“Same as Cash,” “You Belong Here” and “You’ve Earned It” are all examples of phrases to run from when it comes to personal finance. If same as cash were truly the same as cash, people wouldn’t need to pay for a TV over 24 months. When it comes to personal finance, far too many let the tired old saying “live on less than you make” bore them. It seems it’s an idea not sophisticated enough for the average American– and pastors are not excluded. “Leveraged” on the other hand, tends to have just enough sophistication to garner attention. This explains the following CNBC report from May of 2017: “Americans owe a lot in credit card debt: More than $1 trillion. That’s greater than the GDP of all but 15 countries.”
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)
When it comes to personal finance, debt is keeping people from winning. In 1961, a few months after losing the NFL Championship Game, Coach Vince Lombardi took his team back to the basics. He walked into training camp holding a football in his hand and said these words: “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He took his team back to the basics, and six months later his Packers defeated the NY Giants 37-0 to claim the NFL Championship.
Winning in personal finance requires going back to the basics. If you’re struggling to win, go back to the basics. Sit down at your kitchen table with your paycheck in one hand and pen in the other and say these words out loud: This is a paycheck, and I will not spend more than I make. Then write out your tithe check followed by a plan on how you’re going to spend the rest. Let those two things be the guardrails of your financial plan. Every plan should begin by paying yourself. In other words, put something away for a rainy day.
When it comes to saving, Paul gives these instructions: “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2 Apply this same concept of giving to ministry to your own personal savings goals. Set aside something so that when a need comes up, you won’t fall into the endless cycle of credit card debt. There’s an old saying that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. The same logic holds true when it comes to savings. You can’t go back, but you can start now.
None of this may sound as sophisticated as leverage, but leverage is keeping many people on the losing side. Go back to the basics and prepare for a winning season.
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Luke 16:11