An observation about the things in which we build our lives…

We want.  It’s really simple.  We live in a society that caters to what we want.  Unless, we don’t allow ourselves to be catered to by society.  In the United States, and I assume in many other 1st world nations, the prevalent reality is having.  Recently, almost everyone I know has gone through the process of getting the next greatest phone.  Rather than fight about which one is the best, of the people that I call friends, almost 80% have changed phones in the last 6 to 8 months.  Most of it, is because of new releases.  The newest, the best, the most powerful, etc.     

Image from wikipedia

I must admit, right before my mother passed away, I too was caught up in it.  I even purchased one and had to return it less than a week after purchasing it, because of trying to save monies for whatever might come up with her dying in another country.  Yet, if I hadn’t,  I would have probably not recognised how subtle it is to feel the need to have the latest and greatest.

But, if it’s not phones, it’s TV’s, or game consoles, or computers, or automobiles.  Usually, people that purchase such things aren’t buying them outright either, so it’s a comfortable way to keep ourselves in debt.  Debt, so I have been told, is what makes the world go round.

Imagine if someone decided that it’s okay to not get the next best thing, to not invest in one whole cycle of whatever is new.  Imagine if they then took the money that they would have spent and invested it in something that has much longer lasting power… to invest in a community that is in need. 

What a novel idea.  The idea that the have’s might be here to help out the have-not’s.  I have been convicted of such for many years, and since I started to become more responsible with my funds, the conviction has taken me to do things that are quite radical.  At least, many others would consider it radical. 

I had a friend of mine once ask me during a debate over such issues, “So, what am I supposed to do?  Sell all I have for others?”  My response is that Christ asks us to do no less.  In Luke 18:18-30, we see what Jesus regards as one thing that keeps us from doing what we know to be right and true.  Many Christians when reading this verse will hem and haw, but it comes down to those things that we hold onto instead of giving them freely away.  We lack the faith that trusts that our needs will actually be taken care of by God Himself, and all of these peripheral things aren’t needs at all.  Until we live without, we truly don’t understand the difference.

So, many of us, we save and save and save for those things we want badly.   Society tells us through advertisements and promotion that we must have and need this and that.  We then build our lives around having these things.  Then we end up working hard to maintain what we have.  The trappings of society permeate our lives to such a degree that we don’t see it when it subverts our ability to serve God by serving others.  

This is something that, under the scrutiny of a loving and compassionate God, has to change for us to be more like Him.  He, who gave up everything, and died for us asks us to do the same.

If we cannot bear to not have those things we own, they own us. 

So we need to learn how to want what our faith tells us to want, what our relationship with God tells us to want.

Yet, all too often, we only listen to society.  Until we’re the ones that have need, or we’re the ones that are without.  Then, we find we don’t want as much.  Sadly, it takes most of us until we’re without to realise that point.  There are so many better things that we can save up for, than for a silly phone.