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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Lure of Consumerism (Proverbs 21:20)

"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has."

The following statistics reveal that many people spend every dime they make (devour all they have) and then some. That "then some" is made entirely possible by the usage of credit cards as seen in the following:
  • "As of March 2009, U.S. revolving consumer debt, made up
    almost entirely of credit card debt, was about $950 Billion. In
    the fourth quarter of 2008, 13.9 percent of consumer disposable income
    went to service this debt
    " (U.S. Congress' Joint Economic Committee,
    "Vicious Cycle: How Unfair Credit Card Company Practices Are Squeezing Consumers and Undermining the Recovery," May 2009). Emphasis added.
  • "In the last 12 months, 15 percent of American adults, or nearly 34 million people, have been late making a credit card payment and 8 percent (18 million people) have missed a payment entirely" (National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 2009 Financial Literacy Survey, April 2009). Emphasis added.
How can people (especially those with a limited income) keep from devouring all that they have, store up for a rainy day and build up an immunity against spending.
  • Practice saying "no" to impulsive expenditures
  • Stay out of stores (you can't want what you don't know about)
  • Don't purchase items at convenience stores
  • Cut out luxury items (carbonated drinks, snack foods, etc.)
  • Build your menu around what's on sale at the grocery store
  • Decrease time spent watching TV (commercials work, that's why companies spend so much money advertising on TV)
  • Establish a savings account and discipline yourself to deposit a minimum amount every paycheck.
  • Pray about every expenditure
According to Solomon, the American consumer spending is based on two principles:
  • Foolishness
  • Greed
The choice is clear, either you feed an unbridled appetite or you choose delayed gratification and long term values.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Proverbs 19:1-21:31
  • What do people typically do when things go wrong as a result of poor decisions they've made? (19:3)
  • What are the side effects of being poor?
  • What character traits are worse than poverty?
  • How does Solomon characterize the lazy man (or sluggard)?
  • In what ways do we see Solomon declaring God's sovereignty in people's lives?
  • In what ways do we see Solomon declaring the responsibility of man in his decisions and actions?
Turning truth into prayer:
How people handle their finances says much about their values and their priorities. Ask the Lord to show you areas in your finances that are dishonoring to Him.