We live in a society that tries to convince us that we can find lasting fulfillment in having the best stuff. Our smartphones need to be faster, thinner, and look cooler; our food more healthy and trendy; and our houses larger and newer. Regardless of the item, our minds are trained that what we currently have isn’t good enough. We need better – we need the best. If we just had the best, we would be happy.
An Example from My Life
Eight months ago I set out to complete the simple task of purchasing a baby monitor. However, when I began do some research, I discovered that there were a thousand options, and my daughter needed to have the best. After perusing various websites, talking with friends, and reading through at least 50 reviews, I finally decided on a model that was on sale at Target. I was pleased with my purchase until a few days later when I received an email from Amazon informing me of a monitor that was even better. Even though the Target one was good enough just a few days before, it was no longer the best, so I returned it. Several months later, I see how silly this whole process was. I could have simply picked one of the thousand baby monitors that would have gotten the job done just fine. I didn’t need the best.
The Love of Stuff Leads us Away from God
In 1 Timothy 6:10, the Apostle Paul writes, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Not only does this apply to money, but also to stuff. When we look to material items for fulfilment we are simultaneously wandering away from God.
“Thank You” and “Enough”
In his article, “Trapped in the Cult of the Next Thing,” Mark Buchanan suggests a very interesting idea. He contends that our culture’s problem is not that we value things too much, but rather that we value them too little. If we truly valued what we already have, then we’d be much less concerned about needing “the best.” Two short sayings that Buchanan uses to remain content and fight against consumerism are: “thank you” and “enough.” When we thank God for what we already have, we begin to realize that better stuff is not what is going to bring more joy to our lives. And when we begin to believe that what we have is enough, then we are likely to feel less of a need for more.
What about you? Do you take more time thanking God for what you have or thinking about the things that you wish you had? Even though our society does everything in its power to convince us otherwise, it’s my experience that always getting the best does not bring lasting fulfillment.