Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Much is Too Much? - Part I

 
I'll tell you one thing, I knew not everyone would agree with my thoughts on Dave, but I had no idea just how strong everyone's opinions would be. It has been insightful and interesting to read the comments. For the record, I welcome a different opinion, as long as it's shared respectfully. Don't ever feel bad about disagreeing with me. I'm one of those weirdos that enjoys debate and loves hanging out with people who don't think exactly like I do.

I do feel like I need to offer a bit of summary though, since so many of you commented things like "But I think it's important to live debt-free!" (uh yeah, me too!) So let me be really clear.

1. We did Dave's FPU class.
2. We had a small amount of debt and paid it off, because Dave's 100% right - being in debt is not good stewardship.
3. He helped us fully commit to living "debt free", like forever, man.
4. I started listening to his radio show whenever I could.
5. His intro shouts, in a big, boomy voice, "It's about piles and piles of CASH!!!!"
6. It seemed like his "Christian" nuggets were sort of casually thrown in, as an afterthought.
7. I thought it was weird, but I didn't lose sleep over it.
8. I really liked the idea of being a millionaire when we retired.
9. We have always been givers, so I knew giving would continue to be part of our life when we became millionaires, but...
10. I mostly just wanted to have piles and piles of cash, for me, for you, and for me.
11. I wanted to dress well and live well and eat well and give *lots* of money away.
12. We read Radical and I started to see that Jesus called us to a life that denies ourselves. He calls us to give everything. He finds it reprehensible when we make our lives comfortable while the poor people around us go hungry.
13. I began to think that building "piles and piles of cash" and living life the way Jesus commands are mutually exclusive. I just don't know that you can do both.
14. It's hard to give sacrificially when you have a pile of cash. It doesn't hurt. It could hurt, if you let it, but then you wouldn't have your pile anymore...
15. For me, it felt hard to really care about the things God cares about when I was also thinking about retiring wealthy.
16. But this is just my opinion.
17. This is the way God has led my heart, along with Cory's.
18. I think Dave loves Jesus. I think he's smart and funny. I like his laugh and when he says "crap" on air. (I don't know why.) I still get goose bumps when people get out of debt, because it's a BIG deal.
19. But being able to pay cash for something is not the only criteria for deciding if you should buy it.
19. I think everyone should take the first half of his FPU class and get the heck out of debt.
20. I just don't know that I can endorse the "Now go build your wealth!" portion, because that's not what I see endorsed in scripture.
21. I see this: "So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God." 1 Peter 4: 1-2

I do not want to suffer physically for Christ. I'd  just really rather not.

But what this scripture says to me is that God seems to pretty consistently tie "suffering" with "holiness". He seems to believe that it takes some Big Business to knock us off the path of chasing our own desires. He seems to think that when we chase our own desires, we aren't as anxious to do the will of God.

That's what has me troubled. It seems that I need less in order to have more of Him. Less stuff, less money, less pride, less me.

Nothing about my life is suffering. I can't think of a single thing. Of course I don't believe that Jesus wants us to flog each other so we can cross it off the list. I don't think suffering for the sake of suffering is the answer.

But I do think the painful gifts He has given us have started making us more eager to seek Him, and I think much of that "pain" has had money at its root.

As Americans, self-sufficiency is ingrained in us from birth. We are taught to be independent and capable. We invented the phrase "God helps those who help themselves" and we (mis)quote it as scripture. The Bible doesn't tell us to take care of ourselves first, save for retirement, make sure we aren't a drain to the government or others. It doesn't say to do all of those things as long as we tithe 10%.

It says He wants everything. It says He has everything and He's trusting us to do his business with what He loaned us.

So you see the predicament we're all in. We still need some stuff. And we want a whole lot more.

Where do we draw the line? How do we know what's too much? What's enough? What's selfish? What's "sacrificing out of pride"?

I don't know for sure. But I'll tell you what I think tomorrow. Because number one, this post ended up being much longer than I expected; and number two, I have five episodes of Downton to wrap up before I return the dvds tomorrow (a day late).

You're so worth it, Carson.

ps - Branson gives me the creeps.

71 comments:

  1. Sitting in your cheering section is fun. Sitting in God's cheering section is grand.

    I would have never understood this post five years ago. It's the living in the hard that makes you know.

    Thank you for being bold. God wasn't wrong on this.

    xxoo

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    1. me too. praise jesus for joy!

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    2. I totally agree. I would never have understood this post 5 years ago either. I think that this is hard truth but it does ring true to me. I love the advice about doing the first half of FPU to get out of debt but questioning the wealth building portion of the class is wise.

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  2. Branson gives me the creeps too. And so does Thomas but then he's supposed to.

    I love all your thoughts,but you already knew that. :)

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  3. I apparently need to watch "Downton". . . Our tastes (FNL) are so similar and all.

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  4. amen Amen and Amen :)! Totally respect your view and I'm right there with you:). BTW I so appreciate you bringing this up with Dave, something to think thru if we decide to have his coarse offered at our church. Love your insight!

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  5. It's that whole "camel-going-through-the-eye-of-a-needle" thing, right? More $tuff... more baggage. It's a fine line, I'm tellin' ya -- and this world is all about stuff!

    Re: Downton. Carson - yes! Love him. Branson... jury is still out.

    Hugs Shanny!!! ~Sal

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  6. Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa_2.html#MMXhAsjxSoZ9mSRC.99


    Girl, you are like a modern day Mother Teresa in the making!

    I haven't been around lately to read, so I'm not sure what this post is in reference to, but it was soooooooo good.

    I struggle with prosperity-gospel messages a lot. I just think that with all the poverty that surrounds us...locally, nationally, internationally, our message should constantly be to do with less...and give more!

    Amen, sister! Great job.

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  7. Girl, you speak my language. And also, tell Mr. Carson hello. And Daisy. She's the good girl of Downton. Big time.

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  8. I love your heart! Love it!

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  9. I always get raised eyebrows when I say I am not a Dave Ramsey fan. Thank you for putting into words what I never could seem to do. xoxo

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  10. I really appreciate your perspective on the Dave Ramsey thing. I totally agree, but sadly I hadn't thought of it! So many times my husband and I find ourselves relating being financially comfortable with being at peace. Our circumstances should never determine our peace! This is a great reminder. I might need to read it everyday! Thanks!

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  11. I hate branson!! Soooo creepy!! And by the way I think your financial journey has been inspiring even if I don't share all of your conclusions because it's all about seeking Jesus and finding His will. I'm glad you're writing this to challenge all of us to find out what his will is.

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  12. bring on part 2...looking forward to it!!!
    love and hugs to you, girlie!

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  13. BAM! i was trying to pick my favorite points but i couldn't. because they all are my faves.

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  14. i've said it before but i'll say it again. thanks for being the only person in my life who is willing to talk about this stuff. craving a nearby friend who will can push through "radical" with me!
    anne

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    1. Word to your mother! I mean I agree...

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  15. Love this! You expressed so much what I have been thinking. Although I do think it is Biblical to do our best not to be a drain on the gov't or others - - - but sometimes people go through rough patches.)
    Enjoy the rest of D.A.
    P.S. Have you seen the spoof "Downtown Arby's" I quite enjoyed it.

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  16. Very well said, and I love your heart on this. It's all true. Have you ever read any of Francis Chan's books (Crazy Love, Forgotten God)? He goes into a bit of this and the conviction God put on his heart. He basically gave up his entire cushy life because of the financial conviction God put on his heart. I also heard Carter Conlon preach one time on how God has never allowed him to save money. Every time he would get a little money in the bank something would go wrong, or he would be prompted to give it to someone. He says now that he knows he would have relied on the money and not on God. He has never gone a day without in his life due to his faith for God to be his provider.. not his savings account or his 401k. I think you have to understand true faith to understand these types of principles.

    *Just a side note- I would totally go into debt and give away all of the financial peace we have worked so hard for to rescue just one child from the horrible lives they are living in impoverished nations if I felt prompted to do so. What Christian wouldn't?

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    1. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!I listen to Carter Conlon all the time..words of God just flow from the preachers at that church! I have never heard this sermon, and now I need to go find it. So that is the reason for freaking 20 years now we have been broke.....?? Seriously we live that scenario. There has been so much upheaval in my heart lately about our predicament, and I KNOW, I am being stretched , and made to eat my own words on a grand scale this time...(trusting God) bigger than a little thing. It is hard and I was asking God to just take it all away from me. Your comment has sparked hope in me in ways you will never know. I am off to find a sermon.....Thank you. I know God will use this man to teach me, and let me know, what I need to hear. Thank you.

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  17. I love your honesty... and the struggle between do we hoard and keep when others are without and suffer?? It is so real and true, we should question our motives for Jesus did say "you can't take it with you."

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  18. We discussed this topic in class tonight at church. When is "enough" too much?

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  19. Thank you for being the voice I need to hear right now. We lost our only source of income two days ago, and up until now, I was fearful of what lay before us. You are always such a guiding light, and reminding me to rely on Him. I'm excited to see what God will be doing in my family's life. Thank you for helping me to see the light.

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  20. Maybe part of my dislike for Dave's program was that despite being debt-free ALREADY, we couldn't budget according to his percentages (I can't recall his recommendations, but it was like 25% of income for housing, 10% for utilities, etc). So what I interpreted was that we weren't "rich" enough to live like Dave, even though we didn't have debt. I'm not saying Dave is of the "prosperity gospel," but we felt like hopeless failures for not having enough income to live like Dave. Truly, our percentages of expense to income didn't match Dave ... it looked like we shouldn't be able to make it. But God provided!

    Anyhow, I just don't get Dave's dogmatic stance. It is common for a honest, hard-working family to have a low income or no retirement savings. It doesn't mean we were stupid or frivolous. This economy is rough, and more so in certain areas than others.

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  21. whoa girl, you really stirred up the nest on that dave ramsey post! i had NO idea you felt this way about dave! we must have listened to a different program. i see dave as being ALL about God, not just little hints of it here and there! this is SO twisted! i am over-exclamation-pointing! my feeling about dave has always been this - debt is bad, it's not biblical, you can't give money away that you don't have and if you do well with what you have you can retire and be self-sufficient. i find his message totally biblical. if and when i am ever debt free, i would love to do many things with extra money, but hoarding it never even crossed my mind (in as far as dave's concerned). but this is just my perspective! i'm sure he could be taken the wrong way. the idea that i can't give money away until my debts are paid - this may be a price for mismanagement of finances; i fully believe god wants us to fulfill our commitments to our debts - that is financial peace - peace that we aren't slave to the lender, not peace as in being comfy and having a lot that we can't stand to part with. oh my goodness, i hope we can still be friends! ;)

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    1. Apryl - I agree about not being in debt! (Why does everyone keep missing that? Ack.) I'm not here to condemn or bash Dave. I just wish he would not focus so much on "getting rich". THAT is what I find to not be Biblical. (I shall repeat myself until I'm blue in the face, perhaps.)To have a million dollars in the bank while others starve/die is, in my opinion "hoarding". But again, this is just my opinion. You know very well that I used to love Dave's message. But as my life has changed, I have started to hear it differently. It just doesn't sit as well with me as it used to.

      And I suppose we can still be friends. ;) Thanks for weighing in, Apryl. I love hearing where everyone is at with this!

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    2. I guess here is where I'll finally add my two cents worth...
      Shannon, I've been lurking on this Dave topic. We too are Dave Ramseyenites. Debt Free!(yay!) I too, love his radio shows and get the chills and tears when folks call in. I love that he is honest and says it like it is. Sometimes truth hurts.

      But you know what else I think is true about Dave? I bet if you would send this post/your thoughts/your story/this dialoge to him... he'd listen. He'd have the humility to hear you. Above all - we need to pray for him. He is in a place of much influence and people look up to him and respect him and that is a lot of weight to bare. It's a risky place to that "elevated" and I'm sure he could use our prayers.
      I'm just curious if you'd consider sharing this with him (if you could see yourself doing that) instead of gathering more thoughts about him from others or continueing to have to explain yourself.
      Don't get me wrong, Shannon. I LOVE your heart, your passion, your boldness and your honesty of where the Lord is taking you. Obviously the Lord has allowed Dave and FPU to be your bounce-board and the Lord is using your voice to go a step further. Perhaps taking others with you.

      I hope you hear my heart, in all of this. You've definity challenged my heart and my perspective. Thank you!

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    3. Hey Bevy! Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that he could use prayer. (I could use it, too.) :)

      I guess I don't feel especially compelled to send my opinion to him. I don't think he expects everyone to believe exactly the way he does. I hope my opinions have remained respectful - I do have a great deal of respect for him. He has done a lot to help many.

      Someone said it best in the last post - This discussion is more about how each of us has responded to Dave's message, and that will be different for each of us.

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    4. Shannan, In response to your first reply in this thread (I couldn't figure out how to add my reply there), I'm wondering: Is it the extent of the disparity (some people having millions while others starve) that you find troublesome (unbiblical) or just the fact that some have more than others?

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    5. What I find troublesome is when I care more about taking care of myself and making my life comfortable and beautiful than I do about the basic needs of others. I'm uncomfortable being told/believing that it's right or Biblical to live in excess.

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  22. Thank you for blogging. You truly see things clearly. Your willingness to share your insight is a gift to us all. Storing up our treasures in heaven is what we all need to be doing.

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  23. I just adore how you share your thinking. Simple. True. Real.

    And, I'm deliberating all of this for us, too. Right there with you on so much of this, friend.

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  24. i've never understood the philosophy that if you are a christian you must live in a hut and wear that as a badge of honor. i think that thinking is a bit distorted and self righteous. i did get a little sick though when i saw Dave's house somewhere. there is a line between being blessed...having enough and going crazy in a balizzion foot mansion. debt free or not, it just doesn't seem right.

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    1. I thought the same thing about his house until I thought of his income compared to his house and my income compared to my house. :( No matter what, I think most Americans (ME at the top of the list!!) are lively with excess. I recognize that I am. I guess the question now is, "how can I change?"

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    2. Actually, that is a really good point -- in some respects, it is all relative.

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  25. Our Pastor recently preached that God is ok with people being wealty as long as they give. That really doesn't sit well with me and I'm still working throug it all. I can't thank you enough for sharing your perspective with us! As always, I'm in awe of your courage.

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  26. Shannon - I totally agree with you. My husband and I used Dave's program to get ride of our car and school loans, and I really appreciate that! However, I too have had problems with the "building wealth" portion of his program. I've always felt that it puts too much on what we do and what we can save (when we really could be giving at least some of that money to people who really need it NOW) rather than on trusting God to provide for all of our needs. I'm with you on it! I just read a great book called "Subversive Kingdom" (actually I just posted a review and am giving away a copy on my blog because it impacted me that much) and it talked about how we Christians have bought into the world's consumerism without even knowing we're doing it. I've really enjoyed watching/reading your journey of obedience in selling your dreamhouse and moving on.

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  27. THis is almost strange I had to comment. I have been a huge supporter of Dave Ramsey, and took his teaching style on with all we've got for a few years. He came to our church about 3 months ago, and his message was so different than before. He spoke about the rich, and getting rich. Many people felt really mislead and dissapointed where his heart came through. I think what he says makes sense, but I think he's taken the heart of God out of it a bit more. Often my husband and I have had to make decisions that there was no way we could surrender to the poor and follow Ramsey steps together. We have since been refiguring through scripture. It reminds me of why scripture reigns..we need not look further often from it to gain the ultimate wisdom. The bible still is THE book of all books.
    Love what God brings to your heart here on your blog.

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  28. I have been ignoring Dave Ramsey for some time now, related mostly to reasons that have nothing to do with Mr. Ramsey himself. BUT... I remember hearing his show about 10 years ago and appreciating that he always answered the question "How are you?" with "Better than I deserve."

    I very much enjoy your thoughtfulness about money management. Also Downton Abbey. How long until season 3?

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    1. Yes!!! I love that he says that, too. Aren't we all better than we deserve? Perfectly said.

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  29. I absolutely love this debate. I'm one of those weirdos, too...the one who enjoys friend get-togethers where we debate about biblical issues over the bbq chicken nachos and hash out thoughts that make us think on all sides of the issues.

    Sadly, I haven't read any (I know!!!) of Dave Ramsey's books or taken any classes so I have absolutely nothing to add to this debate. I keep returning, though, to hear everyone's sides and, after I finish my other books I'm working on, I plan to get one and nestle in to see for myself.

    Thank you for not being afraid of what God has placed on your heart. Thank you for being different enough...bold enough...to share it despite the way it could be perceived to others.

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  30. Have you heard the song "Enough," by Shaun Groves? It is taken from one of the Proverbs ... "please don't give to me wealth or poverty." There are many other Proverbs about wealth too.

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  31. I guess I have always been a "peacemaker" and try to never pass my thoughts onto others. Both of my parents are pastors and I am so very blessed for them both who have passed on the great love of respect!

    My personal relationship with the Lord is my one priority. And, thankfully I am only accountable to Him! I truly feel that we all spend too much time focusing on OURSELVES and OUR own contentment. God's principles do work but how many of us have actually heard from God and had true confirmation for when it is His timing of what we feel He wants for us to do or be doing? God has always been my provider. The more I freely give, giving til it hurts and doesn't line up with my "plan" and give unto Him to whomever and wherever the need is, is when I feel the biggest heart release and grow that much more in my relationship with Him. His perfect plan is for us to always need Him and never find ourselves comfortable until we truly find Him with our WHOLE heart!

    Finances, yes are what keeps our world and this greater world functioning, but so does the power of prayer. If we would search our own hearts of where our time is most spent and lay hold of the simple biblical basics of prayer.....there is such power in it, enough to move mountains!

    Thank you for allowing me to share and for your accountability to the Lord!

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  32. You probably already know this but you are on polyvore! Saw a couple of different boards & recognized your adorable look right away! :)
    http://www.polyvore.com/saturday/set?id=48349006

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    1. Say WHAT? I had no idea! I almost scrapped that photo from the post b/c the lighting was weird in my cave-esque bathroom. Ha ha! Thanks for letting me know. :)

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  33. Thank you so much for sharing!! When I read what the Lord is doing in your life it only confirms the direction He is leading in mine.

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  34. I hear you. But, we need to be careful when referring to the "tithe." It was an Old Testament commandment, that was not a part of the New Testament church and their practices.

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    1. sorry, chunnym, check your Scripture. Its in the Gospels. Tithing is definitely a part of the New Testament Church also. I'd rather have my 90 % blessed by God than try to use my 100% on my own!

      Shannan, thank you for your transparency. God calls us all to that!

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  35. I never liked Dave Ramsey, not because of his ideas on wealth but because he's so rude to people who call in! Get over yourself Dave! FPFG, I love you. You are what I consider old school Christian, like my Mother who would get strange looks from people when she would visit prisoners in the county jail or offer the crazies in town a ride to the doctor or countless other selfless things she used to do. People didn't understand her because they didn't have faith like that. Neither do I. I respect it and admire it but I don't have it. I wish I did.
    Patti

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  36. I will just say:

    You know what you're doing. You know in your heart what God calls YOU to do, not your family members or blog readers, but you. What is right for you could be very, very wrong for ME. (That was supposed to be funny.)

    I just want to say that I totally GET why you're doing what you're doing.

    It's why that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt always resonates with me:

    Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.


    Ain't it the truth!

    I find your journey and your truth inspiring.

    Also: Have you ever read "Siddhartha"? I read it in my late 20's and the story is similar (in a certain way) to what (I think) you've experienced.

    LOL meaning "Lots of Love!" This time!

    xoxo~

    TT

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  37. We toss around in America that we are blessed if the bills are paid, we are healthy, and can eat anytime of the day without thought of where it comes from. But our family around the world are getting sick and dying because they drink out of a mud hole, and go with only a part of a meal a day. Does that mean they aren't blessed? Being thankful is always a given. But would we be thankful like they are for the little they have? A brother in the Lord from Zambia told Keisha once," You in America live a long life, but a very shallow spiritual life. We here in Africa live very short lives, but very deep spiritual lives." How true is that? God is at work and I love it.

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    1. We have no idea what we are missing...I dare say most Christians don't want to know. :(

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  38. I posted on your other Dave Ramsey post, but I'll just say one thing here. Money is not really the issue here. Sometimes we can be prideful in our "sacrifices" as much as we can be prideful in our wealth. I know this from my own heart. There are greedy rich people and there are greedy poor people. There are generous rich people and generous poor people. Greed is not an economic status, it is a posture of the heart. For most people stewardship has to be learned.

    I get what you are saying: It is good, even biblical to not be in debt. You feel God wants you to take your wealth and actively apply it the things he has laid before you in your life rather than save it for future plans. I wish you had stopped there.

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    1. Money is not really the issue here.... Greed is not an economic status, it is a posture of the heart. I couldn't agree with you more. I think this is the crux of the issue Biblically. Serving mammon has less to do with the extent of our possessions and more to do with how we possess them -- or whether they possess us. All that we have, including our finances, belong to God and should be at his disposal to do as he sees fit. And that will be different, depending on the person and the season in their life.

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  39. I love this post. And I have been a Dave fan in the past and recommended him to people. :) but you are so very right. I love following your journey and you are inspiring me to share more of mine on my blog. I just got back from a mission trip to Asia and I am having such a hard time with "home" and all we have...especially the American church. Ugh. But I had to comment today because I am reading a book that is making my heart hurt so bad...but it's good...know what I mean? It is by the founder of gospel for Asia and it is called revolution in world missions. I read This just after reading your post, "throughout scripture we see only one correct response to abundance." wow. Yes!!

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  40. Read, The 180 Degree Christian: Serving Jesus in a Culture of Excess

    by Carter Conlon.

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  41. my husband & i have a modified ramsey budget.

    but more importantly - downton abbey! i love it. you're spot on with your love for mr. carson. he and mrs. hughes need to fall in love.

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  42. "That's what has me troubled. It seems that I need less in order to have more of Him. Less stuff, less money, less pride, less me."

    That's one of my favorite lines in this post. I can feel ya here, sister. I think the struggle with how much is too much is very personal and in a large part determined by spiritual maturity. I know my viewpoint was much different 10 years ago than it is today, and I hope to keep growing more selfless as I get older. That's why I think it's key to operate with lots of grace for others in this journey, and let your life be the example that stretches them to grow. So far, I think that's just what you're doing through this blog. Keep it up!

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  43. I'm not sure how you manage...but you somehow are able to be honest, and yet not preachy. You question, but you don't pull out the too tall milk crate.

    I don't know HOW you do it.
    But, I'm very glad you do.

    Just saying :)
    Blessings.

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  44. Always, always making me think, FPFG. Interested in Part #2.

    As for the Downton Abby, I'm in love. I can't think of a TV show in a loooong time that I loved more, but I just watch what's on Netflix, and therefore, I'm behind. I think instead of returning those DVDs you should just send them to me. Thanks.

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  45. No lie, my word for the year is less. True that.

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  46. Amen sister. I have not done Dave Ramsey's stuff although I've heard great things about it. But I think the less we are tied to this world and to our stuff, the free-er (is that a word?) we are to love Jesus and do whatever and go wherever he tells us to. Is there too much we can give to Jesus? I kinda don't think so. I long to live my life in a way that is always giving to him. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  47. Started a little debate, did ya? :-) Love it!

    I'm completely with you. I believe that the Lord wants us to find a balance between being good stewards and not being hoarders. At some point, we have to leave it in His hands that he's going to provide for us and that He has plans for to help us prosper.

    Beyond that, i think we have a tendency to want to have checklists like David. "If I do this 8 thinks, then my life will be perfect and I'll be a good Christian." But it doesn't work that way. God doesn't have the same things for everyone so you have to be able to use judgement. Take what Dave's saying, pray about it and apply it to your life in way that you feel called to.

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  48. I am not going to comment on Dave Ramsey but I will give you my view on money- one that has served us well for 25 years now. Here it is....pray for God's will in your life in every major purchase- he will guide you to what you should/should not purchase. HE wants what is best for you and HE knows what lies ahead for your family so trusting HIM is the key. I warn you that you may not always like the direction HE leds you but I do know it will always be what is best for you. The other part is to be a good steward of the blessings you are given- they are not really yours but belong to HIM for HIS use- you are just in charge of taking care of them and using them for HIS purpose. A simple example may be in order here.... keep your car in good working order by changing oil on scheduule, keeping it clean inside and out and taking care of it like you appreciate the blessing it is. Use it as GOD directs- that may mean taking elderly friends to the doctor- picking up kids from school for a working mom. Your car should always be at the ready- ready for service to HIM. The more you learn to live this way, the more HE will use you. I do believe we are to prepare for the future by having savings so we can not only care for ourselves but so we can be used by HIM to care for others when needed. If you live your life below your means and according to HIS will for your life- HE will let you know if HE wants you to build up a good savings- HE may have plans for it for others and you are just HIS tool. We have been blessed to be in a position over the years to pay utility bills for others in long, cold winters, help pay for funeral expenses, provide vehicles, provide celebrations for those without family to celebrate to name just a few ways GOD has chosen to use us.
    If you want more info, let me know.

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  49. Your (first) number 19. Yeah. That.

    You have really got me shaking in my shoes, Shannon. (Alliteration much?) Seriously. Really making me re-think some things, loosen the grip, etc.

    I've never really followed Dave Ramsey. My husband, who works in finance, doesn't even know who he is. We never got into the Focus on the Family thing or any of the other Christian groups that tell people how to live their lives. (And, yes, we really ARE Christians.) We have always figured that God Himself told us how to live our lives when He gave us His word, so we try to follow that. Nobody really needs those other people to tell them how to live. And, for what it's worth, you seem to really have the hang of the following-the-Word thing.

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  50. This may have already been said. I didn't have time to read the comments, so here are my two cents for what they are worth. I think you can still retire a millionaire and live a comfortable life and do God's will. When the scriptures say to give all you have and sacrifice I don't think they are entirely talking about money, but more about time and service. Do you invite others into your home, do you share your belief of the Savior and his gospel? Do you spend your time doing only things for yourself or do you serve and help others? I think that is where true sacrifice lies. No?

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  51. A very rich man once wrote Mother Teresa a huge check. He gave it to her. She looked at it, and then looked at him, while she held it in her hands. She asked the man: "Was it hard for you to give this to me?" He replies: "No..no biggie." Mother Teresa tore the check in half.
    It's not giving if it doesn't hurt a little.

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  52. Loved the Financial Peace University Classes ~ am almost debt free ~ and it feels GREAT! one year to NO more Credit cards...

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