While watching NFL football this past weekend, I had to endure many TV commercials. Admittedly, the admission price was thousands of dollars less than watching a game in person.
Still... commercials. Bleh.
I absently acknowledged some of the ads on TV as I scrolled through my phone, watched TikTok, or dozed, but there was one that kept airing over and over that I couldn't stop thinking about afterward.
It was a commercial for the new iPhone 14 Pro, a slick ad that made me wonder if I needed it---even though I had just upgraded to the iPhone 13 Pro last year.
At that moment, I wanted that new phone pretty severely. I even logged on to my AT&T account to see if there were any potential upgrades available, but before I initiated anything, I paused for a moment and thought about what I was doing.
I was actually considering paying more money for a new phone with minimal upgrades in memory and camera function for one that was perfectly fine and not even a year old.
What is it with our insatiable desire to upgrade things in our culture?
We're constantly told we need an upgrade to almost everything we own. It happens in a hundred different ways a day through ads on social media, billboards, snail mail ads, TV, our internet browsers, and on websites that we visit.
Marketing and business guru Seth Godin recently wrote:
They’re not trying to sell you a phone any longer. Or a house. They’re spending all their time selling you an upgrade.
As a result, most people in our culture have long abandoned the notion that whatever they have is good enough and have become convinced that newer has to be better.
Godin addresses it like this:
It’s because we’re not making that simple choice [to be satisfied]. Instead, we’re embracing the wisdom of the choice we made years ago at the same time we’re focusing on the glaring defects that status and affiliation relentlessly point out.
Listen, I'm not saying that we should never upgrade things. Sometimes you need to live more fully and for your own safety. For example, if your microwave makes funny noises and smokes when you heat things up, you may want to look into that.
But when the way we live is centered around constantly desiring the next best thing when what we have is perfectly fine, we risk falling into a consumeristic and materialistic trap that keeps us from living abundantly.
The Apostle Paul once wrote:
1 Timothy 6:6-12 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
May you resist the temptation to live in an "upgraded" mindset, find contentment in your life and what God has graced you with, and live more fully into the life God means for you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.