I enjoy baseball cards, and I am not alone. Over the last several decades, one million collectors have purchased about one billion cards. Currently, I am in the process of selling my baseball card collection. After years of collecting, it’s time to cash out and pursue other things (like watches, but don’t tell my wife).
How does a harmless hobby become an addiction to excess? You get into trouble when consumption becomes your life, and your stuff becomes your self-worth. Hobbies, collecting, shopping, and hanging on to things out of nostalgia… are all fine, unless they are your identity. The material items we own are powerful. As we will learn on Sunday, the stuff in our life can be either a blessing or a curse. And there is always a danger in our desires for more. You will never find your self-worth or security in what you accumulate. Material goods are not the answer to spiritual problems. About 5% of the people in the US are addicted to shopping. About 10% to 15% of people have problems with excessive or uncontrolled purchases.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
God has planted eternity into our hearts. Are you “long living” or “short living?” Long living is investing in eternity. Short living is believing your desires will satisfy your soul. The desire to accumulate material goods is a sign of being discontent.
How do you recognize the problem of shopping addiction? The addiction begins when shopping moves beyond a leisure activity and becomes an uncontrollable impulse that interferes with other areas of your life. The problem worsens with an ongoing eagerness to buy new things that are superfluous, followed by feelings of guilt. Lastly, addiction manifests itself in a complete inability to control spending relative to income level.
Shopping addiction is when you feel like you must buy it even though you can’t afford it, then regret buying it. The guilt of this cycle can feel overwhelming. On Sunday, we will cover some solutions to this problem. You can’t buy your way to happiness. But Jesus is offering you perfect grace and the only way to eternity.