Consumer TO Contributor

The first excerpt that follows is from the Limitless life book by Derwin L Gray. This is week four in my Bible study and this excerpt got my attention and motivated me to write this post.

Consumerism is an enemy that acts like acid. It eats away at everything it touches. Consumerism is fueled by an epidemic in America called “the Empty Self,” a term coined by psychologist Philip Cushman, PhD, of the California School of Professional Psychology.1 Our tendency for excessive consumption is fed by a void we feel, a hole that we are trying desperately to fill with stuff. Let me share with you four characteristics of “the Empty Self” from J. P. Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle.2

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Empty Self : Is Infantile
Seeks to be made happy by food, entertainment and consumer goods.

Introspection time. I thought I no longer was a consumer. Why? Well I gave up my excessive shopping habits a long time ago. The pictures above are a little insight as to where my money goes. That is where my heart is, for the rural orphaned children in my hometown (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa).

I willing give money to this project and where ever else it is needed. Friends need only tell me that they are in financial difficulties and I will help. I support my brother by paying for his studies and living expenses. As well as support my mum who is unemployed so I cover her living expenses. If I see someone on the street begging… I will open up my wallet and give. Tithing at church is never an issue, offerings and love gifts as well. My mum has to just call and tell me about someone struggling and I ask for their bank details to make a transfer. I never say no to any service that needs to be rendered at church. I stepped up and became a leader for the children’s ministry at church, delved into other areas of ministry in service to the Lord’s kingdom. All is needed is someone to approach me and ask…

I do and say all of this without pride for I believe I am a steward of The Lord, everything I have belongs to Him, the money and my abilities to serve. I used to give before but I admit it was with resentment, not anymore with Christ at the forefront of my every action in giving.

Then I consider the other empty self characteristics and I know I still carry the LABEL : CONSUMER

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Empty Self : Is Narcissistic

Esteem admiration from others…
It’s so easy to get caught up in a Social Media Networking world. Mine is Facebook. No I don’t take selfies, no I don’t post status updates often but I regularly check this application. When I do happen to post something, I enjoy the responses from my family and friends over my pictures…like of my daughter. I’m a proud mummy or when I lost 30 kilos after my pregnancy, I kept giving updates about my successes. I never thought about it now until I read this chapter from Limitless Life that this is consumer behavior and pride was rearing it’s ugly head in this form of interaction. I realize I need to stay in check about my behavior. Why? Because it’s easy to let the devil get a stronghold in this area of my life.

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Empty Self: Is individualistic

An example of individualistic behavior is people going to a church that meets their needs. Like listening to a sermon or enjoying the worship music. Nothing wrong with that but it’s only those sermons and music things that allow them to feel better. If needs are not met, they go in search of one that fulfills their needs.

I have to admit that our church is small and dynamic as it’s an English speaking church for an international crowd who desire a place to worship…and at one point our worship team became non-existent simply because people moved back home to their countries. When a new team was formed, the music was horrific, out of tune and they kept making mistakes. Instead of being thankful for the people stepping up to volunteer to get something going, here I was being critical and cringed at every mistake made. Instead of encouraging I was belittling. Thankfully I realized this and started changing my attitude for it’s all about The Lord. Once you start becoming grateful and thanking the team for their efforts, they invest more time and effort in practicing.

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Empty Selves : Are Passive

An excerpt from Limitless Life :
People with the empty self are fixed on living their lives through the risks, challenges, and adventures of others. Perhaps this is why reality shows have taken off in popularity in recent years. The empty self is passive in the sense that he or she would rather do nothing and let life zip right by than to actually participate in life in a meaningful way.

I am not into television, I watch just one program, a cooking show every evening at 7pm. But I fallen short here too, on certain occasions where I get so involved in a show or tv series, that I follow it and get caught up in it all. Like the talent shows. Never thought about it till I read this, I hero worship people and make them idols. Ironic that one of the shows actually are labelled with the word idol. I’m referring to the “American Idol” Real eye opener for me.

To end this post, this final excerpt is appropriate.
When you signed up to follow Jesus, He branded your soul with a new label: “Contributor.” This is who you are in Christ. This is your new identity. It’s now time to walk in your divine birthright.

Praying that all in Christ will walk in this divine birthright.

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18 thoughts on “Consumer TO Contributor

  1. This is a great lesson, Sabrina! I was an Empty Self for far more years than I care to admit. It has taken a long time to shake those habits. Some, unfortunately, still show up occasionally. Thank you for these wonderful, meaningful reminders of areas to watch out for.

    • We are all empty selves till we let Christ into our lives. The age in which we live has all sorts of disguises. I guess I would be oblivious to it, if it was not for this study. We are a work in progress and God knows that already…we just need to walk in our divine birth right now. What’s lovely about this, is we are not made to feel ashamed of our habits, we are just convicted of it and work at it! Blessings!

  2. Really enjoyed your words! I am much more consumer than contributor and I am not proud of that fact at all. As I was reading the characteristics of both I was a bit shocked and very saddened to have to admit it to myself. Now that I am more aware of myself I am determined to be a contributor from this day forward. Thanks Sabrina.

    • We are all consumers. Big sin, small sin…sin is sin right? Likewise much more, little less here and there does not make much of a difference actually. God is just convicting us through this study…we need not be ashamed, saddened or shocked…there is no shocks with God. We will never reach perfection, not in this lifetime, all we can do is attempt to improve…with His help and guidance. Glad we know we are trophies already before Derwin hit us with this chapter 😉 and grace covered…now we just need to walk in our divine birthright, stumbling, falling but always picking ourselves up and moving forward. Blessings as you move into contributor material!

  3. I was very inspired reading your blog…wow I have a long way to go, but at least at the awareness level and started curbing my excessive spending. One question I have for you that I was pondering over…you mentioned “all it takes is for someone to ask”…I am wondering in my situation if I would need to offer as opposed to waiting for someone to ask

    • I often just listen first, especially with my friends. I pray with them , encourage them and then give. Praying is good, encouragement is good but then you are led by the Holy Spirit to give. Other times, I hear about a struggle through a friend or my mum and then give. I noticed when giving, I always have enough, I never run out. I don’t budget and I don’t think about it.

      When it comes to duties in the church, I wait to be asked, especially leadership roles. You need to be nominated, even Christ waited for His appointed time.

      Pray that you walk in your divine birth right too. We all have a long way to go! We will never be perfect but we can strive to be. Stay blessed!

  4. I wrote this beautiful comment but it was erased cuz I couldn’t remember my password-of well things happen for a reason and I have one now that I can remember easier 🙂
    Putting that aside, I wanted to thank you for your post and allowing God to use you to show us to look deeper and to allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit to grow us in new ways, fit for the King’s use and the King’s glory 🙂 moving from CONSUMER to CONTRIBUTOR 🙂

    • Amen! Yes, everything happens for a reason. I believe your comment was beautiful and encouragjng, just like this one. Blessings as you walk in your divine birthright to become a contributor!

  5. Sabrina I love, love your thoughts on consumerism and contributing and your precious heart – so giving. I find myself in those shoes too helping others and I have a beautiful compassion child in Shri Lanka. Like you, I was able to give up most of my consumerism, especially after I retired, but like you I can get caught up in facebook. I made a commitment that anything I do on facebook will honor my Father so I don’t get caught up with things that don’t. That was the part of the chapter that pricked my heart this week. You did a beautiful job sharing all of it and explaining it so anyone can understand and I love, love, love all your illustrations. Thanks for sharing your beautiful, compassionate heart. Debbie W. (Proverbs Ministries OBS Team)

    • It’s lovely being a contributor…and what a blessing to support a little child and yet it’s scary to think we fall short in other areas. This study teaches us…we are a work in progress…take care and be blessed!

  6. I really appreciate your thoughts, Sabrina. You really caused me to think about social media. I am always careful about what I post–to make sure it would not bring dishonor to God or my family. However, I realized that I do look forward to how many “likes” or “comments.” God showed me that can be a source of pride in my life if I allow it. Many blessings to you and thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by and glad you see the social media like I do now. The Holy Spirit, keeps revealing stuff to us, so glad we joined up for this study. Much blessings!

  7. Beautiful!!! I’ve really felt convicted regarding being a consumer! Praise God for His love and His forgiveness! Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh yes, we are blessed aren’t we…forgiven for our behavior long before we were conceived…all nailed to the cross. What love the Savior has displayed. Glad you were convicted like I was. Blessings!

  8. I must admit that being a consumer never fulfilled me. I always felt like I was literally burning myself out trying to get get get and I wasn’t spending enough time just being who God created me to be. End result= frustrated, empty and still lagging in progress. I rejoice that I gave up that life of consuming and being so self-centered. I want to give more of my talents and in a meaningful way. God wants to use me in a mighty way and I want to glorify Him. I have so much to share with the world about His goodness toward me, Because this is what I was created for.

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