20150521FBCTH & 20150524FBCPM
The Ten Commandments are commandments that any society needs to have in place in order to be a stable and successful nation. Even an unbeliever could agree with the last six—honor parents to promote respect for authority and strong families; don’t commit adultery to maintain stable marriages that raise healthy, well-adjusted children; don’t murder; don’t steal; don’t bear false witness. All of these promote good relationships between people that help a nation stay strong.
We’ve noted with regret how our society is moving away from these things—abortion, divorce, broken families, euthanasia, and more, all rip away at the fabric of these foundational principles.
In addition to those, materialism and the demand for individual rights, tear at the tenth commandment, which forbids coveting. Each year, more and more luxury items become essential needs to people.
Consider the cell phone, for example. Only thirty years ago we would drive any distance in any weather without one and never thought anything of it. Now, we can’t imagine going anywhere without it. Many people don’t even put the thing away—it’s always in their hand, waiting for the next text.
Fifteen years ago, no one dreamed that their children would need a cellphone until they were adults. Now? I watch out my office window as the children go home from school, and many have the cellphone out—texting, playing games, and somehow, walking. Parents say how great it is to always been in contact with their children, how it makes them safer.
How did these wants and luxuries turn into needs and necessities? Because the companies who make them know how to appeal to our base nature—humans naturally, sinfully, covet things.
We start small—just watch toddlers at play—and continue on all our lives. Gradually, what was a luxury and a privilege to have becomes a necessity and a right to have—and a TV commercial or two helps speed things along. In other words, we as a society are constantly being bombarded with messages to give in to the desire to covet.
Fifteen years ago, pastor Mark Buchanan described this desire to covet and this materialistic society as a cult—
I belong to the Cult of the Next Thing. It’s dangerously easy to get enlisted. It happens by default—not by choosing the cult, but by failing to resist it. The Cult of the Next Thing is consumerism cast in religious terms. It has its own litany of sacred words: more, you deserve it, new, faster, cleaner, brighter. It has its own deep-rooted liturgy: charge it, instant credit, no down-payment, deferred payment, no interest for three months. It has its own preachers, evangelists…: ad men, pitchmen, celebrity sponsors. It has, of course, its own shrines, chapels, temples, meccas: malls, superstores, club warehouses. It has its own sacraments: credit and debit cards. It has its own [spiritual mountain-top] experiences: the spending spree. The Cult of the Next Thing’s central message proclaims, “Crave and spend, for the Kingdom of Stuff is here.” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1999/september6/9ta062.html)
It’s no wonder that God devoted a whole commandment to the sin of coveting.