,

“There were seven other fellows, look it up.”

A confusing if not wholly incoherent statement; I was somewhat familiar with a theory he might be alluding to, but this is not now the direction I want to take my oration.

If you are not looking, you are not finding, he said, but what are we to look for. My materialistic acquaintance had some ideas, and yet his words throughout our conversation seemed to have a double meaning of which I doubt he was aware. The colorful metaphor he used to express what he searched for I am sure he found. I doubt he will find much more than that in life if he does not search for more.

If you are not looking you are not finding. And I ask, what are you looking for? So many seem to take this materialistic worldview for granted and do not realize that in doing so they condemn themselves to a life exactly like that masked man. A life searching for what amounts to waste, refuse.

Solomon said:

I looked on all the works that my hands had done
and on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.

His was a world without hope; life, the masked man said, was without satisfaction. Yet what terror I saw in him when I said there was hope in life. The thief was almost friendly with me until he divined my Christianity.

Christ said:

…this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

I am not here making some great philosophical case against materialism. I just want people to ask what they are looking for and understand that if your life is looking for garbage you will probably find it.

What are you looking for? Love? Truth? Satisfaction? That alone is found in Christ. He will take your sins, as he took the pagan celebrations, and He will redeem you.

“What are you searching for?” I asked the thief.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 

Listen to my beautiful voice:

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