J and I want to be used by God in whatever way He has for us. Right now, we feel that we are called to live and work in this area, and sometimes I wish that was different. I wish our calling was a little more… spiritual. Being in the trenches of relief and rescue in the middle of Africa sounds way more exciting than an ordinary middle-class life in the suburbs of Raleigh. There is a perception of extra special blessing and calling from God on those kinds of people, and for a long time I was jealous that my life didn’t take that direction.
But the more I read God’s word, the more I realize we are all given the same commands and the same mission. The people serving in full time ministry were not given special instructions, we are all called to serve the poor, care for orphans, and love our neighbors. Just because I have a normal 8 to 5 job doesn’t mean my role in the Body of Christ is any less valuable than those who work full time in ministry. There are plenty of orphans and neighbors in Raleigh that need some love.
We also see a great opportunity to be used in a mighty way through our finances. One of my favorite things about getting out of debt and financial secure is the ability to give. Oh my gosh I love it. Oftentimes being wealthy gets a bad rep. It sounds kind of selfish, doesn’t it? And of course it can be, but I don’t think it has to be.
Ya’ll, we have some big dreams for our money. Some simple, some practical, some crazy. Some are a little selfish, like going on trips, saving for retirement, blessing our family, etc. But most of our dreams are to bless those around us and those who do work in full-time ministry. We want to use our money for good.
For more details, or if it’s easier to read in text:
- Buy a house cheaper than we can afford so we are in a position to give generously and not be stuck in ridiculously high payments.
- Save for and buy new used cars in cash so we don’t have to finance ever again.
- Go on an international trip before we start a family.
- Increase the amount we save for retirement, and don’t touch it until we retire.
- Give away at least 15% of our income to our church, missionaries, and local organizations. Give more if we are able!
- Have a savings account to use for random acts of kindness or spontaneous needs that friends or family have.
- Move to a house with a live-in basement, or create a space in our home, to provide families or couples or students free or cheap housing whenever they need it.
- Continue to support our missionary friends, and take a trip to visit each around the world.
- Start one or be actively involved with a local ministry that fights injustice.
- Adopt a child (if God calls us to), and/or help other families afford adoption.
- Have a gift drawer or closet full of treasures to bless friends and family with.
- Grow a garden full of flowers and plants to fill my home and give to friends.
- Have a kitchen full of fresh healthy food to feed anyone that stops by.
- Save and afford to go on one missions trip a year (or every other year) as a family to teach my kids about other cultures and experiences.
- Save and pay for our children’s undergraduate college education.
- Pay off our house early.
- Save and pay for our children’s weddings.
- Bless our grandchildren with trips and gifts and memories.
Oh my word, just looking at this list fires me up. I want to be able to give generously, live fully, and invest into relationships. Of course we don’t need to be rich to do any of those things (except for maybe the trips), but it’s about choosing people and experiences over stuff. God’s kingdom over my kingdom.
At the end of my life, I don’t want to have wasted this time. I want to look at all of the resources I have — money, talents, gifts, relationships — and be satisfied with the way I used them. It reminds me of the parable Jesus tells about the servant who managed the bag of gold wisely:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” – Matthew 25:23
If I want to bless others in a big way in the future, I have to cultivate that attitude and start blessing others with the little I have today. I need to live simply. Save and stay out of debt. Be diligent and work hard at my job. Give more than what is comfortable. And invite people into the mess of my life today.
What are your big money dreams?