"Consume ergo sum" ... "I buy therefore I am"

“Who am I?” is an arresting question. It is one of the most relevant questions humanity asks.

The story is told of two sailors becoming happily inebriated in a London pub. As they came staggering outside at closing time, they bumped into an Admiral. “Men, where do you think you’re going?” “No idea, mate!”, replied the jolly sailors. “Do you know who I am?”, said the Admiral. “Now we’re in real trouble,” said the sailor, “we don’t know where we’re going, and he doesn’t know who he is!

That describes in what situation people are in, earnestly looking for direction and identity.

In our times, this question is being answered very effectively by the marketing guru’s who point us to the modern Temples where we go to worship and bring our offers, in the expectation that the gods will give us direction and identity. These modern temples are the shopping malls and web shops. We define our identity by ‘having’ instead of ‘being.’

Consumo Ergo Sum

With apologies to René Descartes, “Consumo Ego Sum,”or “I spend, therefore I am” seems to be the modern, guiding answer to our search for direction and identity.

From a biblical perspective, our identities and self-worth are rooted in the relationships we have with God, with our fellow humans, and with God's creation.

We are living in a time when we should be restraining spending). Instead, we have pursued a lifestyle of “buy now and pay later” in order to expand economically. This philosophy has not served us well.

I recently read a short article from a young professional lady, Renate. She says, “In recent weeks I discussed the issue of finances with people around me. During a dinner with family, at work, and in a relaxed evening with friends, I asked a few questions, kept my ears open and noticed what people had to say.” “First of all, I was amazed at the taboo hanging around the topic of money. It always a bit vague. Telling your salary is ‘not-done’, the state of your bank account is very private. We only tell others when we have made a bargain buy or bought a mega-expensive product.” “..and truth be known, I feel the same. The more I earn, the more I need to make ends meet. You constantly strive to earn more, to give your family more, taking a vacation at least twice a year, live in a beautiful house with a large garden, ride a nice car, have enough savings in the bank and, if possible, share with everyone.” “Money is playing such a huge role in our society, that it seems like you don’t count any more if you don’t have ‘enough’ money. And even if you do have all the things I just mentioned, then the question remains if all this satisfies you.”

One discipline which can practically help us in showing restraint is making a spending plan. This will answer for you, the highly important question, “How Much Is Enough?” Sit down (with your partner, if you are married,) and ask God, “Lord what is enough for me or us, in the situation we are in, with the responsibilities we currently have, and the calling into which you have placed us. Thank you for promising to supply all our needs!”

Here are 7 reasons why a spending plan is good for you.

1. It helps natural savers to spend and natural spenders to save!

2. It holds you accountable, to each other and to God

3. It helps you meet your short- and long-term goals

4. It helps to show up your bad spending habits

5. It will increase your peace of mind, knowing spending us under control

6. It helps you avoid debt, by being able to save for desired purchases

7. It will help you communicate as a couple

“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get” (Proverbs 21:20, NLT).

Download the 16-page Compass "Making a Spending Plan" here:

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