For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16
Many retailers will open their doors this Friday at midnight, ushering in the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday translates into commercial success for stores and malls. Shoppers are treated to special discounts, parking lot camping experiences and minor injuries. Employees have their holidays and time with families cut short to help the masses get this year’s most popular toys before they fly off the shelves.
Some would call this a part of the American Christmas experience. Others would call it another symptom of consumerism. The latter has been around since the early 20th century.
The industrial revolution created mass production, which in turn created an economic crisis: the supply of goods grew beyond consumer demand. The answer was to manipulate the desires of people and encourage spending through advertising. As a result, we are continually urged to fulfill our desires by consuming a broad range of goods and experiences.
We are all deeply affected by consumerism: it shapes how we think, act and even run our churches.
We face the constant temptation to confuse desires with needs. Our contentment depends on our salary, the car in the garage and the amount of gifts under the tree. As a result our life decisions are not guided by a desire to follow Jesus. Instead, our choices are guided by a desire for success and personal satisfaction.
Christ calls us to faithfulness. The world needs disciples of Jesus who are generous, compassionate and other-focused. Before you grab that toy or click that mouse, remember Jesus’ call to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).