The down escalator is faster than the up escalator. That’s the saying of a friend of mine. The first time I heard him say it, I was caught off guard. “What was that? The down escalator?” He was referring to the ability we have to accumulate debt versus our ability to accumulate savings.
Compare your savings account to your VISA bill. Is there any truth in that saying? Did you know that 25 percent of Canadians owe between $10,000 and $40,000, and 28 percent don’t even know the interest rate they pay on their main credit card.? Many are on an escalator that descends quickly.
Discipline is the key of course to dealing with this subject. Being a spontaneous personality I know what it is to wander through one of the many electronic stores and drool over the latest and greatest gadgets. With the shine of the spotlights on their gleaming surfaces and the glitz of advertising it is hard to imagine that I don’t need that 42 inches, no make that a 60 inch HDTV with the latest surround sound gear.
In 2001 I was privileged to attend the International College for Officers in London England. The eight weeks of attendance is long – no argument from me there – but if I walked away from that experience with anything it was with the impression of two Salvation Army officers who attended with me. The first was a kind quiet woman at that time who managed the Social Services in Sri Lanka. What she was able to do with very little was astounding. She seemed to covet little if anything and her prayers were always filled with praise and thanksgiving. The second was a woman from South Africa working with children who were orphaned when their HIV-positive parents died. The children too were mostly HIV positive. With little or no medication she said we can only love them, feed them well and tell them of God’s grace. She was the picture of compassion and love.
It’s hard to stand under the lights of big-box retail and not feel that our down escalators are taking us somewhere other than debt. They are taking us to a world of self-satisfaction where happiness is only found until the warranty is over. Then we return to find more of whatever it is that settles our unease.
Being one of the seekers of stuff I write this to remind myself of the words of Jesus. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
Treasure in heaven! Now that’s one UP escalator I would like to be on.