May 13, 2011
I had the privilege of sitting in with Jeff Voth when he shared his testimony with Context with Lorna Dueck. His story is an incredible allegory of a luxury car salesman who was driven to bank robbery by the pressure to keep up with the Joneses.
It left me feeling convicted, for sure. What is it about material possessions that drive us to pursue them at the expense of our own peace and happiness? Why do expensive clothes, a sports car, designer heels or a bigger home feel like needs? How can they drive us to risk everything just to get more?
Jeff said pride. I think we too often believe the lie that they make us who we are.
Edward Bernays is considered the father of public relations. A revolutionary in his day, he catapulted 1920 America to into a consumerist economy by convincing people that their choice of products helped define who they are. We take that idea for granted now, but it was carefully planted in us by manufacturers whose products had reached market saturation and needed people to continue buying after acquiring the necessities.
I believe that our attitudes define us, more than anything else. My attitude is inspired by my relationship with God. Accordingly, when I take my eyes off my pursuit of him, I find myself steering towards the flashy attractions on the side of the road – like money and all the beauty and prestige it can buy. I’ve never robbed a bank, but when I focus on the pursuit of shiny things, I've robbed myself of the fullness that life in God can bring.
Stephanie Sprenger is a production assistant for Context with Lorna Dueck
I do not watch much TV for this very reason. I am very picky about what I do watch. I buy what I need, to live reasonably, not richly. I don't have a lot of stuff and I sometimes see garages packed, not with cars, but with things people never use, amazing sometimes. Lots and I mean LOTS of excess money can alter peoples attitudes for the worse, but there are those who have made their millions and give back in so many ways to the community at large. Thank God for them.
May 25, 2011 | Phil Cockroft