The journal Christianity and Crisis once published an article dealing with the church’s response to America’s “ever-expanding economy.” In it, the author highlighted the pressure on people to “consume, consume and consume, whether we need or even desire the products almost forced upon us….we’re persuaded to consume to meet the needs of the productive process.”
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this warning was when it was published – 1955! Long before the advent of 24/7 satellite television, smart phones, and various devices connected to the internet (and the endless barrage of advertisements that accompanying them all), the author was already concerned about the possible impact consumerism might have on the church.
Fast-forward 60+ years, and it appears the church hasn’t managed to steer clear of consumerism. According to Dave Ramsey, “We have more people getting behind on credit cards, more people filing bankruptcy, more people in foreclosure right now than we’ve ever had in this nation.” Remarkably, American consumers are simultaneously earning record income while accumulating record debt. And there is little difference between the amounts that Christians and non-Christians earn, spend, save, charge, or donate to charities.
Unfortunately, the stress of financial strain has caused significant cracks in the foundations of many Christian families as well. Sadly, when it comes to money, it would seem that many Christians are following Madison Avenue more than Jesus Christ. We’re as busy climbing the ladder as anyone, realizing too late that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall! When will we realize that nobody truly wins “the rat race?”
Take an honest look at what role consumerism is playing in your life today. What unnecessary pressure have you placed yourself (and your family) under by making purchases with money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t even like? Any changes you need to make? –Dave
Don’t exhaust yourself acquiring wealth; be smart enough to stop. (Proverb 23:4, ISV)
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