A Culture of Materialism
I recently spent some time in the waiting room at a dentist’s office. Somehow I forgot to bring the book I was reading, and I ended up thumbing through a few of the magazines that were sitting out for the distraction of those nervously awaiting their turn in The Chair.
In all the different genres of magazines…fashion, parenting, home and garden, etc. I began to notice a common theme – materialism. Quite likely, you’ve noticed it too – it shamelessly parades itself to us via billboards, TV, group coupon deals delivered to our inboxes, pop ups, text messages, radio, or by knocking on our doors at home while we are trying to have dinner.
In reality, it’s hard NOT to listen, because we are so constantly being bombarded from every direction. Oh, the proffered items are different…pearl necklaces, painting classes, concerts, go-karts, luggage, kitchen remodels, designer clothing, jewelry, new windows, beautiful pools, fire pits, vacations, and dinners. But the message is the same:
“What have you done for YOU lately?” , they brazenly shout. While we mentally fumble for an answer, they immediately follow up with “Well that’s not enough! You DESERVE MORE!”
It kind of reminds me of the Stuff Mart rap from the Madame Blueberry episode of Veggie Tales. In case you have never heard the Stuff Mart rap, here it is. 🙂 You’ll have to listen fast to catch the hilarious lyrics. Please don’t call me at 3 a.m. when you are lying awake in bed and can’t get it out of your head. Call Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki – it’s their fault!!
And none of those things are inherently bad…I mean, we can’t walk around naked, and our houses need updating, and I for one would LOVE to have a pool in my back yard.
Death by Entertainment
But if we buy in, like we’re “supposed to”, we will spend our days pampering ourselves, going from one vacation to another, snatching up all the great deals on things we are told we deserve, and focusing on self, self, self. Rendering ourselves as good as dead for the cause of Christ from death by entertainment.
Remember the C.S. Lewis classic, The Screwtape Letters? The brilliant, sadly effective strategy to make Christians ineffective was not persecution, or sickness, or financial reversals.
It was distraction. If I am so distracted by the stuff of this world that I am not making a hill of beans difference in the lives of the people around me for the Gospel, then I humbly propose that perhaps I need a wake-up call.
This life is not meant to be Club Med for Christians. We are to be soldiers in the cause of Christ, and soldiers know how to live lives of discipline and self-sacrifice for the sake of the great and wonderful cause of their King.
Enjoying a movie (some movies…) and a great dinner is not a crime. Neither is having nice things.
The danger is allowing our hearing to be so dulled by the constant, shrill hawking of goods and services and entertaining experiences, that we no longer hear the still, small voice asking us to die to self that others, too, may live.
And the danger is buying into the mentality that assures us that we deserve more and better when some have nothing at all and we no longer remember that fact, nor do anything about it. The danger is being rendered ineffective for the Kingdom and glory of God by falling for the enemy’s ploy of distraction via materialism.
After all, what is our purpose on this earth?
Last time I checked, it was to love God, to love people, and by our fruitful lives, expand the Kingdom.
So let’s stuff some cotton in our ears and shut out the bombardment of materialism from this world that says we constantly need more and better and let’s link arms and be about our Father’s business. Someone may stand before the Throne one day and thank us that we did.
With faith, hope, and love,