Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ode to Stuff

My daughters and I went to Wal*Mart today. I find it incredibly overwhelming, especially after being overseas even if only for a few short months. Now, don't misunderstand me. Since coming back we have definitely enjoyed many things about this culture and the ready access to so many different products, foods, and amenities. But we had also gotten used to a simpler lifestyle, and the massive display of materialism at Wal*Mart is hard for us to handle. I enjoy capitalism as much as the next conservative, but so much of what is available in this country is a) unnecessary, and b) way too expensive. Are all of these things really needed? How have the advertisement agencies succeeded in convincing Americans that they need all this STUFF? What would our Indian friends think of such a place? How can we stand to hear all the kids whining about stuff they want their parents to buy them?

After today's trip I was inspired to write a satire--sing it to the tune of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Plaintive, whining, we implore You
Give us what we want today.
We will evermore adore You
If You do just what we say.
Give us toys and cars and new stuff,
Give us all that we desire.
It will never be quite enough,
Of new things we'll never tire.

I'm sure none of us have ever actually prayed these words, but the sentiment may have been there. How often do we ask God for THINGS? Or, if we don't come right out and ask, how much of our time is spent worrying about/thinking about/wishing for stuff that we think might make our lives happier or easier? I'm not pointing any fingers here; rather, I'm reflecting on my own desires and wants. When I start to think about things that "it would be nice to have" the Lord brings to my mind people that we saw in India living on the streets. How blessed I am to have so many nice things! Our family constantly sees God meeting our needs and many of our wants. I am convicted by God's Word:

Hebrews 13:5 says "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." "

Will I ever be able to truly say that He is all I need?


Nick Kennicott said...

Alice, wonderful thoughts! I always get "up in a tizzy" over materialism... it drives me nuts, and is even worse when I realize I'm sucked into it. Like you, I've seen real poverty in other parts of the world, making the concerns and wants of the typical American a very sad state of affairs. I think this is one of the critical roadblocks to revival. We're all so wrapped up in stuff that we forget to slow down and get our focus on Christ.

Alice C. said...

Thanks, Nick. To your thoughts I would add that the church is not growing in this country where people are cosseted and comfy, whereas in countries where the believers are literally relying on the Lord to meet their most basic needs, church planting movements are proliferating. Could there be a connection? Hmmm...

Ken & Judy Davis said...

Alice, you are so right! Thank you for helping to remind us first, of the blessings that we DO have in this country that we take for granted, but second, that life once was much simpler. While technology is making connections with people much faster and better, it is perpetuating a snowball of "wants" that I fear we will never get away from.

Please know that we are continuing to pray for your precious family! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and your heart.

A-8 said...

May I use your satire-song? I found it to be both humorous and convicting.

Also, I have relayed your prayer need to my church...we will lift you up, sister.

Alice C. said...

a-8: I don't have it copyrighted or anything, so I guess you can use it. I don't want people to think I'm making fun of that particular song--I'm most definitely not! That was just the tune that came to mind at the time, and Ode to Stuff seemed to fit as a title.

Thanks for your prayers.

Isabel said...

I remember seeing a magazine while I was overseas and one or two pictures struck me incredibly. They were of stores, and my jaw probably literally dropped at the opulence. It wasn't Sak's, or Neiman Marcus (sp?) or wherever is considered for the rich; it was JC Penney's. I had become so used to simplicty and seeing poverty that just seeing the picture had me dumbstruck.

We're not just bloated with materialism here, either. I saw a KP Yohannan message last night and he chided us for the more and more teaching that we pour on ourselves while literally millions in other countries have never even had and possibly not even seen a page of the Bible.

This is getting too long. I s'pose I should continue on my own blog...