Consumers use up resources. Investors take actions that multiply their resources. Which are you?
The question grabbed my attention when I read an editorial by Rich Karlgaard in the June issue of Forbes magazine, where Rich pointed out in a recent commencement speech that successful people, (according to his definition of success), spend their time and energy investing, not consuming.
He said, “Every successful person I’ve ever met, from Warren Buffett to Bill Gates and from Pastor Rick Warren to rock singer Bono, looks at a dollar of money or a minute of time and thinks in terms of investing it, not consuming it.”
He then itemized some of the successes of these individuals, which include acts of common public knowledge,
But then he said, “Pastor Rick Warren decided he needed to lose weight and get fit. Subsequently, his fundamental view of food changed. Instead of consuming food to satisfy fleeting desires…Pastor Rick now invests in his body as if it were God’s temple, which he believes it is.”
“Instead of consuming food to satisfy fleeting desires…” stuck in my thought like a magnet to iron. It challenged strong notions that a primary reason to eat was to enjoy the food.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, but I suddenly saw that if one’s primary reason to eat was to indulge appetite and satisfy fleeting desires, one may also be inclined to make very poor food choices. The mind’s decision-making swirls around the pursuit of instant self-gratification, sensual stimulation, or something-to-do mindless consumption rather than acting under the influence of the one intelligent divine Mind. Mmmm…love those fries, bring on another plate full…I have nothing to do, I might as well eat…A few more cookies won’t hurt…
As I pondered Karlgaard’s point, I saw how so many problems people struggle with are tied back to a strong impulse to consume, rather than invest. The list is long, from pursuit of personal pleasure or whims versus getting an education that leads to a good paying job, mindless waste of time, spending without saving, abuse of the body, all in pursuit of what may feel good at the moment, but makes little or no sense in the long run. It’s the mindset of a consumer gone haywire, not an investor making decisions that reap long term benefit.
I’m not bringing out Karlgaard’s point to advocate a diet regimen. That’s not my point here. The difference between garbage food and sensible eating is well publicized. I’m thinking in the larger picture of material consumption versus spiritual investment.
Are you a material consumer or a spiritual investor?
Jesus Christ advocated spiritual investment. He taught his followers to invest their mind, time and energy to the pursuit of spiritual gain, and away from material consumption. He taught them to be spiritual investors, not material consumers.
“Follow me!” “Seek the kingdom of heaven…” He cried.
It seems to me that the more we make decisions that reap spiritual benefit and the less we act to indulge short term fleeting desires, the better off we’re going to be. What we gain spiritually will more than make up for what we sacrifice materially. There is no comparison in the long run for the treasures of sense are as nothing compared to the riches of Spirit.