There is a growing concern that the American Church has become devoted to ‘consumerism’. For a short definition, consumerism is ‘the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of goods’. So, how might this define the Church? It’s actually a mindset. When I work hard to earn money for me or for my family, is it only to personally enjoy the fruits? To continually store up, buy a bigger home or car. Do you eat just to gorge yourself or maintain strength? There are a thousand scenarios.
Do you, do I, as a Christian, approach our Bible study(s) with only a consumptive mindset? How about the preaching, your Sunday School class, memorization of verses? Are they each useful for you to only be ‘built-up, filled-up’ with no consideration of what the real purpose is?
There is an alternative mindset…‘stewardship’. It is counter-cultural. It says that everything I am receiving from God is for the purpose of serving others. Yes, we are to provide for our own, and enjoy the fruits of our labor, but never at the expense of the needs of others. What about the homeless, poor and needy, widows and orphans, brokenness, the spiritually lost?
If we are simply going through life consuming, while the greatest joys of life are found in serving others, we are most to be pitied. It starts with a decision we must all make. Is my mind set on others, or myself? When we went to Israel and saw the Dead Sea, it reminded me of this subject. The rivers feed fresh water into it, but it has no outlet, thus, it is full of salt and nothing can live in it. Are we only being filled-up like the Dead Sea, or are we experiencing the joy of stewardship (giving)? “The mind of man plans his way, the Lord directs his steps.” Consumer or steward? Make up your mind!