by Ernest Liu
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  • Random Sniplets
  • Graduating? Getting a Job?

    I’m in that blog-writing sort of mood, so here’s another for today! This is specifically for those of you who are graduating and looking for a job, and for those fortunate to already have a job.

    To the point, this post is about money. Because money is awesome, and much of what we do requires it.

    I bought a house over a year ago. My pride claims that my hard work and diligence allowed me to buy it at such a young age, but God knows better. I own this cozy abode because God chose to bless me that way. It is because of Him that I had the opportunity to teach piano in my freshman year of high school, make more money doing freelance graphic arts two years later, and get a job two years into college. God entrusted me with His money, of all people.

    Until I bought a house, I was pretty good at saving money. But you should have seen me the moment I bought the house. I wanted to remodel and refurnish everything. New carpets, repaint the walls, remodel the kitchen and bathrooms, redo my entire backyard, and so forth. So I started budgeting my money for the remodeling project.

    At some point in the flurry of excitement, I realized that I was sinning. I was loving money and the material things in my life (1 Timothy 6:10). In retrospect, it was silly of me to be so intoxicated with things that’ll just burn in the end. This house isn’t going to last forever, so why am I treating it like Heaven? Why was I so concerned about getting a high-def television when there are kids out there concerned about where their next meal will come from?

    Something clicked.

    1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do it all to the glory of God. And that includes how we spend our money. That click caused a radical change in the way I spent money. Now, I try only to purchase things that I truly believe brings glory to God. I realized that what I had was already so much more than I needed. I became content.

    I mean, for crying out loud, God gave me an entire house.

    So what does this mean for you, oh graduate? It means that if you are a believer, 1 Corinthians 10:31 applies to you too. It means that it would be wise to pray for contentment, and to pray that God will make you see others as He sees them. It means that you need to make sure your heart is prepared if God blesses you monetarily and money starts rolling into your bank like a river, so you can think about how you can spend money for God and Him alone.

    Have a heart like Paul. He sought to please everyone in everything he did, not seeking his own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33).

    Spiritual notes:

    1. Be content with what God has given you. Ask Him to eliminate heart issues causing you to love stuff.
    2. Depend on and pray to God, because doing an act of generosity is powerful when powered by Him.
    3. It’s not about following the Old Testament tithing rule. It’s about giving back to God out of thanks, joy, reverence, and humility (2 Corinthians 8 and 9). If you’re just mechanically following the tithing rule, then hey. You’re actually supposed to give about 23% of what you make, not 10%!

    Practical ideas:

    1. Go sponsor some kids at World Vision or another charitable organization.
    2. Keep an eye out for how you can bless others who aren’t as fortunate as you. Go buy a friend some new socks, or a capo for a friend learning guitar, or a book for a friend to read.
    3. Don’t make shopping trips just to shop. Only shop to buy what you need, and don’t mistake a want for a need.
    4. Contribute to a missionary, because often they are short on finances because we’re short on giving.

    Have a happy graduation!

    PS. For the record, I’m not saying that house remodeling is a bad thing. I actually ended up repainting the first floor interior to make it cozier for guests!

    2 Thoughts

    1. You know, money is a tricky thing. We are to be good stewards of all blessings God has given us. Money is obviously a big part of that. I have seen (or heard of) wonderful people called to live very simply and use the rest for ministry. Simultaneously, it is not sinful to enjoy the blessings God has given us, and money and things bought with money can be part of that. I find there are many approaches to this, and I give discretion to the individual on where they run with it:

      1. Hard line to not cross: when money or possessions become an idol. It’s not hard to see this.
      2. The truly frivolous and expensive. eg: a Rolex. Personally, I avoid this.
      3. The expensive upgrade of a pure substitute. eg: a high end luxury car. I’d suggest as few of these as possible.
      4. The (high end) expensive upgrade of an item. eg: a 70″ TV or a $3K computer. Like #3, as few as possible.

      Moving down the list, we get more and more reasonable. I could probably extend this down to about 12, at which point you’re eating dry ramen and living in a tent. There are reasonable blessings (and I give discretion to some luxury items), and there is wasting of money. My suggestion? Strive for as few items from the top of the list (and none in #1) and be joyful with the modest ones.

      But for those items that do fall higher in the list, I offer two nice ways of glorifying God with them. 1. Use them somehow for ministry. If you do have that nice house, you should be opening it up to fellowship meetings, gatherings, etc. If you have that nice car, you should be carpooling people who need rides. 2. Save X% more than the cost and give above and beyond your normal to ministry. If you really have to have that $10,000 TV, give an extra $5000 to humanitarian aid.

      Honestly, there are very few things we really ‘need’, but I think they are reasonable blessings and I do feel that as long as God has graced me with these blessings, I can enjoy them. Like my 40″ computer monitor (which I bought on deep discount, and the lowest quality one I could find!). Our computers are our highest on the list luxury item! No more for quite a long time I hope! :X

    2. You know, while a friend of mine was proof reading my blog post, I told him, “You know, my post make it sound like getting stuff for yourself is a sin.” Anyways, thanks for the addendum! Always appreciate your wisdom!

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