You used to live just like the rest of the world … – Ephesians 2:2
In 2008 the economy crashed. A wife lost her job. It panicked their family. How would they make ends meet?
“How are y’all doing,” I asked a few months later.
“Great,” she said, “Without me having my job, I’m home when the kids get home from school, instead of rushing home late from work … picking up the kids at childcare … and running through a fast food line four nights a week. I’m also not commuting to and from work, which was expensive. And I’m not buying lunch at work. And I haven’t been shopping for clothes to keep up with the styles at work.
“It’s amazing,” she continued, “we’re doing better financially than when I had a job. And our life is so much less stressful. We sit down at the table now and eat as a family. And we’re not so exhausted by chaos of the week that we’re making it to church more often.”
“That’s awesome,” I said.
And then two weeks later, she got a job offer and immediately climbed back on the hamster wheel. When I’d see them (twice a year at Christmas and Easter), I’d say, “How’s life.”
“Crazy,” they’d say.
A lot of families, of course, need two jobs. Life is truly expensive. But sometimes aren’t too many people opting for the hamster wheel just because “all of these activities are what suburban families are supposed to do”? We’re living just like the rest of the world. And sadly, “exhausted” is truly our societal norm.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t talking about busyness or simplicity when he wrote the verse for today. Nevertheless, he was talking about the sin of living just like the rest of the world instead of living like Jesus. For the last two weeks in worship, I’ve talked about the call in Matthew 10 to be disciples and to journey through life more simply. Jesus took no gold or silver or bag for his journey of ministry. We are to be like Jesus and as our Lord told the first disciples, we’re also to trust in God rather than carrying so much stuff on our journeys (Matthew 10:8-9). Stuff would have tied Jesus down. And it surely ties us down.
With this in mind, I urge you to sit down as a family and do a serious budget. Remember the family I referenced above? I’ll bet most of you, if you do a serious budget, will be surprised by how much you spend on unnecessary things that just keep the busyness of life spinning and spinning. And I’m guessing you’ll be surprised by how much of this spending – instead of giving you life – actually exhausts you further and further.
God wants you to be free. And how many of you have said that you want to be free? Well, one place to start is by budgeting. Budgeting is not really about money. It’s about prioritizing life. Doing an honest values-based budget is actually amazingly freeing.
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who has squeezed
a lot of freedom and joy from
putting our values in a budget