Hosea 4:10  “They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not increase, because they have deserted the LORD  to give themselves  to prostitution”

   The saying, ‘the more you have the more you want’ speaks to this condition and the upcoming season.   Barnes’ Notes states that this is true: “. . . of those who, through their own insatiate desires, are never satisfied, but crave the more greedily, the more they have”.  Not only will a ravenous desire for more be a continual torment but for all the eating, for all the striving, for all the compromise to get ahead, no headway will be made.  The  saying,  ‘the harder I work the farther behind I get, applies.  This describes the ‘rat race’ perfectly.  Do you find yourself in this situation – always wanting, always striving, never getting there?  Someone once said; “The trouble with the rat race is that when it’s over, even if you win – you’re still a rat!”

     Western society is steeped in the consumerist mentality.  Consumerism is a major driver of our economy as well as a prop for our emotional well being.  Christmas has become the epitome of everything that’s twisted in our culture.  Consumerism is ruining us and killing us – death by stuff.  Over thirty years ago, President Carter of the United States of America said;  “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.” 

    But  have we discovered that owning and consuming does not satisfy?   For Canadians, the statistics expose us to be consumerist to the core; for the month of December 2006 $28.7 billion was spent in retail stores, $1.9 billion was spent on beer, wine and liquor, and $1.5 billion was spent in sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores.  Canadian trends, contrary to what many elitists think, are but a subdued reflection of the trends of our neighbours to the south.  Certainly, President Carter’s assessment  of the way his country has gone is not all that different from our experience here.

     We have deserted the Lord.  If you don’t believe this, simply check out how many cars are parked at your local churches on Sunday and compare that to the number parked at the shopping malls on any December Sunday leading up to Christmas.  Often, I hear Christians calling for Christ to be put back in Christmas.   A wonderful idea – let us start by clearing out of the shopping malls and crowding into our churches in repentance.  Let us start by visiting the sick, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor.   Let us start by buying less for ourselves and giving more to others who need it.  And let us not do this only in December but every month of the year.  Let John 3:16 ring out for our neighbours three hundred and sixty five days of the year – sung not with pious sounding words but with actions and love for our fellow human beings.  You can never give enough of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

    Scripture tells us;  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  (Hebrews 13:5)  The tenth commandment was given to us so that we could live lives of contentment and harmony.   Consumerism is a lifestyle that goes against God’s commandment and we suffer needlessly.  Jesus said;  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)   How would the world change if  we could all manage to do this?