Our pastor preached on the First Lesson for today, Acts 17: 22 - 31. The Greeks worshiped and sacrificed to many gods in the vain hope that they would appease the right god for the right reason and just in case they might be missing a god, they also had altars to An Unknown God, which Paul tells them is the one, true, Living God. This is the God who gives us life and sustains us in our life.
In modern society, we have many "gods." We can tell what our personal gods are by looking at what we think will give us pleasure or comfort. We can look at the amount of time we spend pursuing an earthly goal in comparison to the amount of time we spend worshiping the one true God or serving God by serving mankind.
Our culture tells us frequently that if we buy certain items or do certain things, we will be better, happier or more perfect. The devil's voice of temptation is in that message: if we are convinced that we are not good enough as we are, i.e., as God made us, then we will strive to spend money on something to improve ourselves or something that will make us happier. Just think of how "happiness" is associated in the ads with soft drinks or cars or even candy bars.
While most items and events are neutral, the emotional overtones we associate with them can take on meanings which pull us from the abundant life that God wants us to have.
All this was brought home to me in a startling way today: Bill died unexpectedly.