Last Friday evening, I had the opportunity to attend Rock and Worship in Phoenix at the U.S. Airways Center. Originally, the plan called for me meeting with my friend Matt and his wife but after some car issues on his side and those plans falling through, I met up with a few other friends that evening instead. Our seats were absolutely fantastic – quite possibly the best seats in the arena. We lounged in the suites toward the left of the stage (compliments of the big-law firm my friend works at). Given that I raced up from Tucson after work that day, I had no opportunity to grab a bite to eat before the concert started. Not to worry though, the suite was stocked with warm food, snacks, and drinks. I can’t even fathom the yearly cost to buy out a suite – and have excellent access to all events in the arena.
We probably had more than a few envious glances from the other spectators below and above us.
It’s easy to see how people can become entangled in an opulent lifestyle; it’s comfortable. At a whim, I could sit, stand, lounge, eat, chat, or walk around. Thirsty? Get something out of the fridge. Hungry? We had hot food kept warm with sterno. Popcorn? Chips? Brownies? Check. Check. Check.
As I recounted my experience to my parents, I became acutely aware that opulence is empty if it’s not filled with relationships. Were I not surrounded by other people that I knew, the event, for all its grandeur, would have been quite lonely. My mom remarked how fortunate I was to enjoy such a high-brow life. Indeed, I was fortunate. But I consider myself more fortunate to have people in my life with which to share these events.
Relationships form the base of human development; without them, life would be directionless. I suspect that even the richest among us would openly admit that the things that provide the most pleasure in life are not tangible objects, but people, events, and experiences. But while we crave human relationships, we sometimes trick ourselves into seeking authenticity in the security of material possessions. You’ll never hear me state that wealth and luxury are abominable; they have uses. Those uses, I believe, are to foster genuine relationships; relationships are the end goal.
My firm also purchases tickets for sporting and other events – and I’ve had a few occasions to benefit from – and bless others with – these tickets. Oftentimes, these events are a way to bring other people together – others that may not have occasion to otherwise socialize. At least, it’s that way for me. I’m not a huge basketball, football, baseball fan – at least not as a spectator, but in bringing others along, that secular event carries much more meaning.
So, Rock and Worship went quite well – not only because the bands were objectively good (or at least subjectively good), and not only because the seats were absolutely fantastic (though that was a major benefit) but because of the relationships among those in that suite.