Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby Step 7 – Build Wealth and Give

The final step is not a period to the process. It is not a finish line that you pass and suddenly, you are fabulously wealthy. Wealth building is the natural result of doing smart things with your money.

But, this is not why we are passionate about having financial peace. We are not doing this to become future millionaires. We are doing this because of what God has done in our lives throughout the last three years.


In one of the lessons, Dave says something that comes off funny: broke people cannot help broke people. Even while I laughed, I wondered if this was true. I have seen people who are natural givers – unfortunately, I was not one of them. There was always something that would come up in my family that would need attending. I simply could not afford to help.

But was this a financial issue, or a heart issue?

Cindy and I discovered that in Baby Step 2, once our budget was working, there was more than enough money in our household to meet our needs. When we started, there was always “too much month at the end of the money.” Now, we had money left over at the end of the month – and everything was paid.

Throughout this process, God was changing my heart. I had made stuff my god –and acquiring more stuff a chief form of worship. I am not sure when or where I realized that I did not have the desire for bigger or better, smaller and faster. I found something all together unexpected: contentment.

I am content with where I am, and with what I have.

Open Hand Policy

The international sign of anger is a clenched fist. I will be embarrassingly honest by telling you that I held my money with a clenched fist. In this process of finding financial peace, I realized that I had opened my hand and started trusting God with my money.

As this happened, He would test us by placing people in our path with needs to see if we would give. Whether through anonymous giving or contributing to special calls for help in church, this has brought a new found joy in our walk with God.

In the last paragraph, I made a purposeful mistake – it was never my money, it was always Gods. When I would hear fellow Christians say that, I would but on a good smile and say nothing. Ok, I was saying something like “Right!” behind that smile, but I was using my inside voice.

Here is another area where God has changed me – God said in Psalm 50:10 “and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” I believe it was Larry Burkett who added “and he owns the hills too.” I am just the steward of this stuff. Once I got this straight in my mind (and in my heart), God was able to open my hands.

We are Debt Free

Over the years, I have dropped a few posts about this program. I am sure my family thinks we are nuts, but there is a reason for our passion.

It freed us from chains we were unaware of.

Our marriage is flat out better. We talk more, we plan more. Cindy doesn’t stress out over money. I don’t spend everything we make. We are preparing for our retirement and our kids education. If I die today, Cindy will be taken care of because I have life insurance that will replace my income. And we are giving in ways that will never show up on our tax returns.

We express our gratitude to God by returning our time back to Him through coordinating FPU classes at church.

All of this because of seven very simple and logical steps. That, and also because God showed us what His word says over and over again about owing money: Debt is Dumb.

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