There’s a thirty-something I know who looked out his window the other day to see his neighbor urinating on a garage. I asked him what he did about it, and he said, “I just smiled and waved at the guy. He was very embarrassed, believe me.” This thirty-something, he very recently made a decision to buy a duplex, and now he and his family are living in one unit. They’re going to rent the other. It’s only temporary, but the thing is, his strategy comes with sacrifices. The unit is small for his family of three and his large dog. The purchase stretches his budget to the max, and then a little beyond. And–well–occasionally he might see his next door neighbor urinating on a garage. Nevertheless, I think this thirty-something has made a very wise decision only a small percentage of people make. He is Continue reading
There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. –Genesis 47:13
Years of Plenty
Kathy and I were so excited. Mortgage interest rates were all the way down to the 6% range, and, if you were willing to accept an adjustable rate, you could get down into the 4s.
I remember saying the words to Kathy, “Money is on sale, we should borrow as much as we can.”
So we did.
We borrowed, and then we borrowed some more. I could hardly believe what our banker was telling us — he almost never said no. We bought real estate, then we bought some more real estate. And our properties appreciated, at a record setting pace.
We were experiencing the years of plenty.
Years of Famine
You might be surprised to learn, if I had a time machine and could go back to do it over again, I’d borrow as little as possible. Why? Because that was the world’s way, and not God’s way.
The world says, “Buy it! Buy it now and pay later! You want this. You need that. Just borrow and get it now.”
“You deserve it!” The world says.
Why does the world relentlessly hammer away with these messages, day after day after day? They do it because it makes them money! They do it because you believe their message, and act on it. They do it because the system is set up for the world to win, and for you to lose. The companies attempting to convince you to borrow want to make money — at your expense.
God, on the other hand, doesn’t need your money. All of your money is His money to begin with anyway. And while the scriptures don’t prohibit borrowing, God does portray it in a negative light. “…the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 tells us. Borrow and you’re a slave to the bank. Borrow and you’re a slave to the credit card company when they raise your interest rate. Borrow and your spirit is a slave to the weight of debt hanging over your head.
Your financial well being doesn’t come from your income, your net worth, or your financial portfolio anyway. Research shows, whatever your range of income, financial well being comes with consistent saving and an avoidance of borrowing and high risk investing. Many financial advisers tell their clients not to pay off their homes, even when they’re able to, so they can write off the interest. But people living with a great sense of financial well being tend to ignore this advice. It turns out (not surprisingly) managing your finances God’s way brings peace. (see Well Being by Rath and Harter)
In our text, in Egypt and Canaan, there was no food. The seven years of plenty are over and now Egypt and Canaan are experiencing the seven years of famine.
You know what? That’s how it always is. Always. No economy moves in a straight line. Every economy has its years of plenty and its years of famine. Any casual student of history knows that. And God’s word tells us how to manage our finances in a way that accounts for these economic ups and downs.
Joseph saved during the seven years of plenty. The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down, Proverbs 21:20 tells us. Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer, we’re told in Proverbs 30:25.
So any time you have the opportunity to save, jump on it!
You can always anticipate a time of famine ahead.
Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children. (Genesis 47:12)
Manage your financial blessings according to God’s word — and you will too.
Harvard researchers have determined credit cards provide a psychological uncoupling from the money we spend with them, which of course creates a tendency toward the accumulation of debt. But the current financial system also provides opportunity for saving. Automatic payroll deduction into a savings account also uncouples us psychologically. A short time after it’s in place, auto-deducted savings are out of sight and out of mind, and are more easily maintained. (Well Being, Rath and Harter)