So this morning, I heard a commercial for Thomasville furniture. More specifically, the "Thomasville Promise". In other words, they are jumping on the same bandwagon that all the major car companies are:
Hyundai Assurance Plan
Chevrolet Total Confidence
Ford Advantage Plan
Seriously though, call it what you want to call it, but isn't that what part of what got us into this economic crisis?? We want a nice house, so we take out a mortgage we cannot afford. We want a nice car, and heck, if we lose our job, no worries, we're still covered. Same thing goes for furniture now apparently - let's not worry whether or not we'll have a job in 6 months, Thomasville will take care of it! Whatever happened to responsibility and living within our means?!?! I have definitely fallen victim of this from time to time..which is one of the main reasons I'm taking the time to rant. But in this day and age, who hasn't fallen victim to this stuff? It's everywhere. I mean, you want something TODAY at Lowe's? Open a Lowe's card and charge it! Want something at Neiman's? Charge it!
Statistics show that Americans carried approximately $832 billion in credit card debt in 2008 and that number is expected to grow to a projected $1,091 billion by the year 2010. This works out to over $5,000 in credit card debt per cardholder (not household) and that number is expected to increase to nearly $6,200 by 2010.
Probably the main reason I'm so interested in this is because I'm a marketing person. Yes, I'm sure that many of these offers will drive foot traffic into car dealerships, furniture stores, etc. which is exactly what they are trying to do, so good for them. But I'm also a realist, and I'm sure that the fine print for these offers is longer than anyone could imagine! These offers are NOT "no strings attached", whether they make it sound this way or not, you will eventually have to pay for that car!
I really think that a lot of America's problems (and my own) are because we all feel too much entitlement. We are entitled to a nice, new car and brand new furniture. Why? Because that's what we had growing up or that's what we didn't have growing up and deserve it now - either rationalization works here, and I've heard them both. Another big reason for entitlement is "because that's what everyone else has/does". What a difference I think it would make if we all just stopped caring what everyone else did and look to the real standard we should set for our lives - Jesus. I know it would definitely make a big difference in my life and allow me to be more content.
I'm so glad I can see these things, but most importantly, I've got to live them. I don't want to be so leveraged when it comes to finances. I want to be content. I don't want to be like the rest of the world. Christ says not to be, and I'm starting to really understand why.
Here are some verses I want to meditate on to help me guard against these things:
1 John 2:15 (NIV)
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
John 16:33 (NIV)
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV)
27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 2:12 (NIV)
12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (NIV)
29What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
1 Timothy 6:7 (NIV)
7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
Luke 16:13 (NIV)
13"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
James 2:5 (NIV)
5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
James 4:4 (NIV)
4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
1 John 2:16 (NIV)
16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
1 John 2:17 (NIV)
17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.