Most people when asked the question: What is the most pressing disease that needs cured in America today? Would respond: Cancer!
I would contend that the most insidious disease destroying our country is consumerism. And I believe that we must start listing consumerism as a very serious illness.
We are quick to label many addictions as diseases (and rightfully so). We can easily discern the devastating results of addictive behavior. We can point to a person who is struggling and say, “They need help.”
But when it comes to consumerism . . . not only do we not view it as negative–we encourage it! (Go ahead, spend your rebate check on a new TV.)
And yet, the results of consumerism are destroying millions upon millions of individual lives and families. (The number one reason cited for divorce in America today is financial pressures.)
Julie and I just paid off our Saturn VUE. The only debt we now carry is on our home. No credit card debt. No home equity line of credit. No family loans. The result? Freedom that leads to health.
The antidote to consumerism? To be consumed by the things of God. In practical terms, to live by the Biblical financial principles of “enough is enough,” generosity and appropriate saving.
When it comes to the disease of consumerism–how healthy are you?
My new addiction is getting out of debt. ;)
My car will be paid off as soon as I get my economic stimulus tax refund and then I plan on obliterating my credit card debt. It’s so exciting that I actually have very little desire to run out and buy things.
It doesn’t matter what tax bracket you are in, if you don’t live within your means you will be in trouble.
I have a great book that goes hand in hand with this idea. It is called: Addicted to Stuff. It challenges all Christians to relook at all the stuff we have that weighs us down – and can have spiritual consequences. The greek word for greed is “pleonexia” (see Mark 7:22 and Luke 12:13-21 or Matthew 6:19-21 about storing treasures in Heaven instead of on earth. Do we need bigger “barns” (Luke’s story) or less stuff (a great parable!) In the USA, we are very blessed. I still think Mother Teresa had it right when she said we should give not from our excess, but to give until it hurts for the sake of Jesus!
AS a Christian, I have to take aim at how we tend to use the word “blessing”. We tend to call the things we OWN ….”blessings”. In my understanding of it, I don’t think you can “own” a blessing. I think we get confused and try to rationalize all of the stuff we have accumulated and then call them blessings, hoping that giving God some of the glory makes what we have legitimate in His eyes. A blessing is way more complicated than that. My brother who died of cancer called his disease a blessing because it brought him closer to Jesus. While he was sick (3 years) we continually prayed for his healing. On his death bed, he said he WAS healed because he had grown closer to Jesus and was at peace. I think it’s just too easy and trite to think that God is bestowing upon us, STUFF! He wants us to have a relationship in eternity with HIM. If you think your stuff is bringing you closer to Jesus than I guess it might be a blessing, but I highly doubt it. I think our stuff is the largest barrier to us receiving the true blessings of God. Maybe I am missing something, but I just don’t think my blessings are in the aisle at “stuffmart”. I do think that we can BE blessed by others and we can BE blessings to others by extending GOD’s grace and love. Yes, stuff can be a blessing when you give it AWAY in the name of Christ………food, clothing, shelter, money etc. When someone is in NEED of it, it is truely a blessing. When you already have enough…..it’s just stuff.
If you attend estate auctions, you quickly realize how little your “precious stuff” is worth. We go at least one a year to help “curb” our spending cravings. Nothing hits you square between the eyes more than seeing someone’s brand new TV set sell for nickles on the dollar!