Black Friday. Cyber Monday.
How crazy is this? Businesses spend countless hours preparing for these two days. Their end goal? To trick customers into buying as much of their product as possible. The funniest/saddest part? We all know exactly what they are doing…and yet we still run to the stores anyway.
Let me be clear, I am not trying to make anyone feel bad, nor am I condemning going Black Friday shopping. (My wife and I actually went with friends and had a great time and even got some great deals on gifts for friends and family.) However, the point that I am getting at is this. We live in a consumeristic culture and its grip on many of us is very strong.
Again, there is nothing wrong with being a consumer at the stores. Looking for the best deals is actually a great way to be a wise steward of your resources.
However, when we allow our consumer mentality to creep into other aspects of our lives it becomes very dangerous very fast.
The problem with being a perpetual consumer is that the focus is always on self. What is best for me? What can I get out of this? How can I put forth the smallest effort in order to get the biggest reward? What about me? While these questions might seem normal to the culture we find ourselves in, they actually all run counter to a biblical mindset.
One of the themes we see repeated over and over again in the Bible is one of selflessness, and let’s be real, consumerism is entirely selfish. Where do we see that selfless theme in the Bible? I’m glad you asked.
-Mark 9:35 “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and a servant of all.”
-John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
-Mark 10:44 “and whoever would be first must be a slave (servant) of all.”
-Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
This is just a small sample size of Jesus’ very own words that highlight the biblical attitude of selflessness. Jesus also stunningly displayed this attitude in John 13 when He washed His disciple’s feet. Just try to imagine for a moment that you were there witnessing the Creator God of the universe doing the humiliating job of the lowest of servants. Jesus was not a consumer. And let’s not forget the most selfless act of all, when Jesus gave His life on the cross to save us from our sins.
The Bible calls us to be servants, not consumers. Jesus’ model for us is of service, not consumerism.
We must continually fight against having a consumer mindset when it comes to our church, family, friends, community, and the list goes on. President John F. Kennedy once famously said, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I love that sentiment. Ask not what your friends can do for you, ask what you can do for your friends. For your neighbors. For your family. For your church.
Unfortunately, consumerism has crept into churches all across the country. Individuals might look for a church based on what they can get, rather than what they can contribute to that local body of believers. That’s not to say that being a part of a local church doesn’t have benefits. The church that Jesus Christ established has wonderful benefits that you can find nowhere else on earth. However, along with benefits come responsibilities.
You and your church remain healthiest when both are actively involved and concerned with serving one another. We must remember that the church is not a building or a business. The church isn’t even really an institution in the traditional sense. The church is people. We cannot be consumers of people. We need to serve people.
This Christmas season let’s look for opportunities to think of others rather than just ourselves. Imagine what our communities, families, and churches would look like if we went out of our way in order to serve one another.
Let’s stop being consumers and instead have a higher mindset.
Galatians 5:13 “…through love serve one another.”