You Can’t Buy Your Way to Wisdom

The orgy of shopping has begun in the West. For those of you living in the United States, you no doubt saw the graphic images from the Black Friday sales as shoppers rushed to grab the latest gadgets. Around the world that same perspective is also in play as people seek to gain wisdom and understanding through a lifestyle of consumption.

Consumerism is so deadly because it tries to convince you that gratifying a felt need will lead to happiness and fulfillment. With that conviction so central to our global economy today, it is no wonder that we are convinced that our purchases will lead us to understanding. This has also spurred forward growth of private colleges selling education as a consumable that leads to a better quality of life.

We are told each day by thousands of voices that our next purchase will help us make wise and discerning decisions about our job, family, friends and lifestyle. But the only decision most marketers are concerned about is the decision to purchase their product. All the other promises made are secondary to that primary goal.

So consumers seeking direction from the brands that they look up to continually purchase their products and wait for enlightenment. But rarely does discernment come from these sources. In the fallout people get disillusioned and convince themselves that they aligned with the wrong brand of car, tablet, sweater or other consumable.

Our team at GMI is always striving to model what it looks like to make Godly decisions. And the last thing we want to do is reinforce consumerism’s harmful values. At the same time we do sell products. Why? Because products can be powerful tools to guide us to Spirit-led discernment. We don’t believe your purchasing of our product will give you wisdom, but we do believe that God can use a well-crafted resource to give you insight.

In the end God is the one who uses any tool He sees fit to guide us in the way we should go. How are you looking at the products in your life? Are you seeking insight from the things you consume or from God?

  • Stan

    I’m used to thinking that people buy things for pleasure or status, but you open up the idea that they are looking for wisdom too. A useful line of thought. It makes me wonder if the real “wisdom” that consumers value today is “shoppers’ wisdom” — knowing what the latest technology is, which version of it will benefit you most, and where to get it at the best price. If so, then advertisers are the real purveyors of “wisdom” in our culture! No wonder we are floundering as human beings while we excel at producing and selling technology.

    • Jon

      Stan, great thought. Yes, I really believe that people look at consumption as a way to learn. That is why we see many of the companies out there building elearning into their marketing. But you are right in saying that the kind of wisdom we get from consumption leaves much to be desired. We need instead to have a wisdom that comes from sacrifice and selflessness. What a challenge in today’s climate!