How Do You Want Your Money to Affect the Economy?
I recently read a logistics report in the Wall Street Journal that startled me. This last Christmas season, consumers in the United States spent almost 700 billion dollars on gifts and consumer items. Seven hundred billion dollars in sales—that is such a big number.
Two months later, it looks like we’ve hit another record: consumers returned 90 billion dollars of the merchandise they purchased over Christmas. These stores then spin around and try to resell the products at deep discounts in the months of January and February. This is an “echo market” that follows every Christmas season.
Here is the startling thing: what happens if these stores can’t sell their 90 billion dollars’ worth of returned merchandise? It is estimated that about 5 billion pounds of material gets thrown away. Some companies find it cheaper just to bury their unsold products in landfills. (Click here to read the article by Erica E. Phillips.)
What a massive waste in our economy. It makes me wonder about inefficiencies and what’s going on in the hearts of consumers.
As Prosperous Souls, we get to care about our nation. We don’t have to be so self-focused that we are immune to a better way. We can start to think on a more national scale and consider how we want our dollars to move through the economy.
Here are three things to ponder from a wise man named Solomon, who had much to say about wealth and the Prosperous Soul:
1. Understand What Matters to God’s Heart
To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. (Prov. 21:3)
Many of us spend a lot of money on family and friends, especially during the holiday season. We want to be generous people, and we see these gifts as part of our generosity. It is always good to have a generous heart, but according to Proverbs 21, making sacrifices is not what God really cares about. The desire of His heart is righteousness and justice. Those are more important to Him than the money we spend on other people.
2. Take Your Time When Making a Purchase
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. (Prov. 21:5)
As I read this verse, I am struck by its assurance. We will surely come to poverty if we are hasty. How many of our purchases are simply hasty? We often can be rushed around, pressured, and manipulated into spending, but we don’t have to live that way. What would it look like if we didn’t do that? How much money would we save? How would our home economies benefit, and how much more money would we have available for true generosity? It would free us up to give to the people who really need it more than we do.
3. View Spending from a Godly Perspective
He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich. (Prov. 21:17)
One version of Scripture says, “He who loves luxuries.” Solomon wasn’t saying we should avoid luxuries in our homes, but when we fall in love with luxuries, we run the risk of never becoming rich.
As Prosperous Souls, we desire to see the national economy rise again into strength and stability. This begins in our homes—it begins in us. The changes we make in our spending habits not only benefit us, but they also benefit our service to the King and our involvement in His Kingdom economy.