Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Financial Tug of War

A recent blog I read encouraged families to “Live According to Your Financial Values”. It went on to describe many American households.

"Many families struggle to pay the bills each month. The American dream says we should work hard so we can afford a house, a car, and lots of nice things. Then once we have some equity in our house, we should upgrade to a bigger house and take out a new 30-year mortgage. We should buy a new car every few years. And we tell ourselves, “Get something nice. You deserve it.” We work so we can buy more. The more we buy, the more we work." 

The blog then went on to say:

"Take time to evaluate your family values. Talk to your partner about what is most important to you. When you are 80 years old, do you want to look back at your life and say “Boy, we sure bought some nice things.” Or would you rather say, “We didn’t have much, but we sure had fun.” Whatever your goals are, make sure you are living according to your values.

For some families, this might mean downsizing. Perhaps you want one parent to stay at home. This might mean getting a smaller home or only having one vehicle. There’s no shame in that. However, many people would feel bad about this. Or perhaps your goal is to only work part time so you can spend more time with your family. If that is your goal, find a way to make this happen. Or perhaps your goal is to save enough money to take that dream vacation. If so, maybe working some overtime makes sense."

On the surface this seems like fairly prudent advice and certainly counter-cultural or is it? What if what you value most is the new car, the big house and all the electronic toys that money can buy?

Perhaps it would be wiser to adopt God’s values with regard to money, recognizing that God’s values do not necessarily preclude you from owning a new car or buying toys. However, my guess is that it would be more prudent to follow His value system than ours.

Some key verses might be:
Matthew 6:24
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Proverbs 22:7
"The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave of the lender."

Proverbs 21:20
"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has."

Since there are over 800 references in Scripture to money God was well aware that money would be a stumbling block for many of us. Husbands and wives must be on the same page and how much better if that page is God’s page.

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