I mentioned a few months ago as I wrote about a biblical basis for savings that I would eventually get to talking about Dave Ramsey.
Today is that day.
When my wife and I were newlyweds we read Dave Ramsey’s now famous book Financial Peace. It seemed common sense to me, but we knew so many people in college who had gotten into serious debt that we took his advice to heart. It has paid dividends ever since.
I have always been careful with money. Or, as my wife would tell you, I’ve always been a tightwad. I’ve loosened up a bit over the years, but the only reason I have is that our finances are in order, and I can thank the principles that Dave Ramsey laid out in his book as forming a big part of my understanding of saving and frugality.
As I wrote elsewhere, I don’t think it’s practical to compare the economy we live in to the economy that was evident in the Scriptures. We have to take the virtues and teachings on money found in the Scriptures about living in an agrarian economy and plug them into living within a globalized capitalist economy. It’s kind of hard.
What we can glean though, in a reading of the New Testament, is that we should be wary of money. It can act like a god. We can worship it. We can become consumed by it, addicted to it, and destroyed by it. We can also do great things with money. We can help the poor. We can build an endowment for widows. We can give of it freely for use within the church. All of those things necessitate money, particularly the saving of money. How could one buy the pearl of great price or sell off their extra land and give it to the church if they had not first saved up the money they had? When we must choose between God and money it is not a choice between the two. In reality, it is a choice really between God and Self: will I use my money for the glory of God or will I use it to glorify myself. But it’s a tricky line, that glory.
We recently bought a home. We saved and saved and saved. It took seven years to get to a place where we could buy a house on the terms our family felt called to buy it on. Some may say that is spending money on ourselves instead of giving it over to God.
Yet, what if I were to tell you that in our diligence, through our saving of money over seven years we are debt free, paid for two college degrees out of pocket, paid for two cars with cash, paid for two children to be born and saved enough so that we could buy a house, allow my wife to stay at home with the kids and for me to stop collecting a corporate salary and work at International Justice Mission. Our diligence saving allowed me to serve at IJM. Frankly, we probably wouldn’t have been able to make the adjustment for me to work at IJM if we had school loans to pay off and car payments to make. But through our slow, diligent saving, we as a family were able to chase the calling God laid on our hearts. And I think that brings glory to God.
And we owe a lot of that to the advice given by Dave Ramsey and countless others. It worked!
How has financial advice helped you out?
Do you think God works actively in our lives through our finances?