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Missing Out

Missing out I am missing out on so much.

Every day, I am bombarded with thousands of images of what I don’t have. If only I looked like this famous person or wore those shoes or had that latest tech gizmo, I would be worthwhile. In our culture of consumerism, I am what I own.

I would love to say that I rise above this mindset, but a recent trip to a large suburban mall reminded me that too often, I buy in to it.

My best friend and I perused store after store and watched other shoppers pick up items without even a glance at the price tag. We left the mall frustrated. Angry, even. I was infuriated … not because people were spending hundreds of dollars on shoes and clothes they’d forget about after summer’s end, but because I couldn’t afford those things.

This mindset is not only hitting our wallets, but taking us away from the heart of Jesus himself.

After a weekend feeling sorry for myself among the extremely wealthy, I read a humbling article by Jill Carattini. Carattini, managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, challenges us:

“In a culture dominated by consumption, the commodification of everything around us is becoming more and more of an unconscious worldview.”

My initial reaction was the familiar guilt for being consumed with the trivial. Consumed with the latest trends and styles. But then I thought, what am I missing out on when I chose to fill my life with the trivial?

When I surrender to a culture of consumerism, I lose sight of the deep cries of God.

Throughout the Bible, Christ calls us to look after the poor and widows. He offers us the opportunity to enter into His suffering and His passion for those deemed unlovable.

When I spend my money and time on pursuing things of no eternal value, I miss the heart of Jesus.

Most of the children we sponsor have only one or two outfits. One or two pairs of shoes versus my 10 or 20. Yet Jesus promises us that He is close to the material poor and that He will always provide. And one way He provides is through sponsors and donors like you.

At Compassion, we watch so many families survive on so little. Simplicity. I believe this simplicity is at the very core of the heart of Christ. Carattini asks,

“How then shall we live in a world of affluence? How are we to fight the all-pervading atmosphere of consumerism and the attitude of commodification around us? How do we learn again to see our neighbors when they have become invisible behind our mountains of stuff? There is good reason for unrelenting words against the greed that turns communities into commodities and souls into consumers.”

Our souls were created for so much more. Our souls were created to love. To laugh deeply. To get down in the muck with others and come alongside in their suffering. I do not want to miss out on the real stuff of life through the self-medication of buying more. What devastation to the kingdom of God!

Christ offers us so much more. What stops me from reaching out and taking it? I can’t help but wonder what reaching out would truly cost me.