Consumerism: The Modern-Day Serpent

john“Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made…the snake said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.’” -Genesis 3:1-5

One of the most recognizable Bible stories is that of Adam and Eve.  Through many artistic interpretations, we’ve seen the devil’s trickery and deception as he transformed himself into the serpent who tempted Eve.  In the same way, Satan transforms himself into a modern-day serpent and slithers his way into our lives, under the guise of consumerism.

In America, we are perpetually bombarded by the notion that the possessions we have aren’t enough.  We have a constant desire to get the latest laptop, the newest phone model, the hottest designer fashions.  We’re constantly in competition with the Joneses.  Larry Burkett once said that we spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need in order to impress people who don’t care.  That sneaky serpent of selfishness is constantly whispering in our ear, “You deserve it…Go ahead…Buy it.”

While Adam and Eve committed a sin by not obeying God, their sin was also a failure in gratitude.  Instead of thanking God for all the blessings they had in the Garden of Eden, they took something that did not belong to them – they succumbed to the temptation to take more than God provided.

We often fall prey to that same temptation to want more than we have.  However, our Catholic perspectives on money and possessions help us to understand that God gives us exactly what we NEED but not everything we WANT.

When Jesus faced the devil in the desert, he held steady:

The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4

During this Lenten season, it is important to understand and appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice when he fasted in the desert, and to do our best to emulate his actions.  Through stewardship and Catholic perspectives on money and possessions, we can walk away from the temptation to take what God does not want us to have. We can find the strength we need to avoid reckless and rash spending habits.

This Lent, follow Jesus’ precedent and say, “Get away, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10)  Plan your finances according to God’s will and be content and grateful for the blessings he has given to you.

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