So many of us live life as if we know it all or own it all – or at least we think we do. Day after day goes by, and we stress over and over about how to keep what we think we own – from the new Volvo in the parking lot, to the food on our plate.
As a former consumer packaging designer, I have often wondered what God thinks of consumerism. Little did I know that Amos held the answer to that question. In Amos 1:6-8, God pronounces a judgement over the Philistine Pentopolis, five cities that worked together to establish one of the most sturdy trade districts in the ancient world. Much of what God alludes to in this passage is how consumerism breeds strife and oppresses and humiliates others by constantly forcing them to partake in the ongoing debate about the value of products – which one is best, which to avoid, and the battle for brand loyalty.
The root of this issue in life is the self-perpetuating lie of ownership. In order to sell something, you must believe that you own it. But that is not the truth, and with that we find ourselves quickly in an oppressive society where greed and lust dominate, and we claim ownership to things we do not own – including each other.
I have come to know firsthand, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), that I own and have control over nothing. My dependency on God is absolute. There is not a stitch of clothing on my back, or a morsel of food on my plate that I can attest is really mine.
So many of us forget as well, that when we give our lives to Christ, that is exactly what we have done. Our lives are no longer our own. He “bought” or should I say “redeemed” us from death by dying on the cross. That comes with a price of knowing the Truth – part of that truth being that we own nothing. As God says in Psalm 50:12, “the world is mine, and all it contains.” I highly suspect this was what Christ was alluding to when he spoke to his disciples of “counting the cost” before you give yourself to Him.
Along with this realization, however, comes incredible gratitude. I think of all God has provided me, and how He has continued to sustain me in some of the roughest lessons and most sinful circumstances of my life. I am blessed to be alive, for even my body and my spirit are no longer mine – they are Christ’s. Glory be to God.