What is the American Dream? What does that phrase mean now? How does that compare with the dreams of those who founded our nation? More importantly, how does that compare to the gospel of the Kingdom of God?
It seems when people refer to the American dream they are referring to financial prosperity. The dream has become about the land of opportunity. The American dream involves buying a house with a car or two in the garage. The dream is having a large bank account with a healthy 401K or IRA.
How does this compare with our founders? Honestly, many of them were already wealthy and put their fortunes at risk when they revolted against Great Britain. They felt the risk was worth it for the sake of liberty. Their dream was freedom from tyranny. They desired the ability to think, speak, and believe as they chose without a government dictating these things to them.
And what about the gospel? How does the American dream compare to the Kingdom of God? When I read the beatitudes I see a different picture of who is blessed in God’s kingdom. It is the poor, the meek, the hungry who are blessed. I see Jesus saying whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me. I see commands to sell all and give to the poor. I see Jesus telling disciples to leave the comforts of home and follow a savior with no place to lay His head.
So we see pictures of three kingdoms. The first is about getting all you can, making sure you get your piece of the pie. The second is about risking it all for the sake of something bigger. The third is about giving it all up for the sake of love. Which kingdom do we live in?