Monday Musings – August 13, 2012

Dear Friends,

I am so pleased the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace series is coming to our church.  And so grateful to Jeff and Janel Pickens for bringing the class to us.  Dave Ramsey teaches exactly what my dad (and mom, but especially my dad) taught me.  Work hard, save as much as you can, don’t borrow money, and a little self-denial in the short-term will pay off big in the long-term.

I was reading from Proverbs13 this morning.  Several of the verses resonated with this.  Verse 7:  “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.”  I think of Sam Walton driving around in his beat-up 25-year-old pick-up truck.  And I think of all the people who are driving in beautiful new cars that are financed with huge monthly payments that will continue long after the car is junk.  Verse 11:  “Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but he who gathers little by little will increase it.”  I think of lottery winners who more often than not burn through that “hastily gotten wealth” and end up in worse shape than they were before they hit it big.  And I think of that newly married couple with the discipline to sock away a few dollars each month who by retirement find themselves richer than they ever dreamed possible.  Verse 22:  “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”  Dave Ramsey speaks of changing your family tree.  The truth is, wealth often is inherited, but not so much in actual dollars as in the attitudes toward money that can make all the difference in determining one’s financial destiny.

All this was going along so well with what I already believe.  I love it when Bible does that!  Then I came to verse 8.  “Being kidnapped and held for ransom never worries the poor.”  That one got my attention.  I suppose it’s literally true.  I don’t think I have to worry about being kidnapped and held for ransom!  But there’s a deeper truth here.  Accumulating wealth is not the purpose of life.  Those who believe it is often end up wealthy, but always end up disappointed.  As Jesus said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:5). That’s a deep truth none of us can afford to ignore!  However much or however little we might possess, it’s in generous giving that we find life’s deepest joy.

O God of rich and poor alike, help me to be content with what I have.  Help me to think before I accumulate.  Help me to be a distributor rather than a hoarder.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  (From Proverbs: Timeless Wisdom from the Bible in Expressive Calligraphy by Timothy R. Botts)

In Christ,

John