Pocket Full of Shells… Wait, I Mean Lint

Im so broke after paying my credit card bill, bloated mortgage, and new car payment.

"I'm so broke after paying my credit card bill, bloated mortgage, and new car payment."

How many of you can identify with this article (thanks to Bob Roberts, Jr. at Glocalnet)? 

Why does it take a suffering economy for us to try and place our finances under the Lordship of Jesus? 

Why do we complain about being broke when it is our own doing… and when billions in our world live–well, it’s more like die–on less than $2 a day?

How can churches help their own and those in the communities around them when it comes to this issue that doesn’t say, “Get your finances straight so you can give to the church” and, instead, shines the love and grace of Jesus on people?

Leave me some feedback…

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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7 Responses to Pocket Full of Shells… Wait, I Mean Lint

  1. Laura says:

    We’ve been talking about this a lot lately, haven’t we? You know how I feel about the whole, “preach about tithing so that the preacher can get paid” bit!

    I think getting people first to realize that we as Americans have been brainwashed to believe that money equals happiness and that consumerism is the way to a better life. The whole “American dream”–life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (But somehow that turned into the pursuit of wealth and fame.). America, well the media, instills in us this desire to look fabulous, dress fabulous and keep up with the neighbors. We want bigger homes, bigger cars, and bigger boobs. We will go to any length to get it–just like the lady in that article who put her down payment on her Mercedes on her credit card and subsequently racked up a $500,000 tab!

    I don’t think churches will make any progress just by teaching people how to manage their finances. It isn’t just about managing your finances. People need to hear more about the sin of coveting, of greediness, and the love of money. People’s financial life will not improve until they lay all that aside and make Jesus their priority. Too many churches get in the habit of preaching about ‘stewardship’ and the only thing they tie it to is tithing. There is much more involved in being a good steward of God’s blessings than just tithing 10% of your income every week.

    And don’t even get me started on Creflo Dollar or Joyce Meyers or any of those over paid, over rated ‘evangelists’. Creflo doesn’t care how well you manage your money as long as you put some in his offering plate. And Joyce sits her butt down on a marble topped antique $23,000 toilet everyday. I really don’t think she cares about anyone’s credit card debt.

  2. Aaron says:

    Well said, babe. I’ve noticed recently that a lot of churches are moving toward preaching and teaching about stewardship, but moving beyond the tithe. They are moving more toward overall financial health–getting your debt paid down, giving to your church first instead of the leftovers, etc., but I’m not sure it’s going far enough. We’re learning what not to do (rack up credit card debt, give God the leftovers), but we’re only learning two things to do (give to your church, live within your means). These are all good things, and I’m totally behind giving generously first to your church. But what about being generous with others? What about making sure that there are no needy folk among your church? A vast majority of churches can’t say they have any needy people in their midst… or their budgets down allow a lot of room for providing for the needy (beyond throwing money to organizations that keeps them away from actual person-to-person contact). What about being ready at a moment’s notice to help someone outside the church–the dude on the street corner holding the cardboard sign, the homeless guy on the street? What about intentionally finding someone who needs help? I’m just starting to see these things myself, and am wondering how I can do a better job of being generous in these ways beyond being generous with my church.

  3. Heather says:

    I agree with both of you guys. Generally, people don’t like to think about their finances when they are in a bad situation, but it is such a major stressor in marriages and in life in general. The article says, “The churches’ efforts are timely.” No they’re not! What about when people were making those bad decisions that got them to a crappy place? What about the people who signed a $3000/month mortgage just because they could at the time? You know me, and I am one of the first to stand up against injustice, and sometimes people just get in a bad situation. But I think this “housing crisis,” for the most part, isn’t because of interest rates or the economy or anything else – it was caused by greed. People bought more than they could afford. Yes, the gas prices went up, groceries went up, etc, but that’s why it’s important to (if you are able) not live paycheck to paycheck. And many more people are able to stay out of that trap than think they are. How many people do you run into EVERY DAY that say “OH, I’m so broke.” I have always wondered how so many people could make so much more money than me and still be broke.

    It’s funny that Reber and I were just talking about this the other day too. People think it’s so restricting to live by a budget (I use that term loosely because ours is not very strict at all) but it is really freeing. Who wants debt? Uh, not me. And God has really been working in our hearts in this area too. Reber used to always REALLY want stuff like video games and shoes/clothes or whatever, and now he is thankful when he has the opportunity to buy something, but it’s a totally different attitude. I have been learning for the past couple years that just because something is on sale doesn’t mean I need it! Basically, we hardly buy anything. And because God has changed our attitudes, we always have more than enough, and definitely everything we need. Granted, we both work full-time and don’t have kids, but it’s nice to know that if one of us lost our job, we wouldn’t be on the street.

    For those of you reading this thinking, “she probably had money all her life.” WRONG. My dad was a small-town teacher and my mom worked various jobs including part-time custodial and fast food jobs. For a while it was just my dad working with us 2 kids. Thankfully, he was good with money and I learned a lot from him. For example, when I went to college, the total bill was probably about $90,000. I got $4000 or $8000 (can’t remember) from my parents, and the rest I had to take care of through loans, scholarships, and paying for it myself. I worked 20 hours/week and paid off what I could instead of buying a billion CD’s and beer and eating out all the time like most college students do.

    Now God is working with us to not just waste our money, but to be generous with it too. If you listen, He shows you all KINDS of ways to do it!

    I hope this doesn’t sound judgmental (it’s not meant to be), but it’s hard to see people struggling financially that don’t have to! I think our society has the need/want thing all messed up. I feel very strongly about this issue and I don’t know how to talk to people about it because people don’t want you to know about their finances…I agree with you guys that it’s way more important for the church to talk about changing our hearts instead of just arranging our finances (although some people need help with that too…)

  4. Aaron says:

    Well said, Heather. Sometimes it takes a few hard knocks for people to realize where they are. And sometimes (myself included) it’s easy to get distracted, and get off track. Laura and I still have some debt to pay off (I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of the school bills!), but we’re getting there, and learning to be generous at the same time. Budgeting is a big part of that–it’s that weird paradox: setting boundaries is actually very freeing (you don’t spend your ass off, and then several years later feel so imprisoned by a massive amount of debt).

  5. i will share to young people in our chruch

  6. Melissa says:

    I agree with all of what you guys are saying. We don’t really have credit cards anymore. And frankly, I have too many people discussing their financial problems with me than I would like. All of my hubby’s friends’ wives feel they should discuss those issues with me. And I feel bad for those that are struggling until I see the decisions that they are making. For example, one couple is eating primarily bologna and ramen noodles for the past couple of months. I had them over to eat a couple of times to help them out. Then they turn around and spend money on unnecessary things like an X-box playstation, going to the movies, etc. It seems every week I am hearing another story about how broke they are, yet they’re spending their money on the wrong things. It’s sad! People claim that we are lucky that I am able to stay at home…truth is, we make sacrifices so that I can do this. With only one income, we make some tough decisions about things. Jason is great with money, but I am definitely worse…I like to spend! So, it’s an exercise in learning how to be more thrifty 🙂 But like my mother-in-law says people usually can find money for the things that they really want.

  7. Aaron says:

    Hey Melissa,

    That last statement says it all–people find money for the things they want. Unfortunately, most of the time the things they want aren’t what they need or what’s truly important… and that gets people in all kinds of financial trouble.

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