Archives For Work

       In the last part of this series, we looked at how God created us to work and our need to work. Today, we’re going to look at God’s call for Christians to work hard.

Glorifying God with Our Work

       There are many examples in the Bible where God calls us to good works for His glory. However, we’re going to look at a few that specifically pertain to our temporal work as a means of glorifying God.

       In 1 Thessalonians, Paul encourages the church at Thessalonica to lead lives that will set a good example to those outside the church:

       11 …and that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we instructed you; 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (WEB)



       When we work hard and lead respectable lives we glorify God’s name. We show people the fruits of the Spirit within our lives and give them no reason for attacking the Church because of our actions. Our honest work also provides for our needs and beyond, enabling us to honor God by giving to the needs of others as well:

       34 You yourselves know that these hands served my necessities, and those who were with me. 35 In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Acts 20:34-35 (WEB)



       We ought to work hard so that we can support ourselves and have more left over to give to those in need. It is in this way that we can honor Jesus’ teaching to give generously and care for the poor. When we combine our hard work with contentment in Christ, we’ll find that we have even more to give to the poor. If we can be content but continue to earn more, we can do even more in Christ’s name and to the glory of God.

       When we accept Christ, our entire mindset changes. We are no longer concerned only about ourselves and our own needs. Christ’s love in our hearts urges us to do what we can for those in need – even changing those who were thieves into workers for God:

       Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.

Ephesians 4:28 (WEB)



       It is with that mindset we should approach all our work. We are no longer working just to meet our own needs (and then our wants) – but we are working so we will have something to give to the needy. And all this is not for our own glory and recognition, but all for the glory and honor of God.

       So let’s remember that when we work, we should work as if we’re working for the Lord. (Colossians 3:23-24) For the fruits of our labor will further the fruits of the Spirit by enabling us to give more and more in Christ’s name. And it is in this way that our work can glorify God.

       In the next part of our Personal Finance Bible Study, we’ll look at God’s desire for Christians to work hard and diligently. While contentment helps us to spend less money, hard work helps us to earn more money. When combined, these two values create a powerful force for giving generously in God’s name.

       We’ll begin this part of the Personal Finance Bible Study by looking at God’s call for Christians to work. Next, we’ll talk about the value of work in our lives. Then we’ll look at the dangers of too much rest, followed by the need for rest. We’ll finish up by discussing God’s business values and ethics so we can honor Him in our work.

We Were Made to Work

       From the very beginning of Creation, part of our purpose was to work. When God created Adam, we see that He assigned Adam the task of working in the garden of Eden:

       Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:15 (WEB)



       Part of the way we honor and worship God is by working to glorify Him. God created Adam and put him in the garden to work. Our human nature has not changed since then. We still need to work to honor God. Our work may look very different from Adam’s, but there is still work we must do.

We Need to Work

       Government aid programs aside, we cannot survive for long if we do not work. If we do not work, we cannot earn money. (All forms of income require work at some point in time.) It’s as simple as sowing and reaping. If you don’t plant a garden in the spring, you’re not going to have vegetables growing in your back yard in the summer. It’s also true that the harder we work, the more likely we are to find success. Solomon gives this advice clearly in Ecclesiastes:

       4 He who observes the wind won’t sow; and he who regards the clouds won’t reap. 5 As you don’t know what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child; even so you don’t know the work of God who does all. 6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening don’t withhold your hand; for you don’t know which will prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both will be equally good.

Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 (WEB)



       Many of us find security in having a paying job with a regular paycheck, but we also know that there are no guarantees. Just because you have a job today doesn’t mean you’ll have it tomorrow. This is not to say that we should live in fear, but we really do not know what the future holds. Solomon encourages us to continue working in the evening hours so we have something to fall back on if our primary work falls through. Start your own business part-time, and if you lose your regular job you’ll have something to fall back on. Or maybe they’ll both do well and you’ll prosper even more.

       I’m not saying we should all go out and become workaholics. The advice Solomon gives here is more along the lines of diversifying your sources of income. If you rely completely on your regular paycheck and you lose that, it’s going to hit you pretty hard. But if you have multiple sources of income, losing one of them won’t hurt you quite as badly.

       We see between these two verses that we are made to work and we need to work. Next, we’ll look at how our work glorifies God.

Ruffling a Few Primerica Feathers

Corey —  September 8, 2010 — 10 Comments

Sparrow with Its Feathers Ruffled by bterrycompton on Flickr       Last week I wrote about why I hate MLMs (multi-level marketing companies). It seems I’ve ruffled a few Primerica feathers with my comment on the company. I received two emails from Primerica agents last week – one who I know has been reading for a while and another I’ve never heard from before.

       Both emails essentially said that I don’t understand what Primerica stands for or the value of “network marketing”. (By the way, that’s just another name for multi-level marketing. You get your family, friends, and neighbors to buy from you and recruit them to work under you. Then they do the same and so on. You can make a little money selling products directly, but the big bucks come after you’ve developed a huge down-line or “organization” as Primerica calls it.)

       Now I don’t want to end up in a saga like Lazy Man and Money’s with MonaVie where people start threatening to kill me or blackmail me because of my opinions. But I do want you all to be aware of the truth about Primerica before working with them. My concerns about Primerica can also be applied to many other brokerage companies and insurance companies, but Primerica seems a little more dangerous to me because of the focus on recruiting you for their business opportunity and not just selling you their financial products.

       So I thought it might be worthwhile to do a bit more digging to see what I can learn about Primerica – their products, their “business opportunity”, their training, and so on. Since I’ve been trained in financial planning and have experience in the industry, I can cut through the jargon for you and plainly explain what’s going on.

       Unless you all have objections, I’ll begin writing some posts where I look at the different aspects of Primerica and help you understand what you need to know about the company. Here’s how you can help.

       If you’ve had an experience/encounter with Primerica, please share your story in the comments or contact me directly. This includes learning about the “business opportunity”, meeting with a friend of yours who started working for Primerica, or any other experience you’ve had with the company. I only have one limited experience with Primerica, and finding accurate and comprehensive information online about the company can be difficult.

       Also, if you’ve got some questions about Primerica that you need answered now, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I may use your question as the subject of a post, or I might just write you back with an answer/analysis.

       My goal is to give you the most honest, objective, and accurate information I can about Primerica, its products, and its business opportunity. My hope is that this information will help you make a good, informed decision so you won’t waste your money or your time. Until I have more information on here, I can only advise you to question everything. Thanks for helping me as I try to help you!

       The Silicon Valley Blogger (SVB) had a post up Friday about MonaVie and the ongoing drama that Lazy Man and Money faces as he tries to expose it for what it really is. If you’ve been approached by someone selling MonaVie’s miracle juice, I strongly encourage you to read what Lazy Man has written about them.

       I left a comment on SVB’s post that I wanted to share with you all. She asked for thoughts on MLM, MonaVie, and the like. Here’s what I had to say:

My thoughts on MLM? I HATE IT!

I hate that people relentlessly pursue their family and friends (and their family and friends) just to try to make a quick buck (with a shoddy or overpriced product).

I hate the social obligation that we often feel to support people doing the above.

I hate that people get sucked in to what they think is a “real” business when all it really does is suck up their money and pass it up the line.

I hate the brainwashing that makes it impossible to talk any sense into your family and friends.

I hate all the wasted time and resources that go into these things when people could do so much more on their own or even just with a reputable company.

I say more power to Lazy Man! If he gets only one person to turn away from MonaVie (or any other MLM), he’s done the world a favor!!!

(Side Note: I think Primerica is another terrible offender in this arena because of the damage they and their products can do to unsuspecting consumers. I’ve seen this first-hand with my own mother.)

Now let’s see how many of your readers have already joined the MLM cults. :)



       Maybe I’m being harsh, but I just don’t have much tolerance for these shams – I mean, wonderful opportunities to become your own boss…

       What do YOU think about MLMs (any of them)? Let me know in the comments below! I’ll be happy to discuss this with anyone who wants to talk about it.

       P.S. If you’re considering getting involved in a MLM or buying from someone who is, I’d be glad to talk with you for free. Maybe we could find a better business model for you or look at the true value of what you’re about to buy.

       This is the final article in a ten part series on how to get out of debt. If you haven’t already, you should check out the previous articles:


Step 10 – Don’t Get Trapped Again!

       You’ve finally paid off the debts that have been dragging you down. You’ve topped off your emergency fund so you don’t have to rely on credit cards when things go wrong. You feel like you can rest easy. But your journey isn’t quite over.

       It’s taken a lot of work to get here. The last thing you want to do is go back to the patterns that got you into debt in the first place! I’ll be the first to congratulate you for reaching your goal, but the true measure of your success will be your ability to continue using the skills you’ve learned in this process. If you get back into overspending and not preparing for emergencies, you’ll have to do this all over again. I don’t think you want to go there.

       So to make sure you don’t get trapped by debt again, let’s take a few moments to consider what you’ll need to do to retain this success. My hope is that the process of paying off your debt has changed your habits so that you’ll maintain them for the rest of your life. But you’ll have to keep your eyes open so you never fall into the pits of debt again.

  • Limit Your Use of Debt – Debt can be useful for some situations, but using a credit card because you don’t have the money isn’t one of them. Limit your use of debt so that you only consider it as an option when it is wise. Buying a home, getting an education, or starting/expanding a business can be good reasons for using debt (but not always). There may be times when debt appears to be your only option, but make sure it’s your choice of last resort and that you absolutely need whatever it is you’re paying for.
  •  

  • Continue to Track and Optimize Your Spending – The single best way to make sure you prevent overspending is to keep an eye on what you’re spending and review it regularly. The simple action of tracking your spending will naturally lead you to spend less because you’re consciously thinking about every dollar that leaves your hands. You can also use the information you collect to find the areas where you can cut back on things that aren’t important to you.
  •  

  • Look for Ways to Earn More – If you’ve been in debt for a while, it’s likely you’re a bit behind on saving for retirement and other financial goals. To catch up you not only need to decrease your spending but you also need to increase your earnings. Combining those strategies will leave you with the money you need to save and reach your goals. Advance your career, earn some money on the side, or start your own business – there are many ways to increase your income.
  •  

  • Keep Your Emergency Fund Stocked Up – If you have to use your emergency fund, be sure to replenish those savings as soon as possible so you’ll be ready for the next Murphy’s Law event. Also, don’t look at that money as your “spend on anything” fund. It’s there for a purpose. Only use it for that purpose!
  •  

  • Have a Plan and Save for the Future – You got into debt because you didn’t have a plan. Fail to make a plan now and you’ll probably end up in debt again. Make a plan, choose your goals, and figure out how you’ll get there. Save for those goals so you won’t be tempted to use debt on a whim.
  •  

  • Learn to Find Contentment – Finally, seek contentment in all things. Comparing ourselves to others, wanting what “they” have, and not being happy with our situation all lead us to living beyond our means. And living beyond our means leads to debt. Discover what’s truly important in your life, eliminate what isn’t, and set your own standards for success and happiness rather than letting others do it for you.



       That’s it for this series! As I mentioned in the last part of this series, my plan is to combine these ten steps with some valuable resources to help make getting out of debt achievable and easier. Make sure you’ve signed up for free updates to Provident Planning so you don’t miss out when I release this invaluable package! If you’ve signed up for free updates, you’ll be sure to see it as soon as it’s available.

       Have you gotten out of debt and stayed out of debt? How did you do it? What has been key to your success? Let me know in the comments below!

The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook
 
       Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance #271 – The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Edition! My friend Craig Ford at Money Help for Christians is launching a new eBook today. It’s designed to help you discover the secrets to successful budgeting.

       I think it’s a great resource for anyone who’s ever struggled with budgeting, so I’ve included some quotes from his eBook throughout this carnival. You can get the book for 30% off if you buy before midnight (EDT) August 31st, 2010. Be sure to read through to the end of this carnival because I’ll be giving away two FREE copies to two lucky winners!

Editor’s Choice

       Here are my top picks from the submissions this week:

  • Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Dealing with Investment Confusion, and says, “What’s the best approach to dealing with the confusion that comes from being a new investor?” – [Mike shares some good advice for people who are confused about investing. It won’t immediately cure your confusion, but applying this strategy over and over will help you make informed decisions you can stick to.]
  • Briana Ford from Go Banking Rates presents Why Americans Can’t Afford to Die [Infographic], and says, “If you never thought about this problem before, take a look at how expensive funerals really are. You may discover you, like many Americans, simply can’t afford to die.” – [What can I say? I’m a sucker for infographics.]
  • Len from Len Penzo dot Com presents A Simple Trick to Get Your Credit Card Interest Charges Waived. – [I wish more people realized the power of Len’s simple trick!]
  • Lauren from Richly Reasonable presents 4 Bad Deals, and says, “The term “Bad Deal” is relative. Not only is Necessity the mother of Invention, she is also the mother of many a Bad Deal. Necessity has a TON of children.” – [Funny, smart, and witty – and likely to open a few eyes at least!]
  • Jacob A. Irwin from My Personal Finance Journey presents Adjusting My Monthly Budget to Account for Home Ownership, and says, “A look at the steps I have recently taken to adjust my personal budget to account for the various elements of home ownership.” – [At our current rent rate owning a home just doesn’t make sense. Just look at all the costs involved!]

       Congratulations to the editor’s choice picks! Here are the rest of the articles from this week’s submissions.

Money Management

  • MD from Studenomics presents Quick College Students Guide To Personal Finance.
  • Jason from One Money Design presents How Do You Live Well on Less Pay?, and says, “There are plenty of people that don’t make a lot of money and have trouble covering basic expenses each month. There are 5 essential tips to follow to live well on less pay.”
  • Revanche from A Gai Shan Life presents Shopping for the single life .
  • ispf from Grad Money Matters presents The American Dream of Home Ownership: 10 Things You Can Do as a Student.
  • Jim from Wanderlust Journey presents Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Shareholder Benefits.
  • Jason from Live Real, Now presents Check Your Bills, and says, “Can you automate your finances too far?”
  • Elle from Couple Money presents Financial Tips for College Success, and says, “Many college students are surprised to see how easy it is to build a financial foundation for themselves. Learn how to set up bank accounts, pay your bills, and start a graduation fund.”
  • DE(a)BTh from Murder Your Debt presents Your Wasted Life, and says, “You thought financing a house and a fast car meant freedom. That an expensive education would lead you to a rewarding career where you could earn lots of money. You were wrong, weren’t you? You hate your career but you’re stuck. You’re stuck because you swallowed the lies you were sold. The lies that material possessions bring success. The lies that more money means more happiness. And now what? You’ve got it all; the cars, the house with the huge yard, the sexy outfits and shiny shoes. But you’re STILL not happy!”
  • vh from Funny about Money presents Social Security’s Bizarre Rules, and says, “Social Security’s restrictive rules make it impossible to get out of poverty when unemployment forces one into early retirement and stock-market losses militate against retirement fund drawdowns.”
  • J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents What would you do with an extra $1,000?, and says, “Montel Williams wants to know ;)”
  • Bob from Christian Finances presents How to spend unexpected income: 3 questions to ask, and says, “It can be tough to know what to do when you receive a large sum of cash – this article will give you some questions to help you figure out what to do with it…”
  • Mr. GoTo from Go To Retirement presents How Much Long Term Care Insurance Should You Have?, and says, “Insuring against a long term care event is part of personal risk management. Estimating the amount of long term care coverage to obtain requires careful consideration of several factors.”


If you are working 40 or more hours a week to earn your money, don’t you think it is worth an hour or two to set up a budget?

Isn’t it worth spending about an hour every week to manage the money you work so hard to earn? It is always better to manage what you have than to work yourself crazy trying to get more money.

- from page 21 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


Finance


Investing

  • Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents 33 Dividend Champions to Consider, and says, “Dividend investor David Fish has created a list of dividend stocks which have raised distributions for 25 consecutive years and has named it the dividend champions list. His list includes 100 companies, which is more than twice the size of the Dividend Aristocrats. I ran a screen on the list in order to identify stocks for further research.”
  • Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Use the Loonie’s Strength to Invest in the Eagle Market, and says, “Canadian dollar is strong compared to the US dollar at this time. Use this as an opportunity to invest in US stocks.”
  • Div Guy from The Dividend Guy Blog presents Dividend Investing with Less Than $1,000 Part 3: How to Pick Your ETFs and/or Dividend Funds, and says, “Starting to invest is quite motivating but as a young investor, you must put greed and hype aside and start by looking for sound investments.”
  • Squirrelers presents Small Stocks = High Return and High Volatility, and says, “Small stocks, particularly those in the lowest deciles, have performed very well over the long-term. They can be an important part of your asset allocation, provided you can stomach the associated risks.”
  • D4L from Dividends Value presents My Top 6 Performing Dividend Stocks Just Might Surprise You, and says, “As I have stated many times, my goal is to create an ever growing income stream from dividend stocks. Secondarily, it is my desire to beat the S&P 500 over time. With that said, I rarely look at the capital performance of individual stocks. However, I recently sorted my portfolio by Total Gain % (total gain/basis) and was mildly surprised at the top performers.”
  • ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Investing for Inflation in 2010.
  • DSO from High Dividend Stocks presents Big GE and it’s big dividend, and says, “One of America’s oldest and most prestigious companies has become an accidental high yielder.”


Budgeting in and of itself is useless.

Budgeting is part of a larger financial plan.

- from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


Budgeting


Saving


Frugality


You need to focus your finances on accomplishing one major task at a time.

If you don’t, the danger is that every dollar will be diluted to a point that it makes little impact helping you reach your goals.

- from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


Debt


Credit


The goal of the budget is to help you spend less than you earn.

Therefore, this becomes the single criteria for an effective budget – does it help you spend less than you earn?

- from page 12 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


Reviews

  • PT from PT Money presents Free Prepaid Credit Cards, and says, “A thorough, original review of the best free prepaid credit cards, including those that are free of activation and monthly fees. These cards are great for those who need to avoid debt, or those that can’t get a traditional bank account.”
  • Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard Review, and says, “Here’s a review of a credit card I actually like.”


Real Estate

  • FMF from Free Money Finance presents How to Hire a Home Inspector, and says, “When you buy a home, you need to be sure you hire a good home inspector to identify any potential problems. This post gives tips on how to do this.”
  • Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Should You Upgrade to a Larger Home”, and says, ”
    In many markets, home owners are looking at homes in the next price range up as good buys, since foreclosures and a slow market are resulting in good deals. But, as tempting as it is to upgrade to a larger home, is it really a good idea? Here are some things to consider before upgrading to a larger home.”
  • Rob from Two Wise Acres presents 3 Things to Avoid When Buying a Home, and says, “When buying a home, it’s critical that you avoid these three credit mistakes.”
  • ctreit from Money Obedience presents Do renters really save money in the end?.


Taxes

  • pkamp3 from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… presents Tax Incidence, and says, “Who really pays for a tax when it is enacted? If the government enacts a new tax on washing machines, is the entire tax on Maytag? The consumer? Cameron Daniels breaks down the details.”


A budget lets your spouse see your values and priorities in a tangible way.

A budget forces you to communicate not just about your life goals, but also about your daily financial preferences.

- from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


Career

  • Kristina from Dinks Finance presents A DINK in The Office, and says, “As a married or unmarried employee with no children, are you treated differently than your colleagues with kids?”
  • Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Why did you go to graduate school?, and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss reasons for graduate school and how sometimes we’re directed into a career for the right reasons and sometimes we fall into it for the wrong reasons. But it turns out OK anyway (or maybe it doesn’t, but you can always change your mind).”


Economy

  • Bret from Hope to Prosper presents Trillion Dollar Public Pension Shortfall, and says, “An article in the New York Times stated that there is a $1 Trillion dollar public pension shortfall. Despite repeated denials from PERS and public employee unions, public pensions are in big trouble.”
  • JLP from AllFinancialMatters.com presents Democrats, Republicans, and the Federal Debt Since 1979, and says, “Though the title may suggest it, this is not a “political” post.”


Budgeting is a process, not an event.

You won’t wake up tomorrow with an effective budget. Instead, you will start with a decent budget that later becomes a good budget. Eventually, it is a great budget.

- from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


Other


The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Giveaway!

       As promised, I’m giving away two free copies of The Secret to a Successful Budget courtesy of Craig. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me how budgeting has helped you OR your biggest struggle with budgeting. I’ll use random.org to select two winners tomorrow evening (August 24, 2010) at 5:00 PM EDT so be sure to enter by then!!! I’ll update this post to announce the winners, but use a valid email address when you comment so I can reach you if you win. Good luck!

[Update: Laura has won a free copy of The Secret to a Successful Budget! Congratulations!!!]


The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook

I Am More Than My Income

Corey —  August 17, 2010 — 7 Comments

       A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article as a follow up to the post I did on creating a balance sheet and calculating your net worth. It was called “You Are More Than Your Net Worth“. In the article, I said this:

       There is danger in obsessing over your net worth – in defining your success based on a number. It is wise for you to prudently manage your finances, and tracking your net worth is part of that process. But you must always be aware that your value comes not from what you own but from who you are in Christ. It is in being a child of God that Christians find their true worth.



       I went on to quote a few Bible verses and back up my point quite well (if I do say so myself).

       But I have to admit something to you.

       Apparently, I still don’t get it.

       That’s right. I sat here behind the computer writing about how you shouldn’t base your value on your net worth. But last week, I found myself rating my value based on how much income I’m earning (or not earning, in this case). Let’s back up a bit and get the story.

Laid Off

       In late 2008, I was laid off from my job at a financial planning firm. (Stock Market Decline + % of Assets under Management Compensation Business Model + Recent Expansions + Less than One Year at the Firm = Bye, Bye Paul!) This happened about six months before I married Michelle. Since then, I’ve been working to start my own business, but it’s been a slow start. I’ll be profitable this year, and that’s saying something. But I’ve taken a huge drop in my income for now.

       I could have possibly found another job working at another financial planning firm. But the problem was that I was tired of conflicts of interest and I was tired of catering only to the very rich. After a lot of prayer and discussion with Michelle, we both agreed I should start my own firm and do it in a way that meshes with my ethics.

       Fast forward to today, and I’m working on growing my business and pursuing other ways to earn a living in the meantime. Thankfully, Michelle makes enough working as a nurse that we’re still able to meet our living expenses. God is caring for us during this time. But recently I’ve found myself depressed and judging my own value based on the lack of income I’m bringing in for our family. (It’s just us two right now, but we’d like to have kids someday.)

Who’s Really Running the Show?

       Maybe it’s a guy thing – I want to feel like I’m providing for my wife. But that’s just stupid really. Nothing I have or ever will have has come only from my hands. God has created everything, and everything I have or will have comes from Him. When I give, I’m not giving my money – I’m giving the money God has entrusted to me. When I provide for my family, I’m not providing my money from my hard work – though work is required. If I’m honest with myself, it always has been and always will be God who does the providing.

       When I start judging myself based on my income, I’m taking God out of the equation. My value doesn’t come from what I own and it doesn’t come from what I earn. None of that matters in eternity. My true worth is in being a child of God – and that is infinitely valuable. I was bought for a price that can never be repaid. In God’s eyes, I’m extremely valuable. And He is of the greatest worth to me.

The Currency of Love

       The funny thing is that Michelle has never valued me based on my income (or lack of it). And God hasn’t either. It is in my ability and willingness to love that I find my true value as a Christian and as a husband. And my ability to love suffers as I obsess over my value as a source of income.

       That obsession (and resulting depression) puts me in the service of Mammon and makes me into a workaholic. I work when I should be spending time with God or my wife. I think about work when I should be thinking about other things. This is not healthy for my walk with Christ or my walk with Michelle.

       I’m trying to take my own advice and see my value in the currency of love and not money. It’s not easy. And I’m not so sure it’s something that would be solved if I just earn more money. The root of the problem is not really how much money I’m making (or not making). The root of the problem is me – my perceptions of who I am and what my responsibilities are to God and to my wife.

       I am not dismissing my responsibility to work and provide for my family. But I am dismissing Satan’s lie that I am only as valuable as the money I bring in the door. I will continue to work hard and look for ways to earn more money. But I will pray for God to open my eyes to see my true worth and to have wisdom enough to restrain myself in the pursuit of money. Please pray for me as I continue to pray for all of you.

Your Thoughts

       Have you ever struggled with feelings like this? How did you handle it? How did God show you the truth? Please help me out and share your thoughts in the comments below.