Random Scraps: It’s not about the Money

Note: Okay, so I’m going through my old drafts of posts I started but never finished. I feel like I’m so removed from when I first wrote them that it wouldn’t make sense to complete them, but they are interesting enough that they might create some conversation, so I’m putting them up.

Financial clarification #1: It’s not about the money
I felt like it is important for me to address two points that were brought up by readers as to what they understood me to be advocating for: the pursuit of not having money and Poverty as righteousness.
I realize that I might come across as advocating for these two things because what I AM advocating for is so radically different then what are culture presents to us. In a culture that is so focused on the accumulation of wealth a statement like “give freely” comes across as odd and as an extreme. In a culture that says your lifestyle should be grand regardless of income level a statement about living on what you need rather then what you want seems rather backwards.
I know we are trying to talk about finances here, but do me a favor for a moment and forget money exist at all. No such thing as money. My points are still the same. Going to a college like Wheaton makes it difficult for you to question that type of lifestyle since you and so many other “Christians” at the college are living it. Hoarding your possessions is not what Christ calls us to, rather to give freely.

On Clothes.
I never felt too poor to afford something, but I knew somethings where just too expensive. Let’s use the example of clothes. You might find this funny, but in middle school and half of high school I was all about name brands. I wanted the nike swoosh on my shoes and my t-shirt. Here’s how my mom handled clothes. We would look in the closet at the beginning of the school year and decided if and how many jeans, shirts, and shorts I needed. Then she would allot me some money for each item (it was about $15 for jeans, $5 for a shirt, and $10 for shorts). If I wanted something that cost more then that I had to dig out my allowance, babysitting and lawn mowing money and pay for the additional cost.

Jesus does say the Poor are blessed with the Kingdom, that’s at least worth pondering.

There was some interesting thoughts and issues brought up in the comments on two previous post: Your Problem with Giving is Probably you, and A Major Flaw of Wheaton College.

I felt these two thoughts where important to address in our Finance lessons so here is…
Financial Lesson #3: Money is simply a mean’s of trade

One thing my parent’s did a good job instilling in me just by example, was that money wasn’t really a big deal. My dad has switched jobs a lot, and my mom has worked varying amounts (sometimes full-time other times half-time) throughout my life. Never did I feel like there was a correlation between their work and how much money they working making and how well off we were. I never felt poor, I never felt rich. You see, money wasn’t that important, what dictated our lifestyle was our values. My first real job was at Pizza Hut. Before that I had picked up bunches of odd jobs through my dad (he owned a temporary employment service), and I enjoyed that cause they were simple jobs and they usually paid well. But the summer after my sophomore year my dad told me I had to go out and get a job myself. Why? It wasn’t to make more money, it was to learn to go out on my own, it was about values. Money isn’t that important, what should dictate our lives is our values. If God had “blessed” my parent’s as billionaires my dad would have still made me go out and find a job on my own.

I don’t know if that helps to give a little perspective of where I think some of my mindset comes from. The two comments I want to address are: “a person’s goal becomes to not have money” and “poverty is righteousness”
I am NOT advocating for either of these. I think the reason both of these commenters have come to these interpretations of what I have been saying is because money was misinterpreted as being a high priority. Here’s what I mean.
When I talk about Wheaton College and how expensive everything is I don’t mean to focus on the money. I mean to say we are like the Rich Man with the beggar Lazarus outside our gate. It is not about the money it is about our value that God does not call us to store up wealth, he calls us to care for the needs of others.

I would be silly to advocate for “poverty is righteousness.”

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