Last year on the way to bible study, I heard segment of the Money Show on 702. The host was interviewing a woman who was badly in debt and decided to do something about it. She not only succeeded in getting her finances right, but wrote a book on the subject too. The bit that I remember most was how much we are influenced by advertising. Too many people are in debt because of their spending on perceived needs as informed by advertising. It is with reason that millions of Rand are spent on advertising. I remember the interviewee giving an example that people buy a new kettle because they want the latest colour trend, not because their old kettle is broken. This kind of buying because of advertising influence is true from cars to chocolates. Advertising works and everyone is subject to it. W
Where do we draw the line between need and want? If we have disposable income, is there anything wrong with buying a new red kettle? If we are going to be good stewards of the money the Lord has given to us, should we only buy what we need, or is there room to buy what we want too? Many years ago, my husband admired somebody’s new car and flippantly commented, “That’s what I need!”. A Christian brother replied: “The Lord caters for your needs, not your greeds.” Most of us don’t have the income to cater for greed on car level, but we may be guilty of pandering to ourselves on a lower level.
Good stewardship is a vast subject and there are many things to consider. Each must find the right balance of spending on needs and wants according to biblical principles. As with all our actions, spending should be governed by the simple principle of what is not of faith is sin. If there is the slightest pang of conscience, don’t buy it! This begs the question: do we have an informed conscience?
I just thought it might be interesting for each of us to consider how much we are influenced by advertising. We’d like to think we are immune, but I think that’s wishful thinking. When we are influenced, our wants are translated into perceived needs and this is where we need to be careful. We don’t feel guilty about buying what we think we need, but do we really? Everybody is influenced differently and to greater or lesser degrees by advertising, but the problem with advertising influence is that it is subtle – we do not realize the influence. Each of us needs to consider our spending patterns and see where the influence affects us.
I trust that this topic will lead to some interesting family discussions with the result that we are guided more and more by the Lord and his word in our spending, and not by trends as dictated by advertising. This is not to say that there is anything wrong in buying trendy stuff, but the decision to do so must be consciously ours, not some subliminal messaging.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bible Society of S.A: The Bible Society has been operating in S.A. for 207 years! In spite of loss of government subsidies, they have persevered and still publish bibles in all our languages. There have always been hardcovers in each language, but over the years they have introduced paperbacks, large prints and flexi-covers. These are not yet available for all languages, but in most. We aim to keep each of these varieties in stock and, where necessary, we keep different translations too.