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By Mike Stickler
Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.
Finding myself in a discussion of generosity, I often begin by disclaiming myself as a ‘recovering church marketer.’ I have come to realize how intensely churches can be marketed ‒ and marketed to.
Rarely do we appreciate the intensity and sophistication of the marketing machine around us. Recently, I received an unsolicited email from a faith-based organization that has a two-day conference on fundraising for the faith-based community. This email was full of every marketing gimmick you could possibly imagine. It was full of lines such as “Learn the secrets of…”, “Call our representatives…”, “Act now!”, “One low price…”, and on and on it went.
This piece, like so many others, is an example of how we use the highly developed, worldly marketing techniques to cause those in the church to be separated from their money and resources by manipulative means.
What do I mean?
Marketing plays on the claim that I have something that you want (or need); but, I only have a few of them, so it forces you to decide and act quickly (at any price) in order to obtain what I have now!
You see, it’s all just a grand manipulation.
Prior to receiving that email, for example, I didn’t know I wanted or needed what they had to offer, nor did I know that I had to rush into making a decision ‒ until their appeal to my deep-seated fear of scarcity (of almost anything) created those perceptions. But, you’ve seen such offers: on TV, in the papers, in those mailers, via email (often that gets past your junk-mail filters), even on your cell phone (!), and so on ‒ targeted at your abhorrence of ‘missing out and missing it’ and all coming to you through every communication channel imaginable.
In our modern industrial society, we mass-produce so much stuff that the marketing pitch is not that we need it or want it (though we may even have it!). But, it now comes with a ‘new’ or ‘cool’ feature. Thus, the drive continues to sell us ever-increasingly ‘new’ or ‘cool.’ (Hurry! Get it now! Don’t miss out!)
Sadly, this same culture has infiltrated the church today. In some cases, we have become mere solicitors of spiritual products ‒ even using the same shouting, British accent to push the stuff.
God has called us to allow Him to change our desires ‒ to disregard those appeals of the world ‒ and, instead, desire a deeper and abiding relationship with Him, allowing Him to satisfy our souls, to find contentment in Him and His abundance ‒ alone.
I believe the sooner the Church returns to His pure doctrine of faith, the more attractive we will become to those who do not know Him.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Were you had today by the marketing of our culture...
Did you buy something this week that you didn’t really need?
Was it something you already possessed but just wanted the new updated version?
Did you realize ‒ or even think ‒ that your desire was being manipulated?
What does that say about your desires and their satisfaction?
... and how did you exhibit the Kingdom of God to those around you today?
Was your life showing the love of God or just pushing the stuff?
Share with us what God has shown you through this devotional below.
About Michael Stickler
Michael Stickler is a highly gifted author, philanthropist, horseman and internationally sought-after conference speaker. His all-time bestselling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the Principal of Leadership Books and writes for many international publications.
His 2017 best seller, Cliven Bundy American Patriot, reveals the truth of what is known as the “Bunkerville Stand Off.”
And, now his 2019 book Life Without Reservation, is charging up the best sellers list! For the first time in his long career he is working on his first fiction book Ghost Patriot to be release in 2021.