Rationalizing a luxury or indulgence

By Chuck Bentley

A Hermès Birkin bag with diamonds set a record for the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction ($221,846). According to the Wall Street Journal, the fuchsia bag sold at Christie’s afternoon handbag auction in Hong Kong recently and was purchased by an unknown bidder on the phone.

Astonishingly, the record-setting handbag—which could be eclipsed by another Birkin in the same auction—isn’t the most expensive Hermès bag offered for sale. The luxury site 1stDibs currently lists a Hermès Birkin, which is notoriously difficult to purchase in retail stores, for $450,000. “That 30cm handbag is made from Himalayan Niloticus crocodile and features an 18k white gold lock with white diamonds, totaling 1.64 carats.”

rationalizing a luxury or indulgence

Now, I doubt any of us is struggling with missing out on buying this Hermès purse that costs as much as a home in the United States. But we all struggle with pride, and far too often our purchases are a reflection of our desire to set ourselves apart by what we own.

CS Lewis said it this way:

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”

Jesus told a parable about the foolish farmer who wanted a bigger barn so he could store up more crops and “eat, drink and be merry.” God declared him to be a fool because he was rich in his own eyes, but not rich toward God. As Christians, we are not to envy the rich or covet what they have; we should only guard our own pride from falling into the trap of comparison, coveting, and self-indulgence.

Originally posted 6/16/2015.