All that Glitters is NOT Gold

Hello. I am Derek Parker, and I am a sophomore finance major as well as one of the peer coaches here at the NEXUS Financial Discipleship Center. While I have learned and continue to learn more and more about the financial world every day, I have found that I am not immune to making financial mistakes just like everyone else.

Just before Christmas break, I encountered some enticing advertisements along the side of my social media. One particular advertisement caught my eye as it featured the word “FREE” in big, bold letters, which is a great way to get anyone’s attention. This particular company was selling watches. The watch that they featured had brown, leather straps, gold edges, and silver dials. I was sold. Obviously, the watches were not actually 100% free; I still had to pay $10 for the shipping, which I did not think was too bad for what seemed like a quality watch.

Unfortunately, it took over a month for the package to arrive, and all it came in was some bubble wrap with a tag stating that it cost less than $1 to make. Have you ever heard the phrase “all that glitters is not gold?” Well, I found out the meaning of the phrase firsthand. The watch ended up being so cheaply made that it broke apart within the first week! Luckily, it only cost me $10, so my consequence was not too harsh. Although, not everyone is as lucky as me. It would be easy to make a mistake similar to mine and end up paying much more for something that lasts only one week.

While this scenario did not turn out how I had hoped, I did learn some biblical and financial lessons through it. Proverbs 25:28 states, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 also explains that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” These verses can be most applicable to people who are trying make wise financial decisions or to stay on a budget. Each of us must possess self-control as well as seek guidance from God as we face financial temptation. A good question that a person faced with this decision should ask themselves is, “Is this offer truly a good deal? And if this is a good deal, is it the best use of my available funds in order to impact the kingdom of God?”

From this experience, I have learned to take one step back and look closer at all of the details. When I encounter something that seems too good to be true, I will do some research, read any fine print I can find, and avoid impulse buys. This situation also reminded me that if something is a good deal, that does not mean that the purchase is the wisest use of funds. What about you? Have you had any similar experiences? Feel free to share your comments below or schedule a one-on-one coaching session to discuss this topic further.