When I was very young, I dreamed of the day I would buy my first car. My dad made it clear to me that I would pay for my first car and that I had plenty of time to save up for it. How soon I got it depended on how much money I made and saved.
So what do you do to make money as a 10-year-old? You sell stuff. My parents helped me get started selling a weekly newspaper which the folks in my neighborhood loved, but had trouble getting. From there, I moved on to a daily paper route, knocking on doors and adding new subscribers. When I finally bought that first car, I could now transport a lawn mower, so I started selling people on letting me cut their grass. Then it was magazine subscriptions, then greeting cards, then encyclopedias. Successfully selling stuff built my self-esteem and gave me money to do what I wanted to do. As I made more money, I bought nicer and nicer cars. And thus the cycle starts.
Today, the things required for ‘the good life’ cost a fortune. By the time we add up the cost of owning a nice house, stylish furniture, a new car or two, an up-to-date computer, a big TV (plus cable), cell phones, gym memberships, and acceptable clothes, we are locked in to a monthly spend that forces us to bring home a certain amount of money. So, we have two-income families and a boatload of stress. And we still never have any wiggle room in our checking accounts.
God has shown me some huge truths about this way of living.
Firstly, and please don’t think I’m a flake when I say this, but having a lot of ‘things’ is greatly overrated. Once purchased, ‘things’ have to be maintained, insured, protected and stored. They get lost, stolen, broken, borrowed, made obsolete and taxed. What you ‘own,’ in fact, ends up ‘owning’ you! Not long ago, I counted up the number of gasoline-burning engines I owned. Cars, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed whackers and a boat. Guess how many?
Yes, seventeen ‘motors to feed.’ Isn’t that nuts? (You might count up yours before you give me too much grief!) And nowadays, they even tell us when they need to be maintained with things like check engine lights.
How much of the stuff you own could you do without?
Life is about relationships . . . with our Heavenly Father . . . with our families . . . with our coworkers, neighbors, and friends. More often than not, the things we strive to own distract us from those relationships rather than enhance them. We need to simplify . . . get the money ‘monkey’ off our backs . . . buy less . . . own less . . . and love more.
So take a hard look at where your money goes. Try to simplify . . . cut your monthly burn rate . . . sell some stuff . . . take some of the pressure off. And start giving God a chunk of your money every payday. Pick a percentage just beyond what you can afford, and give it. Commit yourself to increasing that percentage next year, and the next and the next.
Then watch what God does with your finances and your peace of mind. He’ll make you smile!
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