Category Archives: Time

What Are You Waiting For?

You may not even realize you are holding back. The truth is most of us are. We have justified our reasoning to wait to completely follow Jesus. Read Matthew 8:18-20 below:

The Cost of Following Jesus

Matthew  18 Now  when Jesus saw a crowd around him,  he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19  And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head .”

The sub heading for this passage confused me at first. I thought, “What cost is there to following Jesus that is represented in this passage?” MacArthur’s Notes in his study bible offer some insight:

MATTHEW— NOTE ON 8: 19 a scribe. As a scribe, this man was breaking with his fellow scribes by publicly declaring his willingness to follow Jesus. Nonetheless, Jesus evidently knew that he had not counted the cost in terms of suffering and inconvenience.

Jesus saw this scribe’s heart, and knew the scribe did not know what he would be getting himself into. The scribe, fell in love with the idea, and was not thinking of everything else that would come along with it. Like a child asking for a puppy, but not thinking of the training, walking, feeding, grooming and caring for the dog over the next 10-15 years. The child just wanted a puppy to play with. We have all jumped into something too quickly without really thinking of the consequences, both good and bad, of what is to come. Jesus heeds a warning that denying this world offers little rest, safety and comfort. The text continues as others want to follow Jesus, but have some housekeeping to attend to first:

21  Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

Again at first glance this sounds insensitive of Jesus to not allow the man to bury his father. Yet MacArthur offers an explanation for this phrase:

MATTHEW— NOTE ON 8: 20 Son of Man. See notes on Mark 2: 10 and John 1: 51 . This is the name Jesus used for himself more than any other. It is used 83 times in the Gospels, always by Jesus himself. It was a messianic title ( Dan. 7: 13– 14 ), with an obvious reference to the humanity and the humility of Christ. Yet, it also speaks of his everlasting glory, as Dan. 7: 13– 14 shows (cf. Matt. 24: 27 ; Acts 7: 56 ). MATTHEW— NOTE ON 8: 21 let me first go and bury my father. This does not mean that the man’s father was already dead. The phrase “I must bury my father” was a common figure of speech meaning, “Let me wait until I receive my inheritance.”

The man was essentially saying I will follow you once I get the money that is coming my way. From our perspective this sounds foolish, but how do we make this same statement in our daily lives?

“I’ll take up my cross when I get that promotion.” “I’ll get involved in the church when my children move out.” “I’ll join a small group when I retire and can read more.”

How are any of these thoughts different? All of these statements boil down to say, “I will submit to God when He fits into my life.” But without missing a beat, Jesus comes back with verse 22:

22  And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

Which MacArthur helps us interpret to mean:

MATTHEW— NOTE ON 8: 22 leave the dead to bury their own dead. Let the world (the spiritually dead) take care of mundane things.

All of those things Jesus calls Mundane. His direction is clear, let the spiritually dead, the ones driven by society and what this world has to offer, deal with the mundane things, the things that in the end do not matter.

All of those mundane things are excuses that we try to justify to God. I’m too busy. On the fast track. Almost retired. I’m tired. I need just a little more money. More friends. More stuff.

After these mundane things are accomplished, then, and only then will I reevaluate where I am at and let my Idol factory (Heart) make something else to strive towards other than God.

In the end our earthly bodies and sinful hearts will always find ways to focus our energy, time and money towards something other than the only thing worth pursuing. Only until we give it all…ALL to him and submit, whole heartedly to his purpose can we begin to move from the mundane (check out the definition of this word) world and into a spiritual (the antonym of mundane) world.

So pray. Repent and ask God to work in you through the Holy Spirit, to be able to walk away from this mundane world, and let the world worry about the world. What are you waiting for?

Run Your Personal Finances Like A Business

Whether or not you have any formal education or experience in business, you can learn a lot of great tips mirroring some best practices most businesses implement and use in managing your personal finances.

Track every penny– Businesses are accountable for being able to show receipts, or documentation for every purchase and sale. In the personal finance world, by being responsible or accountable for every expenditure, you may begin to question whether you really want to explain certain purchases or not, leading you to really evaluate each decision you make, which hopefully in turn leads to less impulse buys and less overall spending.  You can create this transparence a number of ways. Create a blog and publish your expenses. Have a close friend check in on you and hold you accountable. Use budgeting tools like mint.com or quicken that will alert you of high spending, or overspending in certain budget categories.

Separate accounts– Most business will have many separate accounts for their different operations. They will have an Operating account, which houses funds for payroll and other expenses linked to the overhead of a business. They may have an Accounts Payable account, which tracks bills due, and an Accounts Receivable department to handle the inflow of funds. You can translate this into personal finances by having a separate savings account for all your income to go to, then a separate checking account for expenses. From there you can customize the account and their usage. I will be writing extensively on creating your own banking account system soon.

Annual budgeting- Take time at least once a year (quarterly seems to be ideal) to update your budget, expenses and to get a general overview of what is going out and coming in. from there you can make adjustments. If you have had the same budget in place for over a year, my guess is it is outdated. Taking an hour every few months can save you hundreds down the road.

Auditing- This is a time when you can call on your auto insurance policy, cell phone plan, refinance your mortgage, close credit cards and bank accounts or consolidate loans.  An audit is a time to really get into the nitty gritty and you will find that ways to save money will surface. This may also be a good time to check your credit report (free once a year),.

Rebalancing- as time goes by, our interests, hobbies and circumstances change. Take time each year to look for those magazine or gym memberships you no longer use. Or to cancel those club memberships you no longer are interested in. This could also be a chance to reallocate funds to new interests or hobbies. This can also be a time to adjust any automatic transfers for savings for expenses. Again, if you leverage tools like mint.com, it can make the experience much easier and precise.

Having a goal, or create one- There is a common train of thought that says to always have something to look forward to. Whether it is a trip, a purchase or an event, goals create incentive and keep the tank full while we live out our daily lives budgeting and staying on track. Have long term goals like saving for a trip or a large purchase, and small term goals like a movie or event around town.

Mission statement- Every business has one. This is a paragraph that sums up your purpose. Create one for yourself or your family. Include what is important to you, what you stand for and what your morals and values are. This helps give an overarching meaning to what you are trying to accomplish with the above tasks.

Becoming more efficient- As a business, there is always in interest in doing something better, faster or with less. Look for opportunities to do the same with your family or daily routine. Maybe you carpool to save on gas. Or you only go grocery shopping when you need milk so you go less often.

It is not hard to see that taking a little time a few times a year to perform some tasks generally never dealt with can go a long way in making sure you are getting the most out of your time, effort and money. It may seem like an unlikely comparison, but business can teach us a lot about living our personal lives and how we manage many of the aspects of our family.

The Businessman and the Fisherman

The Businessman and the Fisherman– fantastic article about why we work so hard, and what our culture deems the correct rat race to run is.

I Timothy 6:17: ‘Command those who are rich in this present world [That’s most of us in this country, by the way] not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.’”