The Consumer Mentality

David_Livingstone_Preaching_from_his_Wagon,_Africa,_ca.1845-ca.1865_(imp-cswc-GB-237-CSWC47-LS16-019)It’s frightening to see what the consumer mentality does to everyday people. First, I’m defining “consumer mentality” as the desire for something new, greater, and more exciting than what we already have.

Consequently, we have a perfectly good, well-functioning tablet, but the Tech World releases the new version, the bigger version, the tripped out version, and now we are bored with the one we have. We see all its faults and short-comings.

Sadly, the consumer mentality goes beyond things to activities. That’s how skirts so long they only bared a woman’s ankle have morphed into bikinis that bare . . . well, most everything. That’s why a present in a stocking at Christmas became mounds of presents under a tree.

This “we want newer, we want better, we want bigger” makes us quickly bored with the same old thing. Consequently, any company that wants us to buy must keep churning out fresh material. Which is hard on the news business because there are only so many things happening in the world.

Something that hasn’t happened for a while gets the news machine humming. Katrina was a bonanza, but the next couple hurricanes had a sort of “been there, done that” feel and they couldn’t live up to the horror of the Superdome or the political wrangling connected with “the big one.” Consequently hurricanes in the Philippines or Mexico get barely a mention.

Japan’s earthquake/tsunami disaster was a two-fer, so it got big news attention. But there was Haiti and quakes in far away South American countries, and pretty soon quake fatigue set in.

Now ISIS and beheading—that was new, and big. Until Ebola came along as the New, Big Story.

But yesterday in the local news, the lead story was our weather. And not even “our” weather, because it was a fairly localized condition—high winds that snapped a few trees and caused damage to some cars and the roof of one building.

Buried in the news somewhere was the story about another North American who had been beheaded—along with a host of Syrians. I couldn’t believe my ears. As it turned out, there was also an Ebola story—a doctor who had contracted the disease in Sierra Leon, who was gravely ill (and has since died). But this too did not lead the news hour.

So apparently strong winds are the new, fresh, more interesting story. Until tomorrow.

But here’s the capper. Following the promo for the beheading story was one for the news feature about the record-setting tallest nutcracker ever made.

So that’s where the consumer mentality has placed a horrific deed—bloody mass executions. A minute on people dying. A minute on a new Guinness Book record for the tallest nutcracker—one that could clomp the teeth of its totem-pole-like face together and crack the shell of a coconut.

People die—awwww. People set records—yea! Anything to get the consumer to keep coming back.

Interestingly, Jesus showed that He doesn’t play that game. The Pharisees wanted Him to fast and follow their rules, but He partied instead.

Eventually the crowds wanted to make Him a king who would defeat Rome and free them from their oppression. They wanted the Exodus only in reverse. They wanted God to set His people free. Jesus said, My kingdom isn’t of this world. He showed how He intended to free people—through forgiveness of their sins.

That was sooooo not the way the consumer mentality works. You don’t reject the limelight. You embrace it. You don’t say no to the demand of the public, you promise to give them that and more. You don’t satisfy people’s needs—you create them.

On top of this, Jesus said offensive things—you have to take up your cross and follow me; you must lose your life to find it; the first will be last, the last first; you must hate your father and mother for Jesus’s sake—seemingly with the intention of driving the crowds away.

This is not the way the consumer mentality works!

No wonder. Jesus is not a flash in the pan. He isn’t a fad, a superstar to be quickly bypassed by the next American idol. He’s not playing the consumer game, vying for popularity. Simply put, popularity passes away, but Jesus—the exact image of the invisible God—is lasting. He is the great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

He was before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

He is the most sure, the lasting, truest, unwavering permanence imaginable. And then some.

No wonder people filled with the consumer mentality here in western societies have a hard time embracing Jesus.

No wonder Christians in places like Laos and Nigeria and Indonesia cling to Him in the face of persecution. The consumer mentality hasn’t blinded them to the genuine article. They know what they’ve found and they intend to hold on.

Published in: on November 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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