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Balanced Finance by Andy Stanley Pt. 4: Creating a New Line Item

In part 3, we learned about debt and the control it exhibits over our lives.

If you wanted to donate to a charity, but you had a Visa bill due, which would you give your money to first?  Maybe if you have a little extra left over, you might consider donating to the charity, but few people seem to have any extra, correct?  According to Andy Stanley, nearly all of us have extra in our lives.

I Don’t Have Extra Money!

How is it possible that your bank account is empty at the end of the month, yet Andy claims that you have “extra?”  That seems like a bold claim to be made by someone who doesn’t even know you, but then Andy goes on to explain what extra really is. He explains that anything beyond owning a home and having food in your stomach could be construed as extra.

He also highlights some examples of extra that people often overlook:

  • What are you selling at garage sales? Extra stuff.
  • Have you ever bought a new version of something even though the older version still works?
  • What do people put into their “garbage” disposal?  I have never put garbage into it!  Most often it has been perfectly good food!

The Starbucks trip, the fast food, the cell phone, and all of the various entertainment subscriptions (like cable TV) are all really extras.  The problem is that we have become so used to these things in developed countries that we consider them necessities or, as Andy Stanley puts it, “as necessary as air and water.”

Self-Reflection

An interesting point is made about who we are.  If who we are were determined by how we spend our extra money, then who what would we look like?  Without meeting us, without seeing pictures and hearing stories, simply examining what we spend our money on outside of the necessities that keep us alive, what would you look like?

Would you look like a generous person who cares about others, or would your bank statements be a whole lot of spending that reads like: “Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me…”  Andy highlighted a few excellent bible verses that further illustrate this idea:

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

– Luke 12: 16-21

Does this mean we shouldn’t store any extra?  Absolutely not, but we shouldn’t believe that every bit of extra is “mine, mine, mine.”  Does this mean we shouldn’t prepare for the future?  Of course not, let us not forget how much preparation occurs in the bible such as Joseph and the 7 years of famine!  What this is telling us is to not be like Ebenezer Scrooge because at the end of our lives we can’t take it with us.

Financial Lessons Learned

Don’t let money, and greed own you.  When you live like that, you do silly things like killing yourself because the stock market took a dive.  Earth to investors, things will get better.  You should be capable of giving where you feel that you should, and you shouldn’t hoard every little thing that comes your way.

If you become a cold-hearted hoarder then you will lose many opportunities to change people’s lives.  There is a such thing as keeping too much, and there is also such a thing as giving away too much.  That is why this series is called balance.

Quit finding the extremes of everything, and take your balance, because when you’re balanced, things work out far better.  When you’re balanced, you aren’t worrying about your money, you aren’t worrying about your lack of money, you aren’t worrying if you can give, and you aren’t worried if you gave too much.

Andy Stanley Quotes

As usual, I pick out some of my favorite quotes to include, and this will be no different.  Try to remember some of these because they are great!

We will run out of time before we run out of money.”

– Andy Stanley

I’m cautious, I’m careful, and I’m a planner.  No, you’re greedy.”

– Andy Stanley

The rich people lost the most!  They should have given it away, at least then they wouldn’t have lost it!”

– Andy Stanley

Back to the Balanced by Andy Stanley series.
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