Picture of Breakfast With Fred bookFred’s financial wisdom and practice were well known. One of his life-long friends commented recently on his sage counsel to a group of Dallas businessmen: “Keep a year’s living expenses in savings and if possible live on half your income.” “We were all shocked when he said that because most of the people we knew lived right up to the hilt supporting a high profile life style. No one thought about reducing their standard of living to the one Fred and Mary Alice chose.”

“Money can be a tool or an idol” is one of Fred’s pithy sayings. To those who give in the support of BWF, BWFLI, and the Weekly Thought, we want you to know it is most certainly a tool for the furtherance of this ministry. Thank you.

Joy Through Financial Integrity

Those inundated by financial worries seldom exude a joyful attitude. Our value system is exemplified by our relationship to money. I laughingly told someone, “You never know a person until you count money with them.” It brought a smile, but I was dead serious. Scott Peck wrote about the underlying flaw in the American character – the failure to delay gratification. We see this throughout our culture, but none so clearly as in our use of money. Buying on time and using credit were unfortunate additions to our financial system.

We are so anxious for the fruit we pick it before it is ripe. Oswald Chambers defined lust as “I must have it now” and how true that is of our instant satisfaction society.

Having the benefits before paying the price is seen in our eagerness for material possessions, social relationships, and “fake it ‘til you make it” thinking. Our greed for things and our envy of those who have acquired them before us steals our joy.

A professional young woman told me she couldn’t date men who didn’t drive fancy cars because she didn’t want people to think she was poor. This woman came to me asking me as an older man to help her find a “Godly husband.” Sad. It isn’t from the value of the car we derive the value of the person who steps out.

There is some persistent quirk in our thinking that convinces us temporal things will give us permanent joy. No doubt new things will make us temporarily happy, but when we cannot afford them that happiness is soon replaced by anxiety and apprehension. Lust and joy are not compatible bedfellows.

Oswald Chambers’ “sit loose to things” has been one of the most helpful financial principles in my life. Things are not evil. We can own them, enjoy them, expect them, and welcome them when they come, but still hold them with open hands. Things are to own and people are to love. When we reverse that, we are in trouble and sacrifice joy.

One of the most fortunate experiences of my life was being a poor, but contented young man. I do mean poor! I didn’t even have the $.07 to ride the street car to see Mary Alice, so I walked 5 miles each way. I walked that distance never feeling bitter because others could afford to ride. A few years later our honeymoon consisted of riding the streetcar to downtown Nashville, sharing a Krystal hamburger and heading back to the one room we rented in a lady’s home. Being joyful as a poor young man has stayed with me throughout the years of prosperity.

Joy is found in a right relationship with God, man, and our money!

This week carefully consider: 1) Is money a tool or an idol? 2) How is my relationship with money? 3) What am I teaching others about delayed gratification?

Words of Wisdom: “Lust and joy are not compatible bedfellows.”

Wisdom from the Word: “The one who loves money will never be satisfied with money, he who loves wealth will never be satisfied with his income.”  (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NET Bible)

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