Fathers, Finances and Faith

Happy Father's Day Pop!

When you grow up in a home where your dad is not only an accountant but teaches accounting, you learn about money. It is interesting to consider too, my dad's career, because he didn't grow up with money. My grandfather was a farmer in west Texas and then spent over 30 years working the oil fields for Gulf.

The most important lesson on money came when I wanted a new bike. "Everyone else" had cool dirt bikes and I had an old hand me down. I picked out this beautiful white Murray with red and white accents in a Wal-Mart flyer. When I went to dad about this need in my life, his response? Buy it yourself. So I went to Wal-Mart and put it on lay away. It seemed like months went by and they did, but finally I scrapped together enough to make the purchase.

That was one of the best days of my life. Oh, not the day I brought the bike home, but the day my dad said to buy it yourself. I did not like it then but I sure do now! It was a lesson that I have drawn on over and over and one I'm trying to pass on to my kids.

With the continuing struggles we are all having, that lesson my dad taught me maybe even more important and relevant. Recently, Church Relevance posted a blog on the10 Theories on High Gas Prices and Church.
In response, pastor Wes Shortridge speculated and I agree:
High gas prices will do two things: reorganize the church into community oriented ministries and reveal the out of order finances in America.
I'm thankful for the simple lessons pop and mom taught me and the ones I can pass down. Shortly, we'll return to being debt free with our last car payment (which wasn't much to start with) and excluding our mortgage. It may not be easy to live within your means but it sure beats living outside of them!

When did Jesus ever live beyond his means? The disciples? Take a glance through the book of Proverbs. Looking through the Bible, you find the same results with greed and abusing money as you do with having multiple wives and concubines: problems.

Do I ever get anxious about finances in my life and starting a new church? It sure wouldn't be authentic to deny it! That is why I need to hear Jesus' words reminding me:
"So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothes? "Look at the birds. They don't plant, harvest, or gather the harvest into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? "Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying? "And why worry about clothes? Notice how the flowers grow in the field. They never work or spin yarn for clothes. But I say that not even Solomon in all his majesty was dressed like one of these flowers. That's the way God clothes the grass in the field. Today it's alive, and tomorrow it's thrown into an incinerator. So how much more will he clothe you people who have so little faith? "Don't ever worry and say, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?' Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. "So don't ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34 GW)

May I Ask: Is the financial situation in your home and in our country impacting your life yet? Your church? What are you doing about it?
May I Suggest: Consider your faith and your finances. Are they compatible? Does it in fact, cause you stress and anxiety? If it doesn't, do you credit your faith or habits?

Check out the Shepherd's Helpers @ Jarvis Memorial UMC. It is a great ministry my dad helped to found.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken! Great blog on your dad. I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon! Also, can you please change my link on your blogroll to www.rethinkmoney.org . That is my new site! Thanks.

Hutto said...

"High gas prices will do two things: reorganize the church into community oriented ministries and reveal the out of order finances in America."

Maybe this would be true if gasoline went up to 40 bucks a gallon instead of 4. Let's not forget that many people gleefully spend 5 bucks for 20 or fewer >>ounces<< of coffee on a semi-regular basis. The concern over gasoline, really, is that we have a few dollars per regular trip LESS to spend on useless crap. Nobody in the clergy sector is going broke on gasoline.

Truth be told: We can really afford these increases, we just don't LIKE them very much.

I am by no means pleased that gasoline prices are in the 4-per-gallon range, I'm just not going to be convinced it's causing sweeping economic hardship till I see something major happen, such as professional athletes suddenly being unable to earn millions of dollars, beer companies going broke, Blackberry going out of business, etc.

Ken L. Hagler said...

"Truth be told: We can really afford these increases, we just don't LIKE them very much. "

I don't think we can. When on average the american consumer is spending 110% of their salary (because of debt), we can't.

The underlining tone of the blog I linked to at Church Relevance speculates that gas will continue to rise, thus we are speculating on possible consequences.

More families in my community are having to spend more time working, more time doing over time, and thus more time as individuals rather than families. This is a trend occurring across the nation. People are not traveling as much this summer. They are not traveling as far for purchasing needed items for their home. The effects on food and produce are increasing.

I also don't think I said anything about "sweeping economic hardship." Finances are on people's minds. Serious concerns and worries exist in the minds of middle class america. The fact that there are concerns and choices being made, gives the church the opportunity to speak on more than just tithing when it comes to money.

I'm thankful that for you, the gas prices don't have an effect. For others of us, it is a bit more real and it is the lessons my dad taught me that have helped us and that I'd like to pass on.

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