Thursday, July 24, 2014

Financial Thursday

Well, not really…the blog has not turned into a financial magazine or anything like that, although if it was my husband’s blog…it would be a different story. Dan is the financial guru of our family.

At any rate, it's just that I woke up today thinking about financial issues, and it is Thursday, hence the title.

Proverbs 22: 7b was in my mind,

...the borrower is slave to the lender.

And he is, indeed. The lender has much power over the one who borrows. The lender has the power to put shackles in the wrists and ankles of the borrower. The lender has the power to persecute those who owe him money, and to throw the dogs after them, sending the borrower into a frantic chase for his freedom…for his life. There is no peace for the borrower who finds himself in this situation, only frustration and a deep sense of defeat that brings him to his knees.

He becomes a slave.

The borrower becomes a slave to the monthly bills, to the installments, to the mortgages for that is the only way to keep himself above water. If money begins to run out when the payment comes due, he experiences lack of sleep, loss of appetite, fatigue, anger, panic, aloofness, depression and an all-encompassing stress-ridden-existence. When things get to a boiling point, the borrower becomes one-track-minded. The only thing he wants is to be free. In order to be free, he could choose a couple of roads. He could flee or he could intensify his efforts to get from under the press that crushes him.

If he flees, he will never be truly free. The consequences of being a fugitive follow him until he gives himself up. Intensifying his efforts to pay his debt implies tremendous sacrifice, often, a change of lifestyle, significantly downsizing, a personal acquaintance with frugality and enlisting the help of those who love and care for him…mainly, enlisting the help of God.

I don’t want to be a slave to anything, let alone a lender. My husband works very diligently in organizing our finances and keeping us on budget so we don’t have to. He has truly set us into the path to financial freedom for the last few years, and for that I am most grateful. I could not have done it on my own. I am a free-spirit-girl who loves to shop! But as a free-spirit, I also value my freedom greatly. That’s why I am on board with the constraints a budget puts on a care-free lifestyle.

I have learned to sacrifice most of my wants. I have learned to delay my gratification as much as I ever thought possible. I have learned the power of saving and investing. I have enjoyed the peace that comes from not abusing the credit card. I praise God for guiding us on the road to freedom from the tyranny of the paycheck to paycheck life. But I have also learned that the other extreme is just as bad.

We can easily become enslaved on the other side as well.

We can become slaves to our savings accounts. We can become crushed under the press of the volatility of our investments. We can be ridden with stress in our intensity to cancel all debt.

If we are not careful and discerning, we may place our trust in our perceived financial security and fall asleep over a faulty safety net. It only takes one second for it to be all gone. It only takes one misguided and ill-intended push of a button, and boom! Identity theft, cyber break-ins, Market crashes, world-wide economic collapses, viruses, worms…done…all gone…

What are we to do then?

I don't know about you, but I seek to stand on the Solid Rock. 

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62: 1-2

Only standing on Him, my Solid Rock I will not be moved. I won’t move because He is unmovable. Let the waters rise. Let the storms come. Let the fire burn. Let the mountains quake. I shall not be moved. My anchor holds because it grips the solid rock!

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6: 24

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Proverbs 11: 24

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 1 John 2: 15

As it is often the case, the key is to strike a balance. A couple of things in this verse from Acts spoke to me,

You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20: 34-35

Paul was a big advocate for working hard and not being a burden. He made sure those he served were aware that he was not there to exploit them financially as the false preachers were in the habit of doing. He rolled up his sleeves everywhere he went and worked for his sustenance. 

By the same token, however, he was always mindful of the weak. And that’s how he created the recipe for a balanced financial security:

-when able, work hard and don’t be a burden to others 

-don’t extort others for money

-always help the weak. GIVE!

May Love and Compassion guide our path as we navigate our financial future so 1 Corinthians 4:1 may be fulfilled in us: This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Linking with:  Hope in Every Season

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