Summary: So let’s once again become individuals that make interest and don’t pay it, and let’s once again become a nation that’s able to loan and to give.
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We’re in this series if you’re just joining us online or live in the building, Recovery Road, and we’re coming toward the end. Today is part five, next week is part six, and I promise that will be the end. Originally I said I’m going to keep preaching on this until we recover, and I realized that I just don’t have that much to say. I think it might take us a little bit longer. Now, to get started today I want to give you a little quiz, and this is sort of in the category of “some things never change.” Let me read this to you; it’s pretty interesting.
The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of the officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest _____ become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
Anybody know where this happened? Okay, Rome, Cicero, 55 BC. Wow, some things never change. Isn’t that interesting?
Now, when we started this series, we said the thing that has gotten our nation’s attention is the financial crisis. But we said at the very beginning that our country doesn’t have financial problems; our country has spending problems, discipline problems. We’re the most prosperous nation in the world and we have abused our prosperity. But just like individuals, nations really don’t stop and reflect and realize they have to change until things get tight financially. It’s the same for you, as well. As a pastor, through the years I’ve met with many people who have addictions, and oftentimes the thing that bring addicts to their knees is not necessarily the addiction; they run out of money for their addiction. It just takes health problems or financial problems to get our attention. And in the life of a nation, health problems and financial problems are pretty much the same. So today I want to focus in and talk specifically about the financial piece of our national recovery.
Now, to do that I’ve got to take you back. When Sandra and I were first married, we went through a class or a course called Crown Financial Ministries. Many of you are familiar with Crown Financial Ministries. It’s a ten to twelve week small group study about personal finances. We were just married and we wanted to do this right. We were raised very similarly when it came to money, so we didn’t have a lot of conflict there, but we wanted to get off on the right foot. So we took this class. Al and Judy Cane led our class, and it was extraordinary. We memorized a bunch of verses, did a bunch of Bible study, asking the question: What does God have to say about finances? And on one particular evening, we went out to eat with Al and Judy and we were just asking questions. He was the older wise guy, had made a lot of great decisions financially, and learned some things the hard way, so I was just picking his brain. And he said something that marked me as an individual, marked us as a couple. He said, Andy, there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who make interest and there are people who pay interest. You need to decide which kind of person you want to be and then reorder your financial world around your decision.
We got in the car that night and we thought, You know, that makes a lot of sense. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who make interest; there are people who pay interest; which one do we want to be? And so we decided that was how we were going to gear our financial lives. We were pretty much on that page already, but I mean we buckled down and decided. So we did some crazy things. We always gave first. We’re kind of give first, save second, live on the rest; we were all about that. We decided no credit card debt and we’ve never had credit card debt. We decided we would never borrow money for a car and we’ve never borrowed money for a car. We hadn’t built our first home yet or moved into our first home, but we decided we were going to have a minimum of a thirty percent down payment and if we didn’t have thirty percent we wouldn’t get what we wanted and we would just buy whatever we could buy with a thirty percent down payment. We just kind of went to the extreme. We were going to be the make interest, not pay interest people. And we’ve done that since the very beginning of our marriage. Now that’s a little unusual, and I do want to be honest and tell you there are some problems with that approach to finances. And I want to just list them for you really quickly.