So today we stop and rest and think about how grateful we are. Then tomorrow we’re back to being Americans, ready to run over other people in order to get a DVD player for $50, even though we already have 3 DVD players at home and 1 in the car.
Hearing people camp out for 3 days to get their little hands on a Playstation 3 is quite embarrassing. Maybe the worst “characteristic” of America is consumerism. Why are we determined to “get” stuff all the time? Now to be honest, I’m also a consumer, I buy things that I do not have to have. I do have an iPod and an iBook, I buy stuff like that and by no means do I think it’s wrong.
When I think of consumerism, I think of being in a constant state of spending. Spending that is based on emotion and credit card use. I have been down this road before and I had to repent. I no longer use credit cards, because I always find a way to “max” my cards out. I “justify” why I need stuff that I don’t really need.
So consumerism is a huge issue in America today. I can’t help but wonder how the church should respond to this. I wonder if we haven’t added fuel to the fire? Do we spend to lavishly on stuff that really doesn’t matter? By no means am I advocating legalism, I just think as Christ followers we have to be aware of the culture that we create. Yesterday I was working in the ghetto of S. Dallas; I could not help but feel like I’ve let some folks down and so has the church.
So how can we as Christ followers respond to consumerism? Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Do you really need what you are purchasing? Will it end up in some storage facility in 4- months?
2. What is your budget, has your purchase been budgeted?
3. If you are purchasing something on a credit card, and it’s not a true need or an emergency, and you can’t pay it off within the first month, then you have to ask yourself if you’re making wise choices with your finances.
4. Are you giving your money away? Are you tithing? Do you allow your resources to be used by others in need? Are you a giving person? I have a rule, I almost always give stuff away. I never want to “sell” anything to a friend. I think it’s important to just give.
I’m sure there are plenty of other things I can add, but I do want to say this, When you look at your budget, it truly is a great indicator of what you think is important in life. So take time and ask yourself some tough questions, because the church (which is you by the way) has a true responsibility to be givers, and to be counter-cultural to this phenomenon called consumerism.
My buddy Ken (along with his lovely wife Brenda, which are some of the most generous people I know) reminded me that tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day. Now, I would not say that you can’t buy nothing; and I think “buy nothing day” is extreme. I guess I would say, if your going to buy, just be wise, and understand that being a good steward is a good thing.