Flourish: Defining the Church's Role in Creation

Day 4 of 6 • This day’s reading


A Culture of Overconsumption

In our current economic system, the better our economy performs, the worse our environment suffers. 

The relentless consumption of some has devastated our natural world. Since 1970, the populations of wildlife species have fallen by 60%. The more we consume, and the more our economies grow, the further our environment is pushed to the breaking point.

Industry has caused some of the worst issues we face globally: pollution, deforestation, food price inflation, climate change. These problems are escalated because of the demand we place on industry. 

The Problem with Overconsumption

In 1 Corinthians 10:7, we find a warning: Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”

Overindulgence, or overconsumption, is a form of idolatry and it isn’t necessarily about food. Whatever it is we over-consume, whether it be food, material possessions, or even entertainment, by seeking to fill ourselves with worldly things, we allow those things to usurp the place that God is meant to have in our lives, and we become obsessed with obtaining more. 

This ties in with the very first commandment He gave to Moses, “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods besides me.” God desires that we take no other idols because of the way it affects us. Namely, becoming self-absorbed. 

When we think only of ourselves, we forget to consider those in need. We don’t see our neighbors, both near and far, who are struggling to make ends meet, we forget that animal species are dying out, we ignore the fact that children are experiencing hunger and trauma because of conflict over lack of resources. 

But God sees and knows and He does not forget. And when He is given the right position in our lives, we take notice, too. It is then that we are able to act ― to be a force for good in our world. 


There you are

Free from ambition,

from the desire to please,

free from striving and straining

and the need to succeed; 

free from the rat race,

from the struggle to be first,

free from grasping and clutching

and the ego’s desperate thirst;

free from vanity,

from wearing a false face,

free from image and status

and pride’s fruitless chase;

free from possessions,

from diluting life with stuff,

free from others saying

that you aren’t enough;

free from your past,

from any bruise or scar,

free from guilt, free from shame – 

there you are.

Contributor, Gideon Heugh, Tearfund 


Write down five changes that you and your family could make that will help you resist overconsumption.