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by Bubba Jennings
Jesus' Death Killed the Consumer
Being a consumer is not always a bad thing. When we go to the grocery store, we are thinking about our needs. The stores also want to remind us of our wants. This is completely appropriate, but this is not how you should relate to everything.
Consumerism leads to disappointment
If all your thoughts and relationships are about your needs and wants, your life is going to be terrible. It will be a constant disappointment. Sure there will be bursts of joy when you are getting what you want. But most of the time a low-grade dissatisfaction and anger will accompany your life.
The store vs. the family
Consider your family. Imagine how you would treat your children if their existence was just to satisfy your wants and needs. How about your spouse? What quality would your relationship have if your spouse had to satiate your desires? How about your relationship to your parents? Imagine if your approval of them was only based on how you wanted them to act?
Every dissatisfaction can be traced to our consumer mindset.
Of course we can imagine this because this is often how we treat our family. Do you see it? Every dissatisfaction can be traced to our consumer mindset. Consumers are fine at the store, but don’t bring it home.
And don’t bring it in the church. Or, at least, recognize your consumer attitude in the church. A church operates more like a family than a store. If we miss this, then we will always have dissatisfaction towards those who are trying to love and help us.
Attitudes of a consumer
Here are a couple attitudes that show we are relating to our church as consumers:
- Consistently dwelling on the thought, “Is this church the right fit for me?”
- Having an attitude that says, “If the leadership would just do ______________ better, then I would be happier.”
- Comparing the offerings of your church to another church.
- Seeing things that need to be improved in your church but taking no responsibility to do anything about them yourself.
Certainly this list is not exhaustive, but hopefully you see how these attitudes can kill the benefit you could receive through the local church. All of these attitudes can work at the store, but not with your church. A local church’s benefit is not always immediate, like the marketplace, but its power is deeper and more lasting to those who approach the church like family.
God laid aside his wants—and so can we
God’s action in the world never revolves around the immediate satisfaction of wants and needs. His action is focused on reconciliation. The amazing news is the God of the Bible incurred all the cost of reconciliation himself. He paid our debt in full to restore us to his family. And when we see the God of the heavens lay aside his wants and needs to serve us, we can make the much smaller sacrifice of laying aside our own.
Intimacy through Christ
Once we are armed with this attitude, intimacy is born. Intimacy is the fruit of sacrifice. When we put away our own wants and needs and take up another’s, we echo the closeness of the Triune God. And this fullness spreads to us on the storyboard of the gospel: The Father’s will to send his son, Jesus, substituting himself for our sin and self-righteousness, and the Holy Spirit’s application of that love to the newborn family of God.