Anne D’innocenzio of the AP wrote an interesting article in the Tuesday Business section of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. She asserts that the spending trend of this holiday season may show a sign of strength in the economy. “People hit the stores after Christmas to buy, indulging the rediscovered retail appetite that may have made 2010’s holiday shopping season the biggest ever.”
In my conversations with people, I hear that things are not well, that money is tight and that 2011 may be even tighter. This article seems to indicate the opposite. “Shoppers spent more on their family and friends and for the first time since the Great Recession, treated themselves and even their pets.” That’s it, that’s what we need to do in a difficult economic situation, “treat ourselves and even our pets.” Really? Are things better because we are spending more? This analysis seems to argue that point. Mall of America spokesman Dan Jasper added to the analysis: “People are definitely treating themselves, particularly to jeans and accessories.” Nothing says economic health like new jeans and bling. Total spending rose 5.5% to 584.3 billion from November 5 through December 24.
This is a great picture of the idolatry of materialism of our culture. If we spend money, things must be going well. After all, buying stuff is good. Not being able to buy the things we want, that’s bad. Be wise, Christian. Don’t fall for the illusion of materialism like the man with the barns to hold all his stuff.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-21 ESV)