Core Value #2: Finances
I know people who get nervous and uncomfortable when the conversation turns to money -- particularly personal finances. They think it's unspiritual or crass. But money is important. The Bible even says so. Jesus talked about money quite often, and it's no good to try to be more spiritual than he was.
I mentioned yesterday that I have three daughters. As many of you can attest, raising kids is expensive. We don't do private schools and big vacations. But just the daily grind of providing for three growing children can be exhausting. They eat. They drink juice. They wear clothes, and the clothes eventually wear out. They outgrow shoes and pants and shirts at an alarming rate. They have to go to the doctor. And they occassionally break things that have to be fixed.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife was in charge of getting "end of the year" presents for Anabel's Kindergarten teachers. She went into a little antique place near our house to get that one last small thing. She found just the right thing, went to the register to pay for it and heard an ear-splitting crash behind her. My youngest daughter, Amelia, had pulled down an entire shelf of glass figurines. No one was hurt, but I think my Father's Day present might be $600 worth of glass shards.
God calls me to be a good steward -- to pay my bills on time, to avoid unneccessary debt, to provide for my family and give to worthy causes. I cannot do any of those things if I am irresponsible with my finances.
So, as crass as some may think this is, financial stability is one of my core values. These three little girls won't stay little forever, and I'm told they get more expensive as they get older. I've got college to think of. I have three weddings to pay for!
For a long time I was intentionally unconcerned with money. I simply assumed that if I did ministry, the money would follow. God would take care of all my needs, right?
I have since learned that God does take care of my needs, but he often does so as I practice the discipline of stewardship and learn to use wisdom in the area of finances. Financial stability is a discipline; it is also an apologetic in our society. It is not about living in opulence. It is about honoring God by using wisdom with how I handle my money. Jesus even said that the way a person handles their money reflects the way they view God.
That being said, financial security is my second core value.
As I think through big decisions, the first filter I will use is, "How will this impact my family?"
The second filter I will use is, "How will this impact my finances?"