To those who put their faith in things besides God, the prophet exclaims (specifically, in verses 12 and 13):
I will expose your righteousness and your works,
and they will not benefit you.
When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me
will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.
I propose that the problem for modern day, First World inhabitants, is not that we may have financial savings or fitness goals, but rather what we put our faith in. Do we think these things can save us? Do we think that financial security or physical fitness are the primary factors which will determine our success in life? If we do, we need to think harder and better about what it is that is important in life, really and overall.
I suggest that instead of focusing on what we give up when we lack savings or health, or any other thing we are tempted to idolize, instead we need to be more aware of the valuable things we give up when we substitute the temporary and visible for the permanent and intangible. When we seek to depend on ourselves and on our temporally based idols, we give up immense possibilities for inner depth, compassion, and community that comes from reliance on things outside our own control, reliance on Others to do God's will.
Father Richard Rohr, speaking about modern day idols, has written,
"I would say that our real failure is not so much greed (although it is that, too) as self sufficiency, arrogance, and superficiality. Inner depth, compassion, and community died in many of us. We might call the thing that died a capacity for simple presence--presence to ourselves, to others, to the moment, and to inherent joy. That is the death of the soul for sure, and eventually of society."
Gain perspective. Trust God. Rely more on community, on generosity. Develop deeper understandings. Be present, simply present. Pray about this!
Excerpt from the article, A Crisis of Prosperity: Could Small Again Be Beautiful? by Father Richard Rohr (accessed March 20, 2012). AP Photo of a penitent man bearing a cross made of a cactus, by Gregory Boyle, accessed HERE