God wired me to want stuff. How did God screw this up?

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It’s that time of year.  This kids make Christmas lists, and the spouses start with their not-so-subtle hinting.  It’s time to get some STUFF!  But good Christians aren’t supposed to like “stuff” so we feel bad about it.  I’m writing to today to tell that that it’s okay to want stuff.  The only problem is that you’ve been settling for junk.  You need to start chasing after the really good stuff.

Did God mess up when He created us?  If God created us, then our natural desire to accumulate STUFF comes from God?  Right? But this goes against everything we hear in sermons every week.  Every week our pastors tell us to stop wanting stuff and start helping the world.  Well I’m here to make a radical proposal: Our desire for stuff is exactly the fuel we need to change the world.

We get bombarded constantly with images of stuff to buy.  It will make you happy.  It will save your marriage.  It will impress the neighbors.  It will make you comfortable.  And we are conditioned from a very early age to associate happiness with accumulating this stuff.

Then we read the Bible and realize that being a good Christian seems to mean throwing this all away and agreeing to suffer.  Like… all the time.  Paul wrote many of his letters from prison, after all.  So now I’m sort of irritated that God built into me this desire for stuff.  Thanks a lot God.  Wire me up to be “A” and tell me I’m supposed to be “B” instead.  Not cool.

Or perhaps it IS okay to like stuff.  Take a look at those letters Paul wrote from prison.  He’s happy!  He is getting “stuff” and he’s thrilled about it.  These letters are celebrations of some seriously amazing stuff that Paul has found through Christ.  God wired us to want a nice, new, shiny silver dollar.  But the world has convinced us to settle for a beat up penny.  So we collect pennies over and over and over again.  Piling them up.  But the math never works.  A thousand old beat up pennies never seem to add up to that silver dollar God wired us to want.  That silver dollar is a life dedicated to serving Him.  All of a sudden, the big screen TV, the concert tickets, the new car, the corner office, all seem like a waste of time.  Looking into the eyes of a person you just brought to Christ, or the child you just fed, or the abused spouse you just protected… ahhhhhh…  that’s the shiny silver dollar.  The prize we are wired to want, but that we’ve forgotten even exists.  That’s the good stuff, for sure.  And I want it.

So let’s stop beating ourselves up over wanting “stuff.”  You’re supposed to want stuff!  Let’s quit chasing the junk life puts in front of us as a means to satisfy our inner desire for stuff.  Let’s quit chasing the pennies.  Yes, I want stuff.  The good stuff.  I want that shiny silver dollar God wired me to chase after.  I want to dedicate my life to serving Him and collecting as much of the good stuff as I can get my hands on.

We were built to be heroes.  It’s about time we started acting like heroes.

Photo credit: hynkle / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
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