If you watch the news, you begin to see, in our society, how people are often considered as mere consumers. Many of our success metrics are based on consumerism: Consumer Spending, Consumer Confidence, Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales, Manufacturing, etc.
If you turn on social media, you begin to see the same thing—especially today on Black Friday. For the past month, we have been treated to a never-ending onslaught of commercials and advertisements promising this store’s Black Friday sale is the best. Or the item on sale at that business is the one that will result in the most smiling faces on Christmas morning.
If you open your mailbox (digital or physical), again you are told that you are a consumer first and foremost. You are offered credit cards and mortgage approvals and coupons and junk mail fliers from countless local and not-so-local businesses.
Even around our own dinner tables, we treat each other as consumers. At Thanksgiving, the conversation quickly moves from gratitude to shopping: What item will you be purchasing on Black Friday this year? What are you hoping to get for Christmas? What are you buying for your daughter? Do you know what so-and-so just bought? What is the hot new toy this holiday season?
But I want to remind you today:
You are more than a consumer.
Consumerism does not need to define your life. You are so much more than that:
You are a human being who is designed for significance and meaning. Maybe you desire adventure and travel… or maybe you prefer a quiet evening at home. You will search for joy in different places, but you are designed to discover it.
You are a husband or wife faithful and committed to your partner, doing your best to create a loving, safe family and home.
You are a mother or father involved in your child’s life, wanting only the best for them. Or maybe you are a grandparent enjoying this season of life more than you ever thought possible.
You are a creative who desires to paint, write, knit, sculpt, or invent. When you do, you spread joy to those around you.
You are passionate about your work. Maybe you are a schoolteacher, a janitor, a banker, a dentist, or a policeman. In any regard, you use your talents and passions to serve others every day.
You are involved in nonprofit work. You are passionate about orphaned children, education, the environment, your faith, or animals in need. You volunteer, you give, and you make the world a better place because of it.
You are a trusted friend. People share their lives with you… and you with them. You are the first phone call when someone is in need and the first to show up when an emergency has occurred.
You are a college student trying to make sense of your next step in the world. You are learning as much as you can right now about the world around you so you can make the biggest difference in it going forward.
You are a vital part of your community. You help at your daughter’s school, you volunteer at your church, you coach your son’s baseball team, or you help organize your neighborhood picnic every Spring.
In every imaginable way, you are more than a consumer!
Over the next several weeks, marketers (and even society) will try to convince you to become a consumer once again. They know you are more than that, but they will return to all the old messaging yet again.
Want to be a loved mother this Christmas? Buy this toy!
Want to be a great husband this year? Buy this gift!
Want to be grandmother of the year? You can get the greatest number of toys at our store!
Want to be a good friend? Buy this pre-packaged gift set!
Want the perfect Christmas morning? Make sure you spend enough money to achieve it!
Want to find true joy? It’s on sale here… and 50% off today!
Don’t fall into their trappings and false truths. You are so much more than a consumer. That is not how your life will be measured.
You are flesh and blood and soul and heart. Your greatest desires and dreams will never be found at a department store.
You don’t need more physical possessions to be the best you that you can possibly be. In fact, you probably need less.
To be the best dad, wife, friend, grandmother, community member… human being… that you can possibly be, remember that you were designed for greater pursuits than consumerism. And then have the courage to craft a life around those pursuits—regardless of how society seeks to define you.