Breathing Room Week 3: Our Finances
Dear brothers and sisters,
Breathing Room is the gap between how we are living our lives on a daily, consistent basis, and our limits. We need to live with breathing room in order to be followers of Jesus Christ, because otherwise we tend to become self-centered and self-focused in order to simply survive and keep pace. So, we all need to step back to find breathing room. In the first week, we talked about “counting the cost” to know what our limits are and how we are living in relation to those limits; and then to find wisdom of heart to make the necessary adjustments in our schedule, work life, etc. Last week we looked at what to do when we are overwhelmed, and to protect ourselves from feeling overwhelmed by coming to Jesus, connecting or yoking ourselves to him. Today we are looking at financial breathing room. Jesus said and taught a lot about money. On one level, it doesn’t matter how much we make – more money never brings us more peace and happiness. Only breathing room brings us peace. We can choose to live in three different ways: below our income level (and having breathing room), at our income, or above our income level. A few Scripture passages can help us with this – first Proverbs 21:20: Precious treasure and oil are in the house of the wise, but the fool consumes them. The fool perhaps makes $75,000 a year, but he also spends $75,000 a year. Perhaps many of us start out our adult lives behaving like this, but we need to learn otherwise. Proverbs 22:7 says, The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. When we spend more money than we have, we become a slave – this could be to our credit cards, the car dealership, family members, college loan creditors, etc.
Obviously, all of us want breathing room when it comes to our finances, and so does God – he wants to lead us there. Many of us have made bad choices in the past, but we can learn wisdom from those who have figured out strategies in how to live better financial lives. Last year, our parish piloted a program called, “Financial Peace University,” and the participants learned ways to attack debt, and adapt a “Give, Save, Spend” strategy. If you would like to learn more about this program, please contact our Business Manager Lorraine at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for Small Groups:
Last week we discussed coming to Jesus when we felt overburdened. Did you have any opportunities to do that in the past week?
Think about how you have managed your money over the last 3-6 months. What would you have done differently? How well do you document your expenses so you know where your money is going? How did you learn that system? Is there some spending you could cut to produce greater breathing room in your finances? How difficult would it be for you to make that cut?
Read aloud Proverbs 21:20 and Proverbs 22:7. How would you describe yourself right now when it comes to your finances? Are you wise, a fool or a slave? Why?
What is one thing you can do to create breathing room in your finances?