“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)
We live in a consumer culture, one that is focused on delivering what people want in order to get them to consume a given product. Consumerism makes a religion out of consumption by offering “salvation” through what we can get!
A couple of weeks ago we looked at how consumerism demands that we focus our affection on the things we can acquire. We become so obsessed with buying things — e.g. latest phone, most recent fashions, trendiest car, etc. — that we become possessed by our possessions. The Bible antidote to consumerism is giving. That’s why our “tithes” and “offerings” are important — our giving frees us from the worship of things and makes us more Christlike.
Unfortunately, many Christians impose this consumer worldview onto their faith and it results in a twisted reversal of the truth. Consumer Christians are deluded by their self-centeredness and believe “God exists to meet my needs!” While it is true that God can and does meet our needs, consumer Christians believe that God’s end goal is their own personal comfort and pleasure.
Closely connected to this lie is the equally false corollary: “The church exists to meet my needs!” For consumer Christians church becomes another place to pick and choose the religious goods and services that satisfy their wants. People show up at church as long as things are being done for them and they get something out of it.
Here are some questions that will help you answer the question “Am I A Consumer Christian”?
- Do I see the church as providing a product or a service: good religious feelings, self-help programs, children’s activities, practical advice for living successfully, etc.?
- Do I operate under the notion that I will leave when I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth or proper service?
- Is my loyalty to the local church like loyalty to a particular business: I’m happy as long as I get what I want?
- Do I come to church to worship God, but avoid intimate relationships with others in the body of believers?
- Do I see myself as primarily an individual who comes to worship God – maybe even give my tithe, but should not be expected to serve God through the church?