Friday, March 11, 2011

Money and the Christian Man, Part 1

,A Christian man knows how to make and handle money. I recently shared this point with the boys at church. I got the idea from Mr. Mohler but tried to adapt it to our situation as young men on our way to full adulthood. Here are some of the main points that we discussed that I hope will help you, too.

God Has Commissioned Us to "Make A Living"

"Work" is anything we put effort into in the hopes of getting some kind of result. The result could be something physical like a science project, or abstract like an idea.

"Livelihood" is a specific kind of work that will allow us to provide for ourselves and those we are responsible for. While we are to do any kind of "work" with the dignity, prayerfulness, and cheer that befits a man who has a personal relationship with Christ, we are commissioned specifically to "make a living." We see this in Gen.3:17-19.

God made us to work because He made us in His image. There is something deeply satisfying about accomplishing something with our hands and our mind. But even more important than personal satisfaction is being able to provide for our family and channeling God’s love and providence to others (poor brethren, non-Christians). Livelihood is a blessing!

Mohler says, “A real man knows how to hold a job, handle money with responsibility and take care of the needs of his wife and family. A failure to develop economic maturity means that these young men often float from job to job, and take years to "find themselves" in terms of career and vocation. ... an extended adolescence marks a huge segment of today's young male population. Slothfulness, laziness and economic carelessness are marks of immaturity. A real man knows how to earn, manage and respect money.”

So we know that as men, we are commanded to make a living. On the negative side, we are to avoid an unhealthy preoccupation with dabbling in work that has little or no economic benefits (such as hobbies).

Planning Is Important

We should determine what we need to do (i.e., get good grades, be active in the right organization, etc.) and how much effort we should put into each of these things.

Those of you who are in college should be thinking about what work is compatible with you, find out what you need to do to move closer to your goal, talk to people in the field, ask about salary grades, etc. Planning honors the Lord. Lk.14:25-33.

What are some ways that we can plan financially? Now let me just say that I've never taken an Economics lesson in my life (we skipped it in high school), but the concepts in these approaches are so simple that all you need is a little logic.

Approach #1: Calculating Minimum Spendable Earnings

"Minimum spendable earnings" refers to the minimum amount of spendable money that you have to have every month to maintain a certain lifestyle. Not included in this amount is the money you devote to taxes, giving to the church, and long-term investments like bank deposits, insurance, and retirement fund, among others. Here's a sample:

Simple, right? You can figure this table out easily, so I won't explain every detail. But let me just emphasize that the values here represent the simple, relatively low-expense life of a bachelor. Think about it: just P250 on food a day, P5,000 on rent a month and P300 on recreation every week. This means that just to have this kind of lifestyle, you would have to earn enough so that after you've paid your taxes, given to the church, made deposits in your bank account, paid premiums on your insurance policies, etc., you should still have at least P21,465.67 left to spend. At least.

To be continued... (Part 2)

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