Combating Consumerism

As I sat eating lunch at Subway today, my view outside reminded me how much we have come to depend on the services that are provided to us. Restaurants of all types compete to feed us tasty meals. Doctors want to improve our health, while gas stations keep our cars running. Where would we be without sanitation engineers, bankers, barbers, and dry cleaners? All of these vie for our business, and if our expectations are not met, we will take our dollars to someone else.

I recognize that in some ways the church occupies its own consumer niche. The local church provides biblical education and skill development. Its staff offers counseling in times of uncertainty and support in times of grief. It partners with parents in providing youth programs and with senior citizens in establishing retirement programs. If the consumer is pleased, he stays and tells others what great blessings his church offers. If he is dissatisfied, he complains and moves on to a church that claims to offer more.

It seems to me that our involvement in the local church should exist at a different level than a store or business. The kingdom of God should transcend the fickle consumer mindset of “what am I getting out of this?” Membership in the church is a privilege, and participation is a responsibility. We are active workers not passive customers.

Long before John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country,” Jesus had stated the same principle for His disciples. Of His own mission He said, “I came not to be served but to serve and to give my life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28). Paul quoted Jesus as having said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 10:35). Within our congregations, let’s be committed to give more than we take!

Don Loftis
Calvert City church of Christ
Calvert City, KY

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