Donald Trump's rise as the presumptive GOP nominee for the US general election is one of the most surprising political phenomena to have graced our media in the past few years.
Whether or not you support Donald Trump politically, it is reasonable to say that the United States has reached a place where the signs point to a complete change in the values of the country.
The success of Donald Trump shows that most American values are no longer based on Christian values, but have turned towards values that are centred on fame, success, and materialism.
Donald Trump can be seen as the embodiment of these new values as he easily defeated his opposing candidates leading up to his showdown with Ted Cruz in the Indiana primary.
Currently, my church is doing a sermon series on Amos. Greed is shown to be one of sins that trap individuals the most. Not only is it forbidden by the Ten Commandments, but it is linked with the oppression of the poor, and is to be put to death as mentioned in Colossians chapter 3, verse 5.
In Amos Israel is warned by God to repent, not because they are not observing the laws, but because they are greedy, boastful, and self-interested. Israel not only did not repent, but continued to make sacrifices without spiritually being repentant, oppressing the poor, and fuelling greed by boasting of how much they were able to offer to God.
At the time Israel was extremely prosperous, with many temples and luxurious living standards as mentioned in Amos chapter 3, verses 14-15.
'"On the day I punish Israel for her sins,
I will destroy the altars of Bethel;
the horns of the altar will be cut off
and fall to the ground.
I will tear down the winter house
along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
and the mansions will be demolished,"
declares the Lord."'
Despite God's warnings, Israel continued in its disobedience that led to its eventual conquering and exile by the Assyrians in 720BC. Israel did not return to the Levant until after WWII.
What can we learn from the words of Amos?
Greed is dangerous. Not only does greed manifest itself in reckless spending, but it also can be masked by generosity.
Money is not the only object of greed, as while you may be financially generous you may fall in the trap of not being generous with your time, talent, or yourself.
One thing I learned is that, if you care enough, you'll make time; if you care enough, you'll invest.
Acts chapter 20, verse 35 says that it is much more blessed to give than to receive, and a few ways we can start being obedient to God's commands, and to His will, is to by simply begin budgeting properly, and spending more quality time with family and friends when possible.
Jack is studying Commerce and Arts at Macquarie University, he is part of a family of five, his hobbies include computer gaming, football, learning languages, and church history. He also attends St Paul's Anglican, Gracepoint Presbyterian at Burwood. He seeks to more deeply understand his faith through exploration of church history and through evangelism.
Jack Liang's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jack-liang.html