“We sometimes come to God, not because we love Him best, but because we love our possessions best; we ask Christ to save Western civilization, without asking ourselves whether it is entirely a civilization that Christ could want to save. We pray, too often, not to do God’s will, but to enlist God’s assistance in maintaining our continually increasing consumption. And yet, though Christ promised that God would feed us, he never promised that God would stuff us to bursting.”
– Joy Davidman
Last night while we were chatting with friends, my husband joked that we have updated the old Ten Commandments package and reissued it as The Ten Commandments Lite. Thou shalt have no other gods before me – as long as you recognize them as gods. Thou shalt not bear false witness – unless it would interfere with business practices or increase your taxable earnings. Thou shalt not kill – unless someone threatens your way of life… or your portion size…
One commandment, he pointed out, we have abandoned almost entirely: Thou shalt not covet.
At least one industry, advertising and marketing, exploits our tendency to want what what someone else has. Our entire economy depends on consumerism that labels products as “dated” and in need of replacement by the latest variation on the market. Instead of saying, “Wow! These shoes have lasted ten years!” we say, “I can’t wear these shoes. They’ve been out of style for two years!”
There is an open-sided shed at our waste disposal and recycling center. People can leave items there if they don’t want to make the effort to drop them off at one of the thrift shops a few blocks away. I was dismayed to learn that if no one takes them within a day or two they go into the pile of uneaten food and packaging and construction material destined for the landfill. Trucks carry away a lot of items doomed to dumping for the crime of being “dated.” A great deal of the stuff we toss in the landfill are things we absolutely had to have five years ago – like plastic and synthetic objects made from limited resources.
I suddenly realized that sometimes we are willing to take children’s daddies away for months or years, then document their return (with PTSD) in tear-jerking surprise reunion videos just to protect “our way of life.”
Joy Davidman’s statement shook me. Have I ever actually asked the Lord if this way of life with its increasing consumption model is something he wants to assist us to maintain? He has said he will prosper us, but does he agree with our definition of prosperity?
We were just goofing around last evening when my husband talked about The Ten Commandments Lite, but this morning this passage in scripture came to my attention:
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49 ESV)
If a wave of God’s kind of blessing hits us, will we recognize it for what it is?