TV ads pull me into greed.
They are designed to appeal to my gluttony not only in what I am tempted to eat but in all of my senses. They cater to my physical comforts and satisfactions. The writers know how to push my sensual and covetous buttons. They drag me down to act on my flesh, my baser instincts. They target my pride, my ego, my self-interest and self-aggrandizement.
In a recent commercial six youngsters of early elementary school age are sitting around a low table with a man in a tailored suit asking them for their opinion. “Do you think bigger is better?” The kids have been rehearsed to yell out, “YES!” in unison with enthusiasm. The man gives an example on their level and they continue to shout that “Bigger is better!” (I can't even remember what is being advertised!) I am only left with the impression that the next generations of our children and grandchildren are victims-in-formation vulnerable to the lure of the “Negative MORE.” Contentment is regarded as passivity and downgraded to lack of motivation or ambition.
I am lured toward wanting to super-size everything—much of what I already have. But I am drawn to desire bigger, better, newer, the latest, the most fashionable, the tastiest. And the more powerful, the more convenient, the easier—whatever will enhance my mortal, material life in the flesh.
Describing the lifestyle of the world, the Apostle Peter in his first Epistle 3:3 spells it out that in these last days men will be “following after their own lusts.” Lust? By definition that is not only inordinate sexual desire, but any of our senses gone wild and no longer under control. “Thou shalt not covet” may actually be one of the most difficult of the Ten Commandments to keep, and it leads into transgressing most of the other Commandments.
Our modern society is totally being programmed toward greed. We are not expected to deny ourselves of anything. We are told, “After all, you deserve it!”
The “Negative MORE” is not confined to the secular or material or sensual side of life. It also lurks around the corners of our Christian assembling together. Unless a church grows into a mega-congregation with a sprawling campus, the leadership may be tempted to question their “success.” Isn't bigger always better?
On a recent TV newscast I saw video clips of China's efforts to outdo any other Asian nation in construction of larger and more magnificent statues of Buddha—seems inconsistent when China is no longer known as a Buddhist country, in fact, is a secular, atheistic nation. The statue that took the prize was a Buddha two-hundred times taller than the Statue of Liberty! The lure of the “Negative MORE” knows no geographical or cultural or religious boundaries.
Let His followers take heed—Jesus demonstrated and taught a different measurements of success than size and quantity of material acquisitions. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world [has the latest iPhone, electronic gadgets, drives a Ferrari, wears the latest Armani fashions] and loses his own soul?” Jesus told us clearly what to “seek first” and what kind of positive “MORE” would be added unto us.
A popular bumper sticker declares, “He who has the most toys wins.” Not so. It doesn't matter if the toys are bigger, newer, or high-tech. The bottom line is that we are pilgrims living in a transient world. In view of that, the Apostle John declares in his first letter, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” Jesus' followers are people of Eternity who resist "The Lure of the 'Negative MORE'!"