Thursday, June 24, 2010

#22 - Debt: Your Business, Your Life, Your House

Good morning. It's a great day! :) The boy & I get to pack up and head to 'da Thrill's (Jill - my sister-in-law) and help out with her, Doug & baby Bella for the next few days. We are excited. :) Excited to cook, bake, change little baby Bella diapers... and just spend some quality time with Jilly. :) We have a full day ahead of us, packing and driving! :) So as some people say, "Daylight is burning, let's go!"
Proverbs 24:27 - [Put first things first.] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home.
Proverbs 31:16 - She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
Today we are going to somewhat piggy-back off of Tuesday's post: Plan to Prosper. We talked about planning and debt. We are going to continue off of that topic today. Let me preface this... please take the "grocery store" approach to what you read today. When you go grocery shopping, you purchase what you need, you don't always take everything. Today, take what you need. Yes, I believe it is all truth, at the same time you still need to seek out the Lord and see what does HE have to say to YOU specifically about this? I come from the standpoint of a business owner. We have planned & are moving forward. We have left "status quo" and have chosen to pursue more. We have left TV and the bowling leagues and the hobbies, scrap-booking behind (for now) to build a business & establish a business that will yield greater returns down the road. We are not better than the person who chooses to stay home and watch TV each night, we have just chosen a different path. So, I speak from the standpoint with the "end in mind", the standpoint of "moving forward", "moving ahead", "progressing towards a goal that has been set". To the person that is happy with where life is, and where they are, this may not all apply to them. SO...with that said, let's get started. 

Proverbs 24:27 prefaces the verse with, "Put first things first", ie: let's make the most important thing, the most important thing. What is the most important thing? "Prepare your work outside and get it ready." In the Hebrew, we look at the word "work", and see the translation to business. In other words; Prepare your business outside and get it ready. Get your work in line. Prepare your business, build it up, make it profitable, have a plan, work the plan, delay gratification. Do you really need all the "other things" in life right now? Are those "most important"? Is your work/business progressing forward? Is it being built? AFTERWARD, build your house. AFTERWARD. After you have built your business, done your work, then build your house. AFTERWARD. 

Let's look at the life of Jacob. Genesis 31:41 really says all that we need to know: "I have been twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks..." Jacob, at this point was in the "life-stock" business. He has developed a business and has grown a flock. Now that he has worked he is going to build a house

Now, I am a studier of the Word. I have not attended seminary, and I dare say there are countless people and scholars who have studied more than I. But, in what I see from where I we, Americans, may do things a bit backwards from what they did in the Bible?? Let's compare: Jacob worked 7 years for Leah, then another 7 years for Rachel, then another 6 years establishing a business of life-stock. Today, what does the common young person do? Let's look: Go to college 4 years (collect student loans of $100,000), get married, get a loan from the bank to buy a house ($150,000 in debt from the start), get a loan for a new car ($12,000 in debt), get a loan for our wife's new car (another $12,000 in debt), get a job, have kids, 30 years later pay off the loan from the bank for the house, never out of debt for our cars- just keep trading them in for a newer model, and then an occasional person may build a business. The American Way: start in debt, die in debt. Hummmmmm..... do he two ways sound different to you? Am I just being "legalistic", or do we do things differently now? Some may think I am totally being legalistic, and that is OK if you think that. I really am OK with it!! No hard feelings. REALLY! But, does anyone really "buy" things anymore? Is it all on loan or credit? 

I recently heard a multi-millionaire, you may be familiar with him, Jack Canfield (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) say something like this: "In my 30's, I went strictly on the cash system. Using a debit card just didn't seem like money. Writing a check, just didn't seem like money. Using a credit card, just piled up the debt. But, when I handed over the cash, I was a little tighter to hold that dollar bill." 

Our Proverbs 31 woman is considering to BUY a field. It doesn't say in Proverbs 31 that she owns her home, but I would guess she does. It says she is getting ready to BUY a field. It doesn't say she is going to go downtown, get a loan from the bank, only 4.5% interest, pay it off in 30 years, then own the field. She is going to BUY it. 

So Tyler and I.... this is one thing we have taken pretty literally. We are proudly out of debt. We own our cars. My car, a Nissan Altima, is the same car I have had since I graduated college May 2000. It has over 200,000 miles on it, but we own it. Granted, we are excited for the Lord to bless us with an upgrade that we can own debt-free. Recently, we finally retired Tyler's car. The Lord blessed us with the ability to pay cash for a newer vehicle. We REALLY needed a newer vehicle. Tyler had a Toyota Camry. We drove it so much we called it lovingly, "Hotel del Camry". We drove a lot of miles on that baby. We bought it when it had 35,000 miles on it, and finally gave it to a new 16 year old driver (for his first car) with over 400,000 miles on it! Check it out for yourself! 
:) Wow! I know! By this point... the camry wasn't pretty to look at, but it drove very well. We kept it maintained and serviced, and it ran great! Never really gave us ANY problems at all!! I expect the new 16 year old could get another 100-200,000 miles out of it (IF he had too!). But, it was a blessed vehicle. We now, THANKFULLY, PRAISE THE LORD drive a Nissan Murano.
(My dad driving the Murano on the beach in Daytona when we went on vacation.)

What a blessing! :) And a definite upgrade! But for us... we believed for it, we spoke it, we thanked God for it, we had a picture on our refrigerator and we waited in faith to receive it, and when the time came, we paid cash for it. 

Currently... against a lot of people's opinion, we rent the house we live in. We owned our first home, moved from there to an apartment, and now a home we are renting. I have heard it before, "You are throwing your money away. You are wasting money! You are not building equity." Yes, I have heard it all. And, believe me, I have said it too. I have thought it. I have fought it. It has frustrated me. But, we committed to following a conviction on this, and following the Word. We are renting. BUT - their is light at the end of the tunnel. We have already believed, it is as good as done, we will pay for our next house. We will own it. No 30 year plan. We have believed, we are planning, we are preparing, we are building our business, and we THANK GOD for being able to OWN our next home free and clear! 

With all that said.... let me add this. Like we discussed yesterday....the borrower is subject to the lender. Yes, this is true. And from where I stand, IF you want to be subject to the lender, you can be! True, that does put you somewhat enslaved, or bondage to that lender, but it is your free will to have loans from the bank. Even though it says, owe no man nothing but to love him. There are some, who have no plans of ever owning a business, who enjoy watching TV every night, enjoy relaxing, do not own a business nor do they ever want to or plan to own one, and are OK with being a steadily making payments over the next 30 years. To that person, a loan from the bank is probably the best thing. Because, let's face it... if there is no plan to do anything bigger, or make/save income to purchase a house, this person would NEVER own there home. Tyler and I just chose to do things differently. Granted, we are not "building equity" now. But, as I see it, we are doing things like how Jacob did it. We are working. We are building our business. We are preparing. And we will BUY our next home.

The person who is enslaved to a loan or to a dollar bill.... if God called them right now to go be a missionary, guess what, they could not. Until they are able to sell their home, get out of debt, they would not be able to follow the Lord's leading on their life. If I were a betting person, I believe there are probably a lot of people out there that are called to be missionaries but can't. They are shackled to the bank. In 30 years, when their student loan and home loans are paid for, when they sell their cars... then they may be able to go. 

What to take away? Yikes....I guess whatever you want. Just a different school of thought. And truly... I'm OK if you believe I am wrong with my thinking. This is how WE have chosen to live. Some may choose to be enslaved temporarily. Some may choose to be enslaved for 10 years and then they will own their home. Good for you. It really is a matter of choice. What is best for you, your family and the career path you have chosen. For some, 10 years paying on a loan may be the best thing. 

Take what you will....but I do encourage you to consider. Consider before making the next big purchase on loan or on credit. Ask, reflect, get quiet before the Lord.... is this truly what you are suppose to do? last thing. Don't go sell your house, your cars, your everything to get out of debt and live in an apartment based upon MY CONVICTIONS. Seek God for YOU. Receive a conviction for yourself in this matter. See what God would have YOU to do. 

Love ya'll! :) Time to pack and hit the road! :)


Renee said...

This is so perfect Amy. I just sent my children for a summer with their dad and grammy. I did it for many reasons. First for them to have an amazing summer with many memories and for myself to build my business through the Lord. I feel comfort knowing I am doing the right thing focusing on being debt free and never returning to my past life. I know that God has me on a path to doing what I love to do.. but to enrich his kingdom through it. I don't want it any other way. I am his servant and I only want what he wants for me. Thank you Amy for the guide to being the Proverbs 31 woman. I had no idea she existed. God Bless you Amy for coming into my life. I actually get sad when you take a DOR... ha ha ha ha.. I told Jamie... I feel lost without your insight into the bible... I love you Amy and may God Bless you and your family forever!

Drew said...

This was an awesome post - few people have this perspective these days and it is truly refreshing. The heart of God desires your freedom, and debt is slavery. I had my eyes opened to the Biblical stance on debt by a woman named Dani Johnson who teaches a "War on Debt" course, and it completely changed me and my wife's life. Keep up the great work! God bless!

Jo Ann said...

Your words are always true. My grandfather said the same thing to me many years ago. I often "hear" those words of truth and ponder briefly how my life might be different if I had listened and stayed on that path. I love my life now, and by God's grace there is no need to condemn my choices. He is taking me to the place I should be even through my mistakes. He is always there, we only need to seek Him!

Thank you is never enough for what I have already learned through your blog. I think you are truly piling up many crowns to adorn our King!

Amy J. McCart said...

Sounds like you are going to have a great summer to grow in the Lord! Your boys will come home to a new and improved mama! I'm proud of you for pursuing the Lord & seeking Him. He will definitely gide YOU specifically what to do!
:) love u girly! So glad u are following.... and just a side note... I sometimes miss you all on my DOR too! ;)

Amy J. McCart said...

Great to hear from you! You are right, it is pretty uncommon for someone to have views like this anymore in our "microwave-give it to me now" society. And, you really have to just not allow the pressure of other people "adding on a new addition" (2nd morgage on their home), doing improvements to their landscaping & backyard (home improvement loan), etc, etc.... we just have to bless them in Jesus Name while not feeling pressure to do the same. And for some.... if they choose not to study it out for themselves... debt may be as good as it ever gets for them. I just have to believe that as a child of God, our Father has something so much better for us, His children!
Glad to know there are like-minded people out there! You and your wife sound like cool people! :) Hi to her for me!!

Keep in touch and keep the comments coming. I like your thinking!

Amy J. McCart said...

Jo Ann (Bright?? or Ford??)

I'm in total agreement with you! We definitely don't need to walk in condemnation because most of us have gotten ourselves into some sort of debt at some point. Now it's a "renewing of the mind" and getting a Word viewpoint on the subject.

And thank you so much. I am really enjoying writing this blog. I look forward to each morning in anticipation, "What is the Lord going to reveal today? What road is He going to take us down?" It's fun. Sometimes the topics are definitely not my choosing, but that makes me believe on those days, there are definitely people that He wanted to speak to through me. I love writing. It's always been a passion. I'm just happy that I have finally started!

Have a great 4th weekend and wonderful week! Thanks for the comment!

Amy J

Jen Graber said...

Love this post, Amy. Your personal testimony speaks volumes. We made a similar decision a few years ago to "ditch debt" and God has done amazing things as a result of our obedience to His word. It is the ONLY reason we were able to follow His leading to a new life and ministry at Boy's Farm. He definitely knows best.

Social Sharing