“The Best Stuff”

September 6th

“New stuff is the best stuff” the ad proclaims proudly. Really? Is new stuff really the best stuff? My favourite word processing program was rewritten and made “new” and the the supposedly improved version is nowhere near as good as the old one was. That’s one reason new stuff isn’t always the best stuff. Sure, quite often new things are better than what preceded them. I am forever thankful that wringer washers are a thing of an increasingly forgotten past and that new ones are truly better in every way. New stuff can indeed be the best.
But what struck me about the ad was not the veracity of its claim. What struck me was the use of the idea as a marketing tool, pushing a wasteful and thoughtless agenda that is very much against my core principles.
First off, do we always have to have more stuff? Does buying a few new things, even if they are better, make our lives truly better? I don’t think so. More is not better, by any means, and new, even if it is an improvement on the old, does not justify buying more stuff.
The other thing is that most of us already have more than enough material things. My dresser is packed with clothes, so much so that the drawers don’t close easily. I also have a closet and an armoire that are quite full. Do I need more stuff to stuff them even more fully? While Lois, my wife, would suggest that quite a few things could well disappear without being missed, they wouldn’t have to be replaced. More stuff, even new stuff, isn’t always better. Sometimes making do with what we have is the best thing of all.
The final thing that bugs me about this ad is that it is from a company that professes it’s a good brand that wants to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Is it environmentally friendly to invite customers to be wasteful and to buy things just because they are shiny and new? And is it socially responsible to imply that a better life can be had by buying new, better, stuff? On both counts my answer is a big fat “No!” My stuff might make life a little more comfortable and easier, but it certainly does not make my life better in any way.
Jesus once tried to teach a rich young person that it wasn’t what he owned that mattered, but his attitude towards life. The young man blew it and chose his stuff over the best life possible following and serving Jesus. New or old, good our bad, it’s not our stuff that determines our joy or fulfilment. It’s how we love our neighbour, welcome the stranger and glorify our Creator that really matters. What’s more, when we look to serving and honouring God we get new stuff every day! Every day is filled with new opportunities to do good and to celebrate life and it’s free! No purchase necessary! All you have to do is enjoy the blessings God offers you when you follow Jesus faithfully and lovingly.

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