About a year ago our landlord, who speaks absolutely no English, knocked on the door to collect our month's rent. When SuperDan answered the door our landlord reached out his hand and simply replied, "Gimme the money, honey." Ya gotta laugh at that. Seriously, where did he learn that phrase? Probably some dumb Hollywood movie :)
Money money money. Such a touchy subject. It has destroyed marriages and corrupted nations.
1 Timothy 6:10 says: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
Some people are good with money and some people aren't. Some people have learned the hard way because they dug themselves into a huge hole and couldn't find their way out without some help.
Luke 12:34 states: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Show me how a man spends his money, and I can give you a pretty accurate estimate about His relationship with Father.
Matthew 6:19-20: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
When I was growing up, I loved saving money and hated spending it. My parents never told me I couldn't spend it, I just didn't want to. I remember saving all my dollars and coins from babysitting for months in a little secret jewelry box on my dresser. I would occasionally dump the box out and finger through all my savings with a big smile on my face. One time a lady I babysat for called me up. "Hello Casey! I'm trying to balance my checkbook, and I realized you never cashed that check I gave you a few weeks ago. Do you think you could cash that soon, please?"
When we'd go to McDonald's as a family, I would immediately focus my eyes on the dollar menu. I figured if I ordered two items it would only cost my parents $2.00 (I always got water as well to save money). My mom would exclaim, "Casey you don't have to order the cheapest items from the menu. Please get anything you want!" I still ordered from the dollar menu anyway.
I was able to write a check (in full) to pay for all of my college the week of orientation freshman year. When we were asked to pay an extra fee our senior year unexpectedly, I took a job being the R.A. mentor for my dorm floor to count towards that extra fee. I always worked side jobs throughout college cleaning houses and babysitting. I even worked as a sample lady at a grocery store once (I was stuck way back in the frozen foods section and I was FREEZING! No fun. No fun my friends.)
So you can image I felt pretty frugal compared to most. But then I met my husband. You see, I am frugal. But SuperDan? He is like.... crazy intense hypo frugal. While dating we were discussing our goals and desires in life. We talked about how we wanted to give lots of money away all the time forever. We had never mentioned the word "marriage" yet nor talked about our future together... but with a twinkle in his eye he replied, "I think we're going to be poor because we'll always give our money away." (OH MY GOODNESS did he just say "we"? I think he wants to marry me!)
Now that we've been married almost 5 years, I can say without any hesitation that Father has always provided every single one of our financial needs. For our whole lives. Always. The only time we've been in debt was to buy our house. We put endless hours of work into it and after selling it we ended up "in the black".
We've never owned a new car or made payments for one. In the states we always bought used cars. SuperDan maintained them then resold them. We had this awesome yellow Mustang for a while- people must have thought we spent tons of money on it. We didn't.
We try to give as much money away as possible. I get the hugest "high" when I give to a cause I feel is worthy of our donation. I feel much more light and free when I give money away rather than buy tons of things for myself. Now don't get me wrong, I like to shop- actually I am quite the accessories girl :) But my point is we try to give more money away than we spend on ourselves.
Many times we've said "no" to ourselves when we wanted something, giving way to patience, knowing that we may get it someday when the time is right. We wait until things are on sale before we purchase them. We do our research. We don't impulse buy, even if we really really want something.
I think America has groomed us consumers to "get what you want, when you want it." Add that on top of "keeping up with the Jones's" and you have a destructive cycle of debt and materialism.
When SuperDan and I got our credit scores tested in order to start a bank account together in America, the bank worker came back stunned and shocked. She admitted that she'd never seen better credit scores between a couple- ever. I'm not gonna lie, I felt pretty happy hearing that :)
My point here is not to brag about ourselves. My point is to show that when we use our resources to honor Father and extend His kingdom, He blesses us back 100 fold in return. Why does the love of money have to be this disgusting disease crippling and suffocating our world? Being a slave to money must be a horrible thing. I hope and pray the Lord protects me from this sin. If He has to keep me poor forever to help me avoid the love of money, than so be it.
And actually that is a funny topic. "Being poor". The majority of middle class America would probably consider us poor. But compared to about 80% of the world's population, we are rich. It's all relative. When we compare ourselves to others and what they have, we feel like we "need it too". But do we really?
We don't make much money, but we've always had our needs met. Always.
I hope and pray this world can see how the love of money is the root of all evil. I pray the vicious cycle of greed and corruption will be broken by the power of Father's hand.
To end on a slightly funny note, here's the car my grandfather bought me when I was 16 years old. I drove it all through high school, college, and my first few years of marriage. I used to pray to Father that as long as He kept the car running, I would continue to use it to bless people by giving them rides.
Sadly, this picture was taken the day we took it to the dump. This old Buick didn't look pretty, but she sure did prove faithful.