A recent post by John Frainee discussed the affordability of the new iPhone. Stay with me as I continue his line of thinking.
My oldest son visited one evening this week for his younger brother’s birthday celebration. He came to our home from the Verizon store where he picked up his new smart phone—provided by his employer. Loving gadgets the way I do, I had to see and play with it. He said it cost several hundred dollars. I have to admit, that for a split second (and only a split second) I wished I could get one. But then I pulled my “smartest, non-smart phone you can buy” out of my pocket to change his phone number on my contacts list and decided that I really don’t need to watch streaming videos, run credit cards, or print documents from the field on my office printer. I’m glad I could walk away and say, “I don’t need this.”
I’ve owned my laptop for about two years. It’s developed quite a few quirks and I have spent the last few months looking at new ones. I do have the money set aside for this expense as without the computer I’ve lost my way to earn a living. However, the more I look at computers, the more I’m willing to put up with my flickering screen and period key that only works when it wants to. I just can’t bring myself to spend the money only because I’m inconvenienced.
Evaluating our needs
Where am I going with this? Evaluating our needs from our wants. The newest, best, shiniest, fastest, and costliest, will always tempt us. But is that what we need? And do the extra features warrant spending the extra money?
Several years ago, we needed a new washing machine. We had bought several used machines that lasted only a year or two; but with the volume of laundry that a large family produces, it really wasn’t a wise use of our funds. We needed a brand new machine that could take the burden of running several loads a day. And, considering that we live in a draught-stricken land with a well that frequently runs low, we decided we did need a water-saving machine. Of course, they cost more than machines like my mother would buy; but that is what our family needed. We did not make our purchase hastily, however. We first evaluated the need. Then we shopped several times without buying and asked many questions of the salesmen in several different stores, comparing various models and prices. Then we waited until what we wanted went on sale for what we could afford.
Proverbs 30: 7-9 says:
Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
I believe if we keep this scripture in mind, and trust God for just enough in our lives, than the temptation of buying more than what we truly need will lessen. And I’m not just addressing large expenditures, either. Actually, it is all the little things that add up and drain our reserves.
I want to be able to ask myself, “Do I need new curtains, or am I just tired of the ones I have?” Or “Do I need red pumps to go with my red dress or will my black ones do?” I want my children to learn to ask themselves the same things, “Do I need a new bicycle, or can I get by with a new chain and tires?”
But you are thinking that it is okay to buy things that you don’t need if you can afford it, right? Well, maybe. Have you prayed about your expenditures? Are you giving to those with less? Or are you spending your surplus on yourself? Is that what God would have you do?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share with us in the comments.