Do you want God to provide for you, or do you want God to transform you? Do you want God to treat you as if you simply consume products, like a penned animal, or as if you live as a vital, inspired and loving being?
More now than ever before, we live the life of a consumer. We expect and demand products worth consuming from food and drink to clothing, health care, housing, transportation, and more.
What if I wrote an article proposing, “God wishes to transform you, offering you an inspiring, hopeful, exciting, loving, beautiful and compassionate life instead of the life of consumption, indebtedness and competition for goods?”
Well, here’s that article.
Long before Fifth Avenue marketers learned how to pick our wallets, God created the heavens and the earth – a fairly nifty item might you say? Shortly afterward (in God’s time) fascinating creatures came into being, living off a very fruitful environment loaded with whole grains, high protein, low carbohydrates, and some fat all available for the price of admission of simply being born. In time, humanity acquired a controlling interest in these products and marketed them, making some rich and others poor. God, of course, wanted all children to grow up rich. That failed.
Nonetheless, God continues wanting us to live rich lives not necessarily rich in consumed goods – goods rather low on the food chain, like, well shall we say, food, itself – but, rather, God gives a richness to us placed high on the food chain, like loving and satisfying companionship and relationships, which no one can purchase. If authentic love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, and trust proved to be marketable, some brilliant entrepreneur could find a way to market it. Yet, after thousands of years, no such entrepreneur found successful ways to market what truly matters in life. Thank God!
I believe that over the past decades, faith in God, trust in Christ, inspiration through the Holy Spirit and a decline in church attendance happened as the result of our conditioning to be committed consumers; and, as the divine or the church failed to entice consumers, then consumer interest waned. God’s wish to energize our life and invite us to travel loving and memorable paths faded in the eyes of consumers wanting “top of the line” products, despite their injurious effects on our financial stability and well-being.
While God made us consumers, being consumers never existed as our reason for being. Being created in God’s image promises greater abundance in life than what we send down our throats, what we wear, and how we get from point A to point B. Living requires consuming, but consuming need not require our life in exchange.
This “Era of the Consumer” will pale after we experience “reconditioning” (transformation), beginning to learn ways to deeply desire authentic abundance and genuine wealth.
When that day comes, shop till you drop.
Tom Towns is pastor of First United Methodist Church in Cortez.