worldling n. – One who is absorbed by worldly pursuits and pleasures.
A person who is primarily concerned with worldly matters or material things
A person devoted to the interests and pleasures of this world; worldly person.
According to Rev Samuel Lavington “On Conformity to the World”, a Christian and a worldling are two different characters.
You cannot be both for they are opposites.
If you will live for the world then you must farewell Christianity; and if you will live for Christ then you must let go of the world.
I remember visiting the church named in Lavington’s honour in Bideford, Devon, with my father when I was about seven. We were on the trail of all things Arthurian, and while I don’t think we found Arthur there, I do remember the oddly separated pews and that this was the first time I heard the word “worldling”.
It seems my father thought being a worldling was some sort of character flaw, although I’m not sure he would have been described as a Christian at that time in his life. However, he was certainly always more spiritual than practical and he managed to achieve his ambition of dying almost penniless.
There are many things my father said that profoundly influenced my life and personality (I am sure that’s true of everyone who was close to their father), but one thing in particular was a favourite saying of his:
“You can travel the world and dine with kings, but never find anything of greater interest than is inside your own mind”
(Gordon John Willoughby, circa 1965)