Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Consumerism is Ancient

I've been doing some thinking about consumerism and Jesus' words of "Follow Me" - they don't seem to be compatible. The number one American leisure activity in 2006 was shopping. This boosts the concept of consumerism. When I mention consumerism, I'm not condemning consuming. We were created to consume. We were commanded to subdue the earth. Jesus enjoyed good food and wine while He was here on earth. Consuming is not the problem. The problem comes when we live to consume! Consumerism is the promotion of the consumer's interests. Just think about that for a minute as it relates to the church today. Many churches find out what their consumer's want and then give it to them. As I looked at my churches web page ValleyLife Church, I realized that we had bought into consumerism as well. We state that we are an authentic community of people where you can feel safe. This might sound good, but it is trying to attract people who desire this type of product...or maybe it is simply stating who we are, but it does sound very consumerish. If we are going to "promote the consumer's interests", shouldn't we identify whom the consumers are? Well, I think the consumers are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Whenever the church gathers together, whether it is in a building with a steeple or a building with a chimney, we are gathering together to primarily to worship Jesus and then to build up the body of Christ by using the gifts that Jesus has distributed to us. Sometimes I'm bored and sometimes I'm excited but I know that Jesus is always there in the middle of our getting together. I want Him to be pleased with my presence - even when I'm bored. So I was reading in Ezekiel 11:12 these words this morning "Thus, you will know that I am the Lord; for you have not walked in My statutes nor have you executed My ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations around you." It seems the Jerusalem had fallen into the ways of the nations around them instead of following the ways of the living God. The first sentence in this verse indicates that God wants His people to know that He is the Lord, not what the world thinks or the people around them think or act. Many thousands of years ago, people were falling into this trap of taking in what the world has to offer so that they will feel better about themselves, be better accepted or climb the ladder of life. All of this at the expense of following the ordinances or ways of the Lord God. To many people today choose a church based upon what they want and like instead upon seeking where God would have them to be. Too many people today treat their faith as something to be consumed instead of something to be lived out not matter the circumstances they face. Too many of us in churches are quick to provide whatever is desired so that they keep coming back. Instead, we should tell them to obey the words of Jesus and "Follow Me". Check back here in a few days to find out some of what Jesus said is required of those who follow Him and become His disciples. It looks a lot different than the way I see my life being lived out.