Continuing our “For Such a Time as This” sermon series, Pastor Tom addressed materialism this morning – a topic every one can relate to improve our spiritual health. I felt my recent call to “just give time to others” mantra was even more prevalent here. I enjoy organizing materials to put it to good use just like any other tool God gives us, but materialism can overwhelm and influence us and become the main motivator behind our actions.
The absence of the spiritual world in materialism reveals its’ ultimate emptiness. We can address the physical (being tired, “burn out”, medical conditions, etc.), but it ultimately boils down to lack of perspective or purpose. Is our purpose to acquire more things and impress people or to grow closer to God?
Materialism happens and it’s very challenging. Resisting materialism seems logical, but determining the level of effort can be hard. It’s important for us to collaborate with others to get a decent perspective. Sometimes we do not an objective view of ourselves. Keeping a journal of your everyday activities and thoughts is a great way to determine how much materialism permeates our personal lives. We also have to be willing to share that journal account with others after building a relatively long one where we’re brutally honest so we can see patterns and tendencies.
From the strictly physical point-of-view, materials degrade over time. Materialism sustains itself by flooding us with astounding statistics (Apple phone sales, box office numbers of movies, etc.), which make it challenging to resist. We also have several options, so when we are disenfranchised with one piece of materialism then another can easily take it’s place as we “recycle” the old one to ease our minds and wasteful habits.
Pastor Tom’s “boiling frog” analogy,and many other gems all reflect the powerful hold materialism can have on us.
We’ve all experienced it from a consumer perspective while we often overlook the producer aspect. “They wouldn’t do it if it was not profitable” was another great point. They “hook our desires” to the point where we seek the BBD (bigger better deal) that only offers short term pleasure flashes instead of lifelong fulfillment that only God offers.
I also look how the system of music, entertainment, movies, and media in general treat each other. They tear others down so easily (rivalries, Razzie awards, etc.) much more than they build up the system or seek to genuinely help people get closer to God.
Defining my life in “stuff” touches finances as well – one of the biggest areas I’m working on. The solution is not a tactic or system I have to produce to combat another system. It’s a state of mind achieved from prayer, deep reflection, and personal development. Without focus on God can leave us in a constant cycle of trying new things, seeking selfish command in our life (instead of surrendering to God) and harmful habits.
Music to add: “Made to Worship” by Chris Tomlin and I also thought of a specific lyris from the Living Colour song “Go Away” – “Is it true that the winner dies with the most toys?” Note: I add this music to my shuffle or other device. This music just comes from what I’m thinking of while listening to the sermon.