The second thing I have been pondering is this short ten minute YouTube video by John Piper on the prosperity Gospel. I urge you to watch it. I have never been a fan of the prosperity message, but this ten minutes summed up for me some things I wouldn't have been able to put into words.
Someone has well said, "Our pocketbooks have more to do with heaven and hell than our hymnbooks."
Cyprian, the third-century bishop of Carthage wrote an amazingly up-to-date look at the affluent of the day, which could have been written today. "Their property held them in chains... which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls.... If they stored up their treasure in heaven, they would not now have an enemy and a thief within their household...They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves."