Monday, February 4, 2013

It’s Money – and It Matters!

Apparently we’ve survived the so-called “fiscal cliff.” At least for now. Unless you count the two-percent payroll tax increase most of us are being assessed.

Unfortunately, the Federal government continues to gobble up money like popcorn in a 20-screen multiplex movie theater, so the ominous threat of financial doom will continue hovering over the United States until further notice.

When the next impending calamity approaches, of course, we’ll need to call it something. You can’t have a crisis without a calling card. But in all likelihood, fiscal cliff will already have lost its shine. When you cry “Wolf!” too many times, people stop paying attention. I think the same is true about fiscal cliffs.

So, in the interest of public service, here are some suggestions. Blogs, unlike radio and TV stations, aren’t required to have public service spots – at least I don’t think so – but civic-minded soul that I am, I’m eager to help:

How about “economic eclipse”? Or “budgetary blitzkrieg”? “Financial fiasco,” or “monetary morass”? (You might prefer “monetary maelstrom.”) “Fiduciary conflagration” anyone? Or maybe, “pecuniary peril”?

No matter how you slice it, we can feel confident of one thing: The government geniuses will continue to misuse and abuse tax dollars (even ones we haven’t sent them yet) unless major changes are made.

Years ago Ronald Blue, a leading Christian financial adviser and president of Kingdom Advisers, testified before a Congressional subcommittee about how to deal with economic uncertainty. One senator asked, “What would you tell the American family about their finances?”

Before responding, Blue figured the senator would scoff at him because all he had to offer were basic, biblically based financial principles he’d seen work countless times.

When he proceeded, Blue said, “Senator, I would tell the American family four things: 1) Spend less than you earn. Live within your income. 2) Avoid the use of debt so you don’t obligate the future. 3) Build liquidity or flexibility by having reserves set aside, so that when the unexpected occurs – as it always will – you have prepared for that. 4) Set long-term goals so you have targets to shoot at, know the direction you are headed, and know what your priorities are.”

Upon hearing this, the senator responded, “Mr. Blue, it seems to me that would work at any income level.” Blue paused, and then he said, “You’re right, Senator – including the United States government.”

There’s one other principle Blue has often presented to Christian audiences, although he did not cite it at the Congressional hearing: “God owns it all.” In other words, whether we’re individuals, a family, or the Federal government, we are merely stewards of the resources God provides.

The Bible states, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Every day we’re seeing this truth demonstrated by the financial shenanigans in Washington, D.C.

But let’s not bother our wise leaders with such foolishness. Church and State being separate and all.

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