“Little children – keep yourselves from idols.” So the apostle John ends his first letter to the early church. (1 John 5:21) I don’t think he was warning against Caesar dolls! Interior idols and the cult of ‘Things’ is the ever-present danger. Whenever we look to something other than God for our meaning or security – we become idolaters.
Imagine a community of people unattached to their stuff? Living creatively, responsibly, generously in the world so that everyone can see the living God?
Jesus would call it ‘Church!’
I’d like to re-post something from a few years ago on the dangers of modern idolatry.
Consumerism has been called “The Cult of the Next Thing.” The essay by Mark Buchanon and is available here. In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus calls us to check our hearts and our eyes as it relates to possessions and Kingdom priorities . If Money is one of the idols – or gods of this world, then Jesus wants us (in the words of Dale Bruner in his commentary on Matthew) to become the real atheists to the secular gods of consumerism, successism, pride in possessions, self-serving, overspending, and indifference to needs…”
The antidote to terminal consumerism is generosity: both the tithe principle of regular, planned giving and offerings of what we have that come from a heart of compassion in the face of urgent needs.
Randy Alcorn has a voluminous website with a section on Money that is well worth checking out. As with any author, we may not agree with every emphasis, but Alcorn covers the questions thoroughly and with a heart of Christ-centeredness. Alcorns books, The Treasure Principle, and especially Money, Possessions, and Eternity are excellent. Much of their content is on the website in the form of articles or downloads.