Friday, 30 September 2011

Coveting & Consumerism

Peter Lockhart

Not so long ago I watched a movie called “Keeping up wit the Joneses”. The premise is based on the idea of planting a fake family in a community and then providing them with all the latest gadgets and fashions and foods. It is marketing genius and plays right into one of our weaknesses - coveting.

Despite the commandment not to covet, coveting has become integral to our culture and our lives.

Our desire to own more things and the constant bombardment of advertising seduce us into lifestyles in which our lives are becoming more defined by what we posses than ever before. Consumerism drives us and it drives our economy with its insatiable need for growth.

The consequences of our over consumption are difficult for us to fathom but the scriptures suggest that whilst we know God to be a merciful God our sins do have consequences.

On the “Make Wealth History” Website this week it marked the 27th of September as the day on which humanity had used 100% of the resources that it we produce within the year. In other words by the time we reach December 31 we will have used at least 130% of what was produced in 2011.

The website admits the date is a little arbitrary but it is making a salient point about the rate at which we as human beings are using the world’s resources. It is interesting to note that this week I also heard a report that Australians hospitals are holding less than one month’s supply of many important medicines – including penicillin, of which there is already an shortage.

The “Make Wealth History” Website also has a link to help calculate your personal footprint. It calculates how many planet earths would be required to sustain everyone on the planet with a similar lifestyle to your own. For me that is 3.4 planet earths.

Of course these figures need to be taken with a grain of salt but when I consider that commandment not to covet maybe all I can say is that Paul was correct when he suggested in Romans 5 that the law was given so that sin might be revealed. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ and the promise of new life and hope in him!

May we too like Paul seek to “keep up with Jesus” and not “the Joneses”, pressing “on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14)

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