Chances are pretty good that you were one of the 226 million shoppers who swarmed stores over the weekend. The number of shoppers increased by 14 million from last year (National Retail Federation). It’s simply astonishing to think about this many people roaming around for good shopping deals. But what is more surprising about this whole situation is the amount of money that was spent. From Thursday through Sunday, people spent a record setting $52.4 billion. Despite our rough economy, this is a 16% increase from last year (National Retail Federation).
Among many things, this should serve as a reminder to us about what our culture is focused on. It’s focused on having “stuff.” Having the newest phone, TV, computer, iPad, toy, game, etc. It’s impossible for $52.4 billion to be spent without materialism being a factor.
The culture in Bible times is completely different from today. They didn’t have the interesting gadgets, gismos, and possessions that we do today, and yet they were given many stern warnings about materialism. Surely we need the warnings today even more than they did then.
Let’s not forget that money and materialism can take us away from the Lord. This is exactly what Christ was talking about in the parable of the sower. He said, “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Materialism take people away from Christ. Let’s also not forget 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with much grief.”
It’s certainly not wrong to go buy a gift for someone or go buy something for ourselves. But let’s keep in mind that materialism is literally tempting us in almost every ad, every commercial, every sign, and every store. Let’s just remember to keep God first, and certainly everything else, especially money and materialism, will fall into their proper places.