Putting “things” in perspective

Dave Beaudoin / Seventh-day Adventist Church

I have to confess, I like junk mail.

One of my favorite days of the week is Wednesday when the Ponoka News arrives chockfull of vivid, multicolored flyers that tickle my perpetually unsatisfied nature for the latest hightech gizmo gadgetry thingy available today. Fortunately my financial limitations and a good sense restrain me from falling into the clutches of any type of compulsive buying disorder.

However that is not the case for many others. As many as 30 million North Americans suffer from a modern mental phenomenon known as oniomania (O-nee-uh-MAY-nee-uh); a condition that describes someone who cannot stop shopping and buying.

Part of the problem is we live in a world of things. Today the sheer amount of stuff to buy in our culture of hyper-consumption is staggering. In the 1970s a typical supermarket shelved approximately 9,000 things to buy. Today supermarket shelves are crammed with more than 30,000 items to buy. And that’s just the supermarkets.

We are bombarded with clever marketing techniques to get us to believe that an “upgrade” is the only way to true satisfaction and happiness. Yet if I have learned anything in my short life, it is that all the IPhones, laptops, flat screen TVs, digital cameras and thingamajigs don’t answer the deepest needs of the heart.

The things of real lasting value are not things that require a new lithium battery every three years or that can be put on a credit card like the myriad consumer electronics and household items. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”.

In other words, the things that are really important in life are moral excellence, integrity, a practical understanding of God’s ways and plans, self-control, perseverance under adversity, reverence toward God, and true Christian affection for the good of others. These are the things we should be thinking about and putting on our want list this coming Christmas.

God wants us to have purpose in life — but He wants us to have His purpose. That doesn’t mean we can’t live a comfortable life, as long as material things do not eclipse eternal things. The Bible says the things God promises are spiritual peace, and eventually a heavenly home, not the passing things of this world.

Do you long for a big beautiful home to rest in? Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Only Jesus can offer us a true place of quiet rest.

Do you crave recognition in this world? Jesus said, “The one who comes to Me, I will never reject.” You may suffer divorce, separation and rejection in this world, but God will never reject you.

Do you yearn for permanence in your life? Jesus said, “Whosoever believes in Me will not perish, but have eternal life.” Keep close to Jesus. Believe and trust in Him and you will ultimately receive a life that measures with Gods.