Friday, November 13, 2009

Needs Vs. Wants

In the personal finance realm, this is the line that separates frugal wimps from triple black belt tightwads. It cuts to heart priorities. What must I have to be content? What must I have to survive? If I lose everything, will I really die? (As in, "I’ll die if I don’t have a cell phone.") It’s a useful exercise to take a sharp look at expenditures and priorities and align them with what they should be. Standard budgeting procedure.

A long time ago I co-taught a junior high Sunday school class. My friend Ruth used an ice breaker involving index cards. Each student wrote down the five most important things in their lives, one to a card. We formed a circle with our chairs. And so the story goes, disaster struck. A fire took one. They threw that card in onto the floor. A robber took another. Another discard. A flood took a third. An accident took the fourth. They were left with one card apiece. "Is this one thing the most important thing in your life? If it isn’t your relationship to Christ, it will not last." From there we segwayed into an overview of Job’s life, who having lost children, wealth, flocks, servants, health, the respect of his wife and friends, could still say, "the Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord". So what do I really need?

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