Are you an Investor or a Consumer?

July 28, 2014 | 10 comments

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.

10 thoughts on “Are you an Investor or a Consumer?”

  1. Wow! I love this, Evan! What an intelligent way to look at the choices we make. I like Rick Warren’s approach to eating to tell you the truth. Not just a senseless activity but in thoughtful decisions to support a higher sense of body as being a temple. Some human ideas are better than others and this is a higher idea of food than just a mindless stuffing of the face. I like the way you take it one step further though in reminding us that being spiritual investors, rather than material consumers will bring untold treasure. Very thought provoking!

  2. This is great food for thought. Thank you.
    How we invest our time, our efforts and thoughts, is crucial to our progress.
    You reap what you sow!
    What is really worth ‘owning’ or acquiring — higher understanding, peace, sense of purpose — is not going to be easy, either. It takes work. “Follow me” isn’t a one-time call but a constant demand to move thought upward.
    I was feeling a little listless in purpose this morning. But this has helped energized my thinking. No need to balk at the work involved — it’s all for our own good! Our right investments will be fruitful.

  3. True, it takes work to spiritually invest in understanding one’s relationship to God than just buying whatever advertisements entice one to buy. I know, I experienced it, and I learned my lesson in doing such.

  4. Thank you! Your article has given me new direction for my prayerful thought. It spoke clearly to me about my life purpose.

  5. I think we always need to be alert to what we’re giving power to. We can make good choices
    if we are listening to God. When we become too obsessed by food we give it the power.
    God should be the only power and when we manifest His qualities we can be certain of
    making the correct choice. Let God’s wisdom guide and govern. Food can’t control us if we truly listen to God.

  6. Ah, good ideas all. And, it is about much more than food, tho our eating habits are a good example of consuming just for fleeting pleasure. I / we need to resist the constant pressure of media and friends to consume. Frugality and moderation get a bad name.
    Let’s organize to defend investing. Our motto: FRUGALITY IS A CELEBRATION OF ENOUGHNESS ! It is a statement of gratitude for what we already have. It is NOT being a Scrooge, a miser, or a fearful doubter of God’s provision. It is a willingness to acknowledge our material wellbeing, AND appreciate our Spiritual satisfactions & resources. Also, it is willingness to translate personal LUXURY into occasions for charitable giving to manifest our LOVE for ‘neighbors’. Lets join with Evan to CELEBRATE ENOUGHNESS. Yeaaaaaaaaah !!

  7. Great article Evan. Thank you for always being so alert when reading magazines, etc . And thank you Trudy and Patty for your remarks. This blog is great inspiration right after studying lesson and having breakfast. Good start to the day always.

  8. Thank you, Evan! It took me a bit, but I found the article of which your discussion reminded me. “God’s Provision and Launching Out ‘into the Deep'”, by Jan Keeler, is in the Classic Articles III collection, originally in the Dec., ’96 Journal. I’ve gained much from the article’s comparison of thoughts that are “investments” vs. “expenses,” “Expensive” thoughts, like fear, hatred, jealousy, selfishness, etc., are devastating to our well-being, and cost us much in time expended away from God’s presence. Spiritual thoughts are “investments” that reinforce our awareness of our true identities, inseparable from God’s constant love. Thank you for the reminder, the expansion of the idea, and for your blog in general. I have appreciated it for too long without expressed gratitude! As Bill Kilgour expressed it in a previous reply, “Yeaaaaaah!”

  9. All comments have been very helpful. I tried to lose weight years ago and dieted for the first time. I used to eat when I was hungry and ‘saved’ my appetite for going to a restaurant or a party. With dieting I became afraid of what food would do or not do, so everything I put into my mouth caused great anxiety. No diet ever worked really because I always gained weight and had to go on a diet again. Exercise helped but I still seemed to gain weight if I let up on my current regime, which I could never do too long. So I found a lot of good information to undo by ‘diet head’ and lost weight. But I knew at one point that I had to approach this as all things from a spiritual point of view. Through prayer and meditation and I must say an article by you Evan, helped me lose 30 lbs, without dieting. I need to see myself spiritually. All of this, like many things, affected all aspects of my life. I looked at what I was allowing into my consciousness , what I was feeding myself in terms of thought. This idea of what we invest in falls right in line with what I am working on. Thank you.

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