I confess that I have often times skipped over these verses because the one thing that sticks out at me is the word “Riches” and I never thought that would be something that became a problem. This is despite the fact that if you even live in the United States you are probably wealthier than the majority of the world. This may be the aspect of the verse that sticks out at us but it is not the most dangerous one. Most of us live and provide for our families and we don’t become enamored by extravagant wealth. We are probably not focused on building wealth above all things. The more dangerous thing is not the distraction of wealth, it is the “cares of the world” or the “desire for other things” that damages their relationship with Christ. This is the struggle of Christians today. We are not losing our faith to atheism or apathy; we are losing our faith to distractions. It’s all the other things in life that distract us from living as the people we were created to. It’s so many other things in life that distract us from showing the love of Christ to those around us, pursuing knowledge of God, and living life with purpose. We have overbooked schedules, we have to get the kids to eight different activities, we have to work twenty extra hours, we have to cover the next nine holes at the golf course, we need that promotion, and the list can go on and on. There are so many things that we make important in our lives that they muscle out the things that really are important, namely, our relationship with and passion for God. This makes us very busy but very empty. We have given our time and energy to so many things that don’t matter that our lives are full of things that don’t matter. Blaise Pascal says this so eloquently.
"There once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself." -Blaise Pascal
If we have lost our religion to the insignificant, the gospel is wasted in our lives, and it will be absent in the lives of our children. If we allow ourselves to live as distracted Christians, then it will have no impact on our life, it will have no effect on the people around us, and it will do about as much as an icebox in the artic. What is the treatment for this problem? We sometimes need to dramatically reorganize our lives and ask ourselves “what am I doing today that really matters and helps me love God and others more effectively, and is this just a distraction?” Being alive is not the same as living life the way we were designed to. Having plans in life is not the same thing as having purpose in life. We are all prone to distraction. No one knows this better than my intensely ADD self. This is why it is all the more important to live intentionally.