Monday, August 17, 2009

We Can Afford It

These two lessons are the essence of provident living. When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”

Elder Hales gave a very good talk during the previous General Conference about being provident providers. He gave as examples two stories about times he wanted to buy gifts for his wife, but she turned them down. Each time, she had a different reason. When she gave her first reason, I just nodded, thinking that of course she was right to turn down a gift when they couldn't afford it.

It was the second gift that struck me - she asked him if he was buying the gift for her or for himself. He wasn't buying her a power tool, golf clubs or another type of gift that I think of when I consider the type of gift you are really giving to yourself, not someone else (like when I my little brothers decided to buy a computer game they really wanted "for the family" for Christmas - they were the only ones to play it, as you might guess). No, in this case the gift was one that was definitely for her - a very nice coat. What she meant then was probably that he was buying it to make himself seem like a good provider, and to show off his wife and his money to the world. It didn't matter that they could afford it - he was buying the gift for the wrong reasons.

I realized that I do this myself. Sometimes, when I buy something for my wife, I justify going over the budget because it's for her. Looking back though, I realize that I often had thoughts about how this would impress my wife's friends or ward members, and how she'd have to appreciate me being willing to go over the budget for her gifts! In fact, I realize now that I occasionally felt a little cheated when my wife stayed within the budget on my own gifts! I'm going to have to work on repenting, and when I want to spend a little extra on my wife, I'm going to just have to save money somewhere else first. Besides, I'm the one who set the budget numbers - I have no excuse to go over.

No comments: