Financial Foundations



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Debt - Not the Greatest Danger

Recently the Lord has been teaching me an important lesson about money.

It's about the D words. For years I have been taught, and even taught others, all the evils of debt, especially non-tax deductible consumer debt  for depreciating items. Debt brings slavery.  This means losing personal freedom and being forced to give up our own time to work for others. I owe I owe -  it's off to work I go.

Now I am learning, as bad as debt can be, there is something much worse yet seldom even mentioned in financial forums. We all have been taught that financial independence is the ideal state. How much does a person need to be financially independent? One million, ten million, one hundred million? Let me suggest something what may seem utterly ridiculous: Our best financial state is not independence but dependence on a loving and all-powerful God.

Now I am learning, as bad as debt can be, there is something much worse yet seldom even mentioned in financial forums.
Wait a minute. Won't  that overload God if we all become financially dependent upon Him? Does God even want us to be dependent upon Him? Imagine having to ask him each day for our daily food. That sounds like irresponsible fiscal management. Is that how God sees it?  Christians say they want to be more like Jesus. Jesus was totally dependent upon his heavenly father. Jesus himself said that he did nothing on his own initiative.

When I was 38 years of age, my wife and I had four healthy children and were enjoying a beautiful Calgary home with a Suburban and Mercedes in the driveway. We had become debt and mortgage free. This freedom allowed me to make a career change two years later into a line of work I had wanted to get into for a long time – financial planning.

 I have since concluded and observed that being debt-free is not always ideal. We now have ten children and five vehicles while living on an acreage just outside Calgary but carry a mortgage and a line of credit   As much as I dislike debt I now believe that the best financial condition is one which maximizes our relationship with God. Sometimes financial independence and freedom from all debt can lead to prideful arrogance with less dependence on God. It can lead to less communion with God and that spells big trouble. Drifting away from God is worse than being stupid – it's dangerous and ultimately deadly!

My point is this: We should arrange our personal finances to maximize our connection with God. There are two schools of thought in the world of personal finances: The NO God school and the KNOW God school. The NO God school teaches that God doesn't even exist or if He exists, then He is unaware and uninterested in our daily financial affairs. Therefore we should maximize our assets and insure against all possible losses. This school also teaches, if there is a God just say “NO” to His instructions. On the other hand, the KNOW God school says that a personal vibrant relationship with the living God is the best way to live. Life rooted in God is indestructible and supreme. Furthermore, since life is worth more than wealth, our greatest treasure is our knowledge of God with all the associated benefits. Drifting away from God is worse than being stupid – it's dangerous and ultimately deadly!

Of course I am biased. I'm enrolled in the KNOW God school. For me knowing God (oh, please don't confuse religion with God) is life's greatest treasure. It's best to maximize our God-relationship rather than our assets. Life trumps assets.

To review, debt is undesirable but it is not the greatest financial evil.   Our goal should not be financial independence but rather maximum dependence - on God. Whatever stimulates intimate daily communication with God moves us toward the ideal financial state – regardless of how much or little we have in our bank accounts. Depending upon an invisible God takes faith. Without faith we can't please God and without faith we are like mere animals. I still have much to learn in the KNOW God school but I'll never be alone and never be without divine assistance. I have concluded that it's blessing I want, not independence.