Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Relationship With Money

This is a topic that I have wanted to write for a long time and also one that I have held back from writing. But today I feel that I am in a clear enough headspace to be able to tackle this topic without taking you on wild tangents that address the world as a whole. I want to use today’s space to talk about my relationship with money as it impacts my life directly.

Fundamentally I believe that the inward and outward flow of money in my life is reflective and representative of my priorities and values. It may come as no surprise to you (or maybe it does) that I do not worship the almighty dollar. Money does not bring me peace of mind nor make my soul feel joyously happy to be alive. Single handedly, money in itself does not make my marriage stronger, make me a better team member at work, make me a better Christian nor bring complete fulfillment in my life.

I probably should state this in one of the tabs of this blog, but I do not correlate an abundance of money with happiness nor a lack of it with despair. I also do not believe money is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:10 states that, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.”

I’ll state this again because I think it drives my point home: money is reflective and representative of my priorities and values. Hard work and diligence were embedded into my psyche by my father. When I go to work, along with my skill set and work experience, I bring with me a can do anything attitude and relentlessly work my tail off. My employer, in gratitude of the service I provide in fulfilling their needs, show me gratitude in the form of monthly paychecks.

With those monthly tokens of appreciation my wife and I plan and dream, and vice versa. First we take care of our own household. 1 Timothy 5:8 states, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.” So we budget and plan first and foremost taking care of our own living essentials: shelter, food, utilities and clothing.

But the fun is only just beginning from that point J! From there we dream and plot out ways to make those dreams a reality. From saving to retire early to saving to vacation to saving to buy our first home together to giving away a tithe of our net income, we dream and put together a tangible plan to make those goals happen.

Giving though is the most enjoyable part of the entire process. Even with money we set aside to travel with and use for monthly entertainment we still find ways to use that money to give. Let me happily tell you that when you get excellent service at a restaurant and had a phenomenal meal, it has filled me with impeccable jubilation to leave a 20% or even a 25% tip in cash, yes it is entertaining to see the waiter/waitress freeze in their tracks – do a double take – and reconcile the bills laid down with my seriousness, but it’s even more than that. To me it’s letting someone know, with tangible dollars, that I appreciate their care and attention that made my day that much more special. It’s even more fun to be travelling during the holidays and when you see a military service member walk into the same establishment, to covertly and anonymously pay for their meal.

I’m not saying any of this to brag or make myself a big deal. I am hoping that this piece, and this blog for that matter, inspire you to change how you see and handle money and transform your household, your legacy and those around you. My wife and I have been blessed over the last 4 years. We held an open heart to be receptive to God’s word on how to handle the financial resources available to us. In turn we are slowly building a rolling snowball of our own to find unique and inspiring ways to be a blessing to others. I’ll throw another biblical verse out there because I can, Genesis 12:2 says that God said to Abraham, I will make you a great nation, I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

God had huge plans for Abraham and his legacy. In following His call Abraham would be blessed (wait for it)…and in turn he and his household were blessed so that they could be a blessing to others. Personally I do not feel that God called me to become debt free, invest and earn over 12% on my returns, tithe my net income, all to head off to Atlantis to never be heard from again. The biggest central message in my walk, that resonates the most with me, is to be blessed to be a blessing. To help spread hope, and tangible steps to get there, to as many people as will hear me with an open ear.

So money is not evil, in fact as Dave Ramsey says, it’s actually in fact amoral. What I do with the resources I am provided, how I treat it and how I use it, truly says a lot about my values and character.

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