Are We Being Consumed By Consumerism?

I remember last year when my wife Brittney and I just happened to stumble into the Black Friday left overs. The grandparents were watching the kids and we were headed out to dinner while on vacation to enjoy the rare kid free moment to ourselves. 

The restaurant we went to was right next to an outlet mall and we decided we’d walk the outlet mall after dinner. We’d completely forgot it was Black Friday. We were in vacation mode and it just wasn’t on our mind. 

The sun was going down as we came up to the parking lot, and it was nearly full, but you could tell the rush was over. The residue of chaos lingered in each store we entered and the items left on shelves were all kinds of disorganized. 

I was resolved not to buy anything and then I saw them. A sweet pair of kicks. The shoes were my size and only $25. I contemplated for a good 20 minutes on whether or not to get them. Am I participating in the greedy capitalism machine by making a Black Friday purchase? Will I get these shoes someday anyway and just pay about 4 times as much? 

I had all kinds of questions. 

But seriously, I was conflicted. I eventually made the purchase. But I didn’t have that feeling I had in the past when I participated fully in Black Friday. A feeling I think Macklemore describes well in his song Wings with lyrics like, “My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it.” And likely the most haunting line, “Consumption is in the veins.” 

If we are all honest with ourselves we’ve likely had a consumption in the veins kind of moment a few times in our lives. I find that with the onslaught of stuff coming our way on days like today, when Black Friday has turned into 6pm on Thanksgiving because consumerism is so much in our veins we will sacrifice our time with our families for that deal, for that rush. And I’m preaching to myself, I’m just as susceptible to the drug of more, or a good deal. All of us are at risk of being consumed by consumerism. 

Maybe it is good to go get the deals late Thursday and early Friday, and even the left overs late Friday night. I don’t know. I do know that as we pillage the sales this holiday season we are in deeper risk of having our souls pillaged. As we seek our material gain we are more likely to look less human and care less for our fellow human. 

So may you pillage the deals as your conscience allows over these next few days. But beware, and be on guard, that your spirit isn’t pillaged in the process. Or as Jesus said it, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

May you resist the lie that your life exists in the abundance of deals provided over these next few days. 

And may you remember that thankfulness is the posture we are called to in this season, so find ways to grow in gratitude and share that reality with others.