Posted by: Diane | August 1, 2013

Same Message, Different Song


I’m not completely sure how I landed on Ryan Leslie’s music video ( I think I was following a link from a blog that I periodically look at) but I was just floored at the lyrics. The language is rough at the end and I certainly don’t mean to offend you – you don’t have to listen to the entire song to get the gist of it. Having taught high school students for ten years, I listened to all kinds of their music because I wanted be able to have intelligent discussions about the lyrics so perhaps my tolerance level for hearing swearing is a bit higher.

I actually listened to this song a couple of times.  The first time through, I wasn’t confident that I actually understood the song.  I played it for my 24-year old son and he kept asking me,“Where did you get that song?” He was really surprised that I was listening to rap – he knows it’s my least favourite genre of music – in my mind, it comes way behind opera music and I REALLY don’t like opera) – but I needed a little help in understanding what this rapper was saying.

The second time through I started to understand the words – this guy worships money.  What’s important to him is the opulent lifestyle that comes with “Six 0′s on the left side of a decimal.” 

I’m not sure why but extravagance has never tempted me.

I remember a time long ago when I was invited to an Amway meeting.  I had no idea what I was getting into but I attended the meeting because a friend invited me.  There was a few minutes of socializing at the beginning of the evening and then the twelve of us were asked to sit in a circle.  A well dressed husband and wife team led the meeting and the first question that they asked the group was, “if you could drive any car you wanted, what would it be?” I had never given this question a second’s thought up to that point but unfortunately for the leaders,  I happened to be the first person to the right so I was asked to speak first. The only car I could think of was the one that my mother drove around town.

“I would like to drive a red Volkswagon.”

Well, let me tell you, the two leaders were NOT impressed with my answer so, they tried again.  “Think big, Diane. (We had name tags on)  What’s your dream car?”

I looked at the leaders and honestly answered, “I don’t dream about cars.”

I suppose I was a real party pooper at evening. I’m not sure that particular meeting ever recovered and I never went to another Amway meeting again.

The thing is that I’ve never spent a lot of time dreaming about cars or houses or designer clothes or vacations or anything else material, for that matter.

I’ve always desired simplicity so the words to this song really hit hard.  Is this over-the-top pride in “things” really what young people aspire to? Does an opulent lifestyle really entice the next generation? Do they really think that money is the answer to a full life?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against wealth. Some people have the gift of earning great amounts of it but with this ability comes great responsibility. I’ve seen good people love others well with their wealth.  It’s not money that dishonors God – it’s the love of it.

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.                  1 Timothy 6.10

I know…I know…it’s just entertainment…Relax, Diane…but the message of this song really bothers me. This is what we’re teaching the next generation. Then again, it’s always been this way, hasn’t it? From the beginning of time, this is what the world has offered.

And he said to them, “Take care and be on guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.                                                         Luke 12.15



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