Apple & Consumerism

I love Apple products. When I was in high school I got the iPod Mini in silver and was stoked on my 4 GB of storage. Green Day and Nirvana instantly consumed about a quarter of my hard-drive. My angst teen punk-rock phase was given the mobility of Apple's slick interface and I was hooked. A couple years later the iPod video came out and I HAD to buy it. You know, to watch all those videos that 16 year-olds have before social media really became a thing. 

I've followed that trend a little bit into adult-hood. I had an iPhone 3 and after two years upgraded to the 4s and after (almost) two years did an early upgrade to the 5s when my old phone started to feel obsolete. I love Apple products. Having said that, every product release they do and every time I see crews of people lining up to be the "first owners of the new product" - or even every Black Friday - I am reminded of something.

We feel inadequate. 

Their sleek and sexy "made in California" packaging reminds us that we feel like we are lacking something. It creates an insta-itch that we just have to scratch by plunking down hundreds of dollars to keep up with the latest and greatest. As soon as we see the screen size, speed, and appeal of the newest product our old stuff just feels like old news.

So we buy. All in a desire to feel full. All in a desire to feel complete. 

All in a desire to feel whole. 

We are so quick to invest in earthly treasures. We fight through crowds and lines on Black Friday to participate in the consumerist cycle of the concrete jungle. When are we going out and serving with that same tenacity? When are we investing in something eternal? One of my biggest fears for anyone - especially myself - would be to grow old with a closet full of clothes I don't wear and shoes that are half-worn. 

Scripture“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." Matthew 6:19-21

I love that Christ fills us. The empty condition of our hearts pushes us to fill it with stuff. Yet when we place our treasure in the kingdom, when we place our treasure in the things of God, everything about the desires of our hearts changes. It doesn't make owning things bad. It just shifts the motivation for why you own what you own. I'm on the journey towards that. I still love me a new phone or pair of shoes as much as the next person but its no longer a need. I love that Christ invades our hearts; it makes it so much easier to pour out His love rather than pour in new stuff we buy at the mall.

Followup: I love issuing follow-ups. It gives me a layer of accountability to do the things I'm writing about. So, this year what if we gave homemade gifts to each other? I challenge you to a homemade gift challenge. If you're not the most crafty person in the world, give people fudge! If you can't bake then invest your money in gifts purchased from a locally-made craft fair, such as Roots of Giving on Friday December, 5th at PLNU. Also check out ideas that will help you re-advent Christmas this year. Our church has a great re-adventing guide I would love to put in your hands and talk about ways to use it. 

Be thankful in this season. We are blessed with much. We don't need more stuff to be more blessed or thankful. 

Jeremy SchultheissComment