Hamburgers, fries, chocolate shakes, and Dodge Avengers are out on display. New homes, apartments, kitchen countertops, living room windows, and vinyl siding appear on roadside advertisements some twenty feet tall. Our eyes see them, our wallets empty because of them, and only when self-discipline shatters the control of temptation can the average human stand a chance at survival in this world of plenty. So listen up, heed some good advice from someone who has learned the hard way exactly what happens when desire trumps common sense and self-control.
The Bible says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (Thessalonians 3:10 NIV). Since I first decided to get married and raise a family that has been my number one financial rule: I will work, and this will guarantee that I, nor my family, will ever go hungry. For twenty years this theory has worked quite well, but I still lacked wisdom in financial matters from day one. I followed this method: If I wanted something, and I had the cash or credit to get it, I purchased it. By using this financial practice, I left little room for unexpected expenditures. A washing machine that needs repairs, a car that needs a new muffler system, or a sick child in need of expensive medicine, just to name a few examples that have unexpectedly come my way.
Financial discipline is not easy. From the time we awake in the morning until we return to our bed at night we are constantly bombarded by commercials to excite us, entice us, and keep us in the red. When I was a kid, people called it “saving for a rainy day”, that need to have extra emergency cash on hand. Today, people talk about “living paycheck to paycheck”, and let me be totally honest here: I know all about the latter saying. Living paycheck to paycheck is no way to live. Trust me on that advice.
Start saving money in your teenage years. Save as much money as you can, always remaining vigilant against expenses that are not actually needed. Going out to eat at a fancy restaurant that you can’t afford makes no sense at all, especially when there is a cheaper restaurant available and the possibility of keeping the difference in a savings account. Saving is not an exercise in greed; it is a wise choice made by those genuinely concerned with controlling their money instead of having the “Mighty Dollar” controlling them. As followers of Biblical instruction we must not enter into debts we cannot pay, we must not covet what is not available to us, and we must not use ignorance as an excuse for our financial misgivings.
Delicious billboard treats line the roadsides for all to see, and it is the soul that has mastered self-discipline as a student of Biblical instruction who can easily resist the temptation of self-indulgence. A man of mighty character is much stronger than the Mighty Dollar we hear so much about.