There are so many challenges facing families today and materialism is one of the biggest. Materialism is a way of thinking that places such great importance on material possessions, that anything else takes a backseat. This can even include spiritual or intellectual pursuits. In other words, materialism is greed – just plain and simple!
Parents, have your kids ever relentlessly pressured and begged for the latest and greatest item that “all” their friends happen to have? Thanks to the world of social media, “keeping up with the Jones'” takes on a whole new meaning for both teens and adults, as we’re suddenly privy to everyone’s latest vacation, beach home addition, or brand new car. The highlight reel of just about everyone is at our fingertips. Seemingly innocent scrolling on Instagram can quickly turn into comparison, jealousy, and discontentment. To top it all off, advertisers add fuel to the fire by convincing us that every product is the gateway to true happiness.
While most of us would agree that materialism is a concern, few of us are willing to admit that at some level – MOST of us will struggle with materialism. Instead, we often rationalize it as a “concern for the family.” However, this attitude has an unfortunate way of planting dissatisfaction within the family. We see evidence of this in our economic downturns, when families, once able to buy whatever they wanted, are no longer able to buy their way into what they considered “happiness.” When the distraction of “stuff” is taken away, they’re confronted with real life, real issues, and occasionally, real dysfunction.
Jesus has a better idea: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness [as described in the Bible] and all these things shall be added unto you.” At a glance, this statement almost seems un-American in our consumerism culture. But is Jesus saying that we don’t have to work hard? Absolutely not! We are called to work (see Adam in Genesis). It’s about evaluating our priorities.
So, no – our material “stuff” isn’t bad, as long as our pursuit of and desire for it remains in check. If you’re struggling with a heart of materialism, ask God today to realign your priorities. Don’t let materialism pull your family apart; ask God to step in. Because after all, “the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)