Consumers, Consumed, or Christian Disciples

April 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

Logo Transparent jpeg without wordsAre we consumers or are we being consumed? Consumers or Christian Disciples?


I read once about a species of jellyfish that lives in the Bay of Naples. Apparently these slimy little creatures love to eat a certain kind of snail with a hard shell the jellyfish cannot digest. The snail fastens itself to the inside of  the jellyfish and slowly eats away on its host. Before long the jellyfish has been consumed by the snail. Reading about these jellyfish reminded me that we are sometimes consumed by the very things we consume. We have appetites for things that look, smell, and feel good, but in the long run can destroy us. Even things that are good for us in appropriate amounts, like food and work, can destroy us when consumed in inappropriate amounts.

I’ve been associated with Habitat for Humanity for almost 30 years. Its founder, Millard Fuller. Fuller rose from humble beginnings to become a millionaire as a very young man of 29.  But while his business flourished, his personal life suffered. He began to reassess his values, and after some serious soul-searching made some major changes in direction.

Fuller reconciled with his wife. The two of them renewed their commitment to God, sold all of their possessions, gave their money to the poor, and joined Koinonia Farm, a Christian community near Americus, Georgia. There they began to build low-cost, affordable housing on a not-for-profit, no-interest basis. Over a period of time this program developed into Habitat for Humanity. This organization has now built hundreds of thousands of homes for the working poor around the world. I’ve even partnered with them to build houses for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.

Millard Fuller summed up his life work like this: “I see life as both a gift and a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need.”

Not everyone is called to do what Millard Fuller did. But he is right that life is both a gift and a responsibility. Can you imagine how the world would be different if each Christian took God’s call on our lives seriously. What if each one of us simply invited someone to church this Sunday? We don’t have to feed five thousand like Jesus did. What if each of us fed just one hungry person? What if each one of us introduced just one person to a loving God? What if each one of us just visited one lonely or sick person? What if. . . (You fill it in!)

QUESTION: What is your “What if? Please respond in the Comments section below.

Dr. Gary Thompson


I am a retired United Methodist pastor. I write adult curriculum for the United Methodist Church and have been doing so for over 10 years. My passion is helping the Christian Church more effectively fulfill its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ and to help individuals identify and fulfill their God-given personal mission.

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  • tony kiar

    Praise the Lord! Good post! ‘Man does not live by bread alone . . . ‘ (Mattew 4:4) “Consumerism is a major driver of our economy as well as a prop for our emotional well being. Christmas has become the epitome of everything that’s twisted in our culture. Consumerism is ruining us and killing us – death by stuff. . . . Often, I hear Christians calling for Christ to be put back in Christmas. A wonderful idea – let us start by clearing out of the shopping malls and crowding into our churches in repentance. Let us start by visiting the sick, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. ”

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