Recently, I have encountered a couple of stories that have highlighted the fact that many Thai people are as devoted to money as they are to Buddhism - perhaps even more attached to money.
We visited a small church in a nearby province last week and one of the leaders told us of a new believer who would only come to church when her son, who isn't a believer, could come watch her home for her. Now, her son hasn't been coming, so she stays home on Sundays because she is afraid that theives will break into her house and steal her many possesions when she is out. Break-ins are not uncommon in Thailand this is just such a sad story because
this woman is clearly loving the things more than God.
A few days later, there was an article in the Thai newspaper about a family furniture store that burnt down in the middle of the night. The family lived in the same building where the shop was and was awoken by neighbors shouting "Fire". The blaze took off quickly because the furniture cleaning and polishing chemical made excellent tinder. After the family escaped from the blaze, the father remembered that he had stashed over a million baht (the baht is the Thai currency) in their home. The son pleaded with the father to not go back for the money but his father was not persuaded and return to their blazing home to rescue his money. The father subcumbed to the smoke and burned to death in the flames.
Materialism is not merely a Western phenomenon and you don't need to be rich to be greedy. Many Thai people are gripped by the desire to be wealthy, and religion is just something on the side when convenient. Please pray that the Lord would reveal to the people of Thailand the folly of chasing after wealth which rust and moth (and theives and fire) destroy instead of making God their treasure.