Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wants #2: Finances/Material Possessions

So I'm continuing to think about my "wants."

McCarthy's list of eight areas:

  • Physical/Health/Recreation

  • Finance/Material Possessions

  • Family
  • Vocation/Career

  • Social/Community

  • Spiritual

  • Mental/Intellectual

  • Other

I've been able to get rather specific in the area of Physical/Health/Recreation. I find it tougher to define wants in the other areas.

But let me try.

Finance/Material Possessions

First round. (Don't get bogged down in attempting to define a final, "perfect" list, John!)

  • I want to have enough to live modestly.

    Some negatives:

    • I want not to live "above my means."

    • I want not to "live rich"; I want to cap my consumption . . . so that I might have something to share with others.

    This matter of having something to share, of course, also depends on my next want:

  • I want to earn enough that I might have an abundance out of which I can give. (Ephesians 4:28: "Let him who steals, steal no longer. Rather, let him work . . . that he may have something to share with those in need.")

  • I want to live wisely with what I have so that I can fulfill the "good" spoken of in Micah 6:8: "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

  • I want to conduct my affairs in such a manner that I do not hurt others . . .

    • That I pay my bills on time at the latest.

    • That, if or when I borrow, I do so, if at all possible, while possessing assets with which I could pay back the loan immediately. --Actually, this has a dual purpose. Not only does it protect my lender from possible default, but it protects me from engaging in the kind of loan into which the truly desperate--the profoundly poor--enter and, thus, become servants or slaves (Proverbs 22:7). [NOTE: Yes, I am convinced there are different types of loans and different forms of borrowing and some are wicked and some are wise. But that belongs somewhere else.]
The following is a tough one. I am having to overcome very strong "habits of mind" instilled in me from when I was very young:
  • To live generously, not stingily. I find this showing up in such areas as

    • Tips . . . to waiters and waitresses, cab drivers, porters, etc., etc. --I really struggle with this kind of stuff!

    • "Picking up the tab" when I'm with someone. --It is so easy to "let the other person do it."

    • Providing really nice food . . . at a potluck, say, or . . . whenever.

  • When I give, to give wisely and purposefully. Not to be controlled by foolish sentimentality. . . .

First round. . . . To be continued.

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