Originally I wanted to say that “Jesus is the reason I’m broke”, but I realised that isn’t really true. Before Vanessa and I were Christians, we had more disposable income but we also found more ways to spend it. Now, Jesus has changed our financial priorities.
You could say: Jesus is … my accountant!
I remember sitting with a mortgage salesman who was telling us how quickly we could own our home. I then asked him to do the sums again taking into account the money we wanted to give to church, student ministry, overseas mission and child sponsorship. He then told us we couldn’t afford it!
Now we are paying our mortgage off at an incredibly slow rate, but we’re supporting our local church.
Now we only have one car, but we’re supporting university ministries around Australia.
Now our holidays are fairly simple affairs, but we’re supporting overseas mission.
Now we’re spending less on restaurants and clothes, but we’re helping the poor in other parts of the world.
Recently I was planning our annual family getaway and I was looking for somewhere new and different. But it was tricky to find something in our price range with enough activities to keep the kids busy. However, when we talked to the boys about it, they were very happy to be going back to our old faithful, Shoalhaven Heads.
Part of me wants more; part of me wants to give my family all the best holidays and experiences. Part of me wants the stuff that other people have.
Recently, my car mechanic gave me the “It’s-getting-old, there’s-not-much-we-can-do” talk. But Vanessa and I agreed that it’s not dead yet.
The truth is I feel the allure of fun family holidays and gadgets and a new car and gadgets and paying off our mortgage and gadgets, but our great accountant helps keep our priorities in perspective.
The gift Jesus gives us is greater than all those things, it’s the gift of contentment and the ability to say no to something good for the sake of something better.
Jim Douglass is the Minister of Coniston Anglican Church