We went to Florida in our old 2012 Ford Escape with 210,000 miles on it last December. All my friends were taking bets if it would break down in Nashville, Atlanta, or Orlando. We made it back, though! We found out that the air conditioner doesn’t work on the way down there, which was a bummer!
Until a few weeks ago, Megan and I had only bought used cars. If you tried purchasing a car last year, you’d know everything is backed up. I found that the used cars I was looking at had the same cost as the new ones. The difference was that we had to wait six months for the new vehicle.
So we decided to wait six months and got a new car. It’s a 2022 Ford Escape Hybrid. The AC works in it! It does come with costs, and I’m not just talking about the monthly payments. Going to the grocery store is a lot harder now because I have difficulty picking a parking spot. Finding a place to park is easy, but choosing a suitable one is tricky. I don’t want my new car to get dinged.
I never worried about that in our other car. That one doesn’t have a lot of benefits, like a working AC unit, but one benefit is peace of mind. Ironic.
Finding Financial Freedom
We started a new three-part series called Finding Financial Freedom. What the Bible says about money and possessions is one of the most challenging topics we cover every other year at Madison Church. They’re also the most talked about subjects in the Old and New Testaments. God knew finances would be a source of anxiety, fear, and stress for people.
It is possible to experience financial freedom without being a millionaire. Our series aims to teach you some of what the Bible says about money, help you draw closer to God, and have more financial peace. The “win” in doing this study is to hear people say they objectively feel better about their financial situation because of what we’ve discussed.
Is More Actually Better?
There was an interesting study conducted by Harvard Business School. They interviewed 400 American millionaires and asked how much money would make them happier. 87% said more would make them happier. It did not matter whether a person had $100 million or $10,000,000, they all thought more is better.
It’s not just millionaires, though. We all think we’d be more satisfied in life if we could have a couple more dollars an hour or 10% more in the bank. This is the mindset that “more is better.” Having more money and possessions is sometimes better, but it always comes with a cost.
What is most important to you in life? I would be shocked if you said your bank account. You might say your faith, family, or friends. And yet, there’s such a discrepancy in how we live. There’s a disparity between what we value, family, friends, faith, and how we live (“more is better”).
Let’s confront that discrepancy.
Three ideas will help us on our journey toward financial freedom.
Less conforming and more transforming.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
Paul is inviting you and me to be less conforming and more transforming. We need to call out the conforming in our lives. Conforming is the belief that if you just get, enough stuff will finally be worth something.
Less pursuit and more peace.
The author of Ecclesiastes writes it is “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”
The critical part of this verse is found in the expression “chasing the wind.” The author is saying, for example, it’s better to be one “handful” of stuff and sleep well at night rather than having a lot of things and losing sleep at night, figuring out how to pay for it all.
Less greed and more gratitude.
Jesus warns us beyond the guard of every kind of greed (Luke 12:15). Jesus knew something that none of us want to admit: we all have a great capacity for greed. Jesus again reminds us that life is more than the stuff you acquire.
Less IS More
Evaluate these ideas with how you make choices… Think about how you chose the last job offer you accepted. It’s the job you likely have right now. If you had multiple job offers, did you take the one that gave you the most time with your family or paid better? How’s that stack up against what you say you value?
Whatever your motivation is for wanting more, know that the answer is not found in acquiring more. That longing in our hearts can only be met by God. It won’t be met by a particular job title or a certain annual salary. No number of cars, trips, or dollars in your bank account will make you feel loved. Only God can do that.
There’s hope today for wherever you’re at. Whether you are a millionaire, have no money, or are in debt, there’s hope for all of us today. Financial freedom is a destination that doesn’t cost a million dollars to get there. It just takes you to step toward God’s plan for your life.