By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor
One of the most insightful presentations from a Christian conference was by Pastor Rick Warren, author of the bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life. He said that he was not financially independent because of book sales. Rather, starting from age eighteen he gave a tithe to the church and invested another ten percent. He also maintained a simple lifestyle by living in the same house for the last twenty-two years, driving the same car for twelve years, shopping at Walmart and he has never owned a boat or a plane. By the time he reached his mid-forties, he was financially independent. He did not need to work to make a living; he ministered because he loved it. Later, when his book earnings reached a substantial level, he requested that he no longer receive a salary from his church.
It was insightful because Warren’s simple financial advice was completely different from the way I was taught to handle finances. Even though I majored in economics, in terms of viewing finances as a Christian, I was either uninformed or had a wrong attitude toward money. I came home and started reading Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover. It was jarring at first because his view seemed extreme. However, I gained insights about some of the money pitfalls that I was falling into. His book helped me to gain a better perspective on financial stewardship. In short, that’s when I realized that I did not adequately educate myself in this area. I only had one rule, tithe to God! That’s good, but I still lacked practical financial education. I’m discovering more and more that this deficiency is found not only in pastors but many others in our society. I’ve read articles by educators pleading for more education on basic finance and investment matters for students in public schools.
Thankfully, Andy and Karen Briscoe will be offering a class on one of Dave Ramsey’s books. He wrote it with his daughter and the full title is Smart Money, Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money. The class will begin Oct. 16 with a ten-minute introductory presentation to parents of our Confirmation 2017 class on Oct. 2 in the Chapel. I’ve observed many who made poor financial choices that adversely affected their lives for many years. Moreover, I did not have the resources to steer them out of those pitfalls. You might not agree with everything that Dave Ramsey teaches, but I believe it will be a first step in helping your family (especially your children) to have a healthy, loving and Christian perspective toward finances. Please plan on joining the Briscoes for this wonderful class.