My two year old has recently discovered Veggie Tales! This has led to some interesting times around the house, and a lot of humorous times as well. Her favorite at this point is Madame Blueberry, the story of a woman(?) who has all she needs, but is not content. So she goes to the Stuff Mart to attempt to buy happiness, only to discover that with all they have, they cannot sell her a “happy heart.” This all, despite the fact that she was told “Happiness waits at the Stuff Mart.”
The story is, of course, geared at being content with what we have, and not being greedy for more. Happiness comes from inside, not from outside.
As I was watching this with my daughter, I was struck by the fact that here is a lesson every Christian needs to learn, not just about life, but about church. Churches have become so commercialized that the real question when looking for a new church is often “what can they give me,” as opposed to “what can I give.” I know, I know, churches need to fulfill needs, but what is a need? Is it new carpet, more comfortable seats (our church just redid our pews!) or better availability in childcare?
I’m not saying these things aren’t nice, or even necessary in some occasions, but the fact is that we have become far too worried about people finding happiness than we are with people finding God. That is, after all, what church is supposed to be about, right?
I recently read “Fool’s Gold,” which was edited by John MacArthur. There were some good things in the book. One chapter in it was titled “Choking on Choices: Combating Consumerism with a Biblical Mind-Set.” In it Kurt Gebhards said this;
“Instead of shopping for a church that fits our criteria, our desire, as God’s servants, should be to find a ministry that meets His standards. The question should not be, ‘Are my expectations met?” but rather, ‘Are God’s expectations met?” In spite of the market-driven culture around us, we should work hard to root out the self-centered perspective that American materialism breeds. Ultimately we must each as ourselves, ‘As we come to God’s house, what weighs more heavily on our hearts—His expectations for sacrificial service and worship, or our own expectations for personal fulfillment?’”
We in America, and much of the Western world, need to take the time to examine our motivations for life; whether we’re talking about our walk with God, how we view church, our relationships, our jobs, and a bunch of other things. What a blessing it would be if we would all take some simple lessons from a kids cartoon to heart, learning to thank God for what we have, and not look out so much for our own desires, but to please God by loving others and living lives of worship.