American culture is designed for the consumer. When I was young and we purchased something called “record albums” they usually contained three good songs, two mediocre songs and then a couple of stinkers. You bought them all and you listened to them all, but not now! Now we buy only the songs we like and we design Internet radio stations that only plays music we like. I enjoy living in a world without the Bee Gees, Justin Bieber or anything disco. I’m a consumer, they need my business, so I am in charge! We don’t do business with those who don’t please us.
That attitude may be fine in the business world but when we carry that attitude over into our faith, into the way we follow Jesus and the way we participate in church, it is devastating. If you walk into a church thinking that they need your business and your money and so they better please you and give you what you want or else we’ll take your business elsewhere, you have fallen into Christian consumerism.
You might be a Christian consumer if;
– Your relationships with other Jesus followers are superficial.
– If you think this sermon is directed at everyone else except you.
– If you criticize the church service at lunch like a movie critic picks apart movies.
– If you don’t give or you’ve withheld your giving because you did like what someone else did.
– If you’ve ditched church because you didn’t feel like going.
– If the highest spiritual authority in your life is you and what you think.
– If you regularly say “no” to opportunities to serve without even praying about it.
When you treat your faith and your church like a cell phone plan – always ready to jump ship for newer and cheaper technology – you are infected with the deadly virus of Christian consumerism.
Here’s what Jesus said: Matthew 10:43 Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus does not call you into consumership but into discipleship. Disciples serve. Disciples give. Disciples love. Disciples go second. Disciples put others ahead of themselves. Disciples give their life for a bigger cause than their own comfort. Disciples suffer.
Mother Theresa rose to great heights even to the place where she addressed the president of the United States. How did she get to those heights? By going low and by giving her life. One of the biggest growth spurts that you’ll ever have in your faith is when you realize that Jesus is not here to simply serve you, but you are here to serve Jesus. It will be when you realize that the church is not here to simply serve you, but you are here to serve the church. But oh how consumers loathe that idea.