Saturday, July 2, 2016

Things are just things

“I don't know what, they want from me
It's like the more money we come across
The more problems we see”

- from, “Mo Money Mo Problems”

“The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.” I Timothy 6:10 CEV

I went to the local Wal-Mart a few days ago to pick up a few things.  Get in, purchase said items, get out and go back home.

I pulled up and immediately noticed people camped outside the front doors, selling something.  As I passed by, politely declining a purchase I went into the inside of the store and was confronted with a table set up and run by an employee of the store asking if I wanted to sign up for a store credit card.  Again, I declined and kept moving.  I came to the store to get some items and go right back home.

But only a few steps away, right by the main intersection of the store is yet another table set up, selling satellite television from some company.  The man running the table is talkative, well dressed and slightly intrusive.

I collected my items, thinking I was done.  How wrong I was.  As I checked out the cashier asked if I wanted to donate to some charity and add a dollar to my total.  I am wondering how many real life pop up ads I am going to have to navigate before I can get safely back home as I, again, decline.  I take my bags, head to the car but I am again slowed down by the people by the front doors, who ask, again, if I wish to purchase some of their items.  I keep walking.

We are constantly inundated with advertisements to buy, buy, buy.  We get offers in the mail from places we never visited.  We get emails offering a “one time only” sale to places we never go to shop.  We get our social media flooded with people selling things.  Many of them good things, I'm not knocking them.

But often times I feel absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of advertising directed at us, wanting us to buy more things.  Television, internet, billboards, license plates, tablets, video games, and even at the local stores where people hawk their wares because they know there will be a crowd of consumers.

We work so hard to buy things that break and bend, shatter and crumble.  Some of the things we buy we need.  Most of the things we buy we don't need.  I include myself in this list.  We buy things because it makes us happy.  We like new, shiny, upgraded things.  We like to contribute to good causes, we like to purchase things to share with others.

Have you ever noticed that the more things you have the less you use them?  Why is that?  Because we have so much we don't have time to play with all we've bought!  We overwhelm ourselves with pleasure and indulge in things that will, in just a few short years, be sitting in a storage shed and sold at a garage sale 5 years later.

I think a good principle to apply to our lives as well as many other areas, including the church, schools, prisons, etc is this,  we need less stuff but more quality stuff.  We need fewer churches but better churches, better schools, and better prisons, but less.  Quantity never trumps quality.

We'll leave it all behind anyway.  And for believers, when we do, we'll get something of a higher quality than we ever imagined.  And I doubt there'll be any advertising.  I look forward to the day.

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