Thursday, July 24, 2008

None but Christ can satisfy!

As I pack up our things in anticipation of our move, I realize how much junk we have. Even though we’ve filtered through it multiple times this year and given huge, bulging bags stuffed with goods to charity, it’s obvious we still have more than we need.

When Brandon went on a mission trip to Belize (January), he was reminded once again how little others have, and yet they are satisfied. In their countries, more isn’t necessarily more. They don’t have the media blaring in their homes and cars (if they have cars, which most of them don’t), because they don’t have radios and televisions. Therefore, they don’t get the message societies and governments want to impress upon us:

consumerism3.jpgBuy more!!!

I was watching a string of commercials the other day, paying close attention to the message, and the underlying message, in the clips. The message is:

If you don’t have one, you need to get one.
You need one because it will make you feel cooler, sexier, and more hip.
You’ll be more desirable if you have this product.
If you have one already, then it’s time you updated to this newer version.
If you don’t have this newer version, then you’re out of date.
If you’re out of date, then you must be poor.
Buy this newer version to show that you are wealthy and cool!
Buy this product and stop aging. Aging is bad.
You need this product because it will make your life easier.
You need this product because you deserve it.
You need this product because you are worth it.
This product will give you more time to yourself. Spoil yourself!
This product is inexpensive, so even if you don’t really need it, you can afford it, so you should buy it!

You get the idea… right?

Restaurants tell us that, well, we need a break. We shouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove. Boutiques tell us that we need more clothes because the style has changed. Home improvement stores poke and prod us, telling us we need top of the line this and more efficient that.

I’m not saying we should never eat out, buy new clothes, purchase efficient appliances, or fix up our homes….. but the media insists that a little is never enough. We need to load up, spend more, and consume-consume-consume.

We don’t appreciate what we already have. No matter how much we convince ourselves, with this sort of attitude, we won’t appreciate what we gain in the future either.

I easily fall into these traps…. on a daily basis. I’m surrounded by it when I walk outside of my home, when I go grocery shopping, when I drive anywhere! When I log online, luring ads promise me a better life.

consumerism1.jpgWhat’s worse is some churches have fallen into this mind rot! You want a better life now? How about you quit focusing on how you can get rich off of God and how God can give you everything you desire and begin focusing on what God has ALREADY done for you in sacrificing His son and realize that, no matter what someone else says, life is NOT all about you, and God is notconcerned with your earthly happiness. Yes, God wants you to have joy and peace, but those things don’t come from chasing the world and it’s pleasures and treasures. It comes from diving into God’s Word, placing your faith in Him for all your needs, and being a good steward of those things He has already given you.

Yesterday, I was shopping for clothes with my birthday money, and realized that most of these stores aren’t really selling clothes. They are selling sex. They are trying to sell appeal. Half naked models plastered on banners and signs portray confidence and beauty. Buy this… you’ll be beautiful! You’ll have confidence! You’ll look like this woman (who, btw, has been digitally retouched)!

I really like clothes. I really like shoes. However, since having children, I have had to sacrifice these expenses in order to provide for them. It’s not really much of a sacrifice really. I’d rather have children than the finest of clothes, but society tells me I need more, that I shouldn’t have to give up anything, that I can have it all, if I want!

Thats a lie. It’s a dirty, nasty, filthy, deceptive lie.

And we keep falling for it time and time again.

consumerism4.jpgPeople have more stuff than they know what to do with, yet no one is really happy. Families suffer because, in order to provide for and pay for all of this stuff, people have to work harder and longer. We can’t live off of one income anymore, because we are paying off debts and still, of course, building more debt on top of that.

We keep buying because, well, we want our children to have the very best…. but the “very best” of material things is no substitute for quality time spent raising our children, playing with our children, and snuggling with them.

On your death bed, I very much doubt your children will say, “Man, I really wish my parents would have bought me more stuff.” Most likely, what they will feel deep inside is, “I wish my parents would have spent more time with me.”

Now, more than ever, I realize how important it is to cut off and limit as much of the media garbage as possible. I need to teach my children that the Word of God is the only thing that satisfies, and I cannot teach them that unless I am living it.

1 comment:

robert said...

A very perceptive essay. Thanks for your insights. From the title, I expected we might eventually get around to a quotation of the hymn by that name--hymns being my specialty. :-)

If you enjoy reading about our hymns and their authors, I encourage you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns.

And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” With the arrival of fall, we begin to think of the Christmas season up ahead. If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at mine, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)