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Often I may think of myself as a customer of the Church. What do I mean by that? I may feel that the Church owes me something. Sometimes a person can have a customer mindset when it comes to the Church. If you’ve ever worked in restaurants or retail, you might know what I’m referencing. The customer mindset is, “I’m a person paying for a commodity, product, or service, and I have the right to demand things on my terms.” How does this happen within the Church? On a superficial level, I may think that because I merely pay my tithes and donate that I can demand what the Church should and shouldn’t do. In some cases, even what the Church should and shouldn’t believe. I might think this mindset only occurs with the guy who drives a Maserati and has a mansion, but all are susceptible. It might not even be due to monetary things. I could have this mindset merely because I’m a servant. I’m investing time and effort into the Church, so the Church should accommodate me in the way I see fit. But that’s a total distortion of what the Church is. 

I am not a customer of the Church; I am a product. The difference in mindsets will make a world of difference in the way I operate within the Church. Becoming a product means allowing the Church to mold me in the way God wants me to because the Church is the extension and continuation of Christ’s service in the world. Do I not believe when I recite the creed, “and in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God?” The Church expresses its rich theology through the rites and liturgical life of the Church.

If I can describe our modern times in one word, it would be consumerism. Life outside of the Church has become mostly about how I can acquire and protect materialistic possessions. St. Athanasius says, though, “Don’t let the desire to possess things, take hold of you. For what do we gain by acquiring things we cannot take with us?” Likewise, I must be cautious to now allow this mindset to transfer to the Church. When I see myself as a consumer of the Church, and it’ll only be a one-way street. I’ll neither feel the need to invest or even allow the Church to invest in me in a meaningful and life-giving way. Allowing myself to become clay in God’s hands is only done if I let the Church shape and mold me in a real and life-changing way.