Avoiding the Dangers of ConsumerismSue Afutu
And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Luke 12:15 NKJV
I switched on my phone in a bid to send a message to a friend. I saw a new text message in my inbox which said “pre-order the new version of …. phone”. I smiled to myself and thought of all the other ways in which as consumers we are persuaded to buy things that we don’t actually need. According to the American Psychological Association, Americans today compared with Americans in 1957, own twice as many cars per person, eat out twice as often and enjoy endless other commodities that weren’t around then–big-screen TVs, microwave ovens, SUVs and handheld wireless devices, to name a few.
In Luke 12:15, Jesus warns us to be weary of covetousness. So many of us, buy things we don’t need to impress others. How much simpler and truly more enjoyable life would be if people’s impressions of our material possessions did not matter to us.
The dangers of consumerism
Consumerism is the belief that our wellbeing and happiness depend fundamentally on obtaining consumer goods and material possessions and that it is desirable to increase our consumption of goods and services.
Consumerism can lead to impulse buying. It increases our expenditure and debt in extreme cases. Ultimately it can shift our focus from what is important, which is that our lives do not consist in the abundance of things that we possess (Luke12:15).
In Matthew 6:19-20 we are reminded to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal because where our treasure is there our hearts also would be.
This is not to say that we should not desire to buy things to meet our needs. Rather, it’s a caution against impulse or excessive buying which may well be stemming from covetousness or from a drive to keep up with others.
Let’s fix our eyes on eternity and invest in that as well. In Luke 12: 13-21, Jesus tells the parable of a man who cultivated his land and had a great yield. His harvest was so great he had to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. He said to himself,” Soul, you have so much laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink and be merry “. Unfortunately, that very night his soul was required of him, and he was found wanting.
Making an investment into eternity starts with accepting Jesus’s gift of salvation. If you would like to do so, you can say this prayer. “Dear Lord Jesus, I accept that I am a sinner. Thank you for dying on the cross to save me from my sins. Please come and live in my heart and make me a new person in Jesus’ name. Amen.
In what ways do you think you have been guilty of consumerism in the past?
What steps can you take to avoid being caught in this snare?