All of us want to finish our lives with honor and dignity. We want to look back over the years that we have been privileged to live hear on earth with a sense of pride, accomplishment and satisfaction that our lives have been well spent. We want to have reached our goals and contributed in some small way to the lives of those around us. We want to have been winners at life.
Wasn’t that the goal of the builder in Luke 14:28?
He wanted to win by finishing his tower. And he knew that weighing the costs of the project ahead of time in some serious get-down-to-business strategic planning sessions was going to help him accomplish his objective.
The point of the verse is about planning but the goal was to finish. What does “finishing” look like in regards to finances?
How do we know when we are done? Is it when we are finally out of debt? Is it when we reach the million-dollar mark? How much wealth is enough to build?
In reality, the dirty little secret is that you are never really finished with managing your money no matter how much you accumulate. In fact, I would suggest the more you accumulate the more focused on it you have to be. This is definitely a lifelong project that will end the day you cease to exist.
The One Thing
In order to finish well, however, there is the matter of that “one thing” we have to come to grips with in regards to our money management plan. The most important thing to following our financial plan is, actually following our financial plan. It does no good to say you are going to follow a plan and then become sidetracked and refuse to follow through.
When we treat our plan as an option rather than a requirement, we will end up losing momentum. We set ourselves up to sliding back into bad habits which could cause damage to our financial status that could take years from which to recover.
According to their statistics, the average person on Dave Ramsey’s plan gets completely out of debt, including the house, in about seven years. Seven years! That is an eternity in our microwave, fast-food, “that was so 27 seconds ago” society. To see yourself through just that length of time you have to be “all in” with a fired up, focused intensity. How can you stay fired up to follow a plan for that length of time?
Developing a Conviction
We all have opinions. If I hold to my opinion long enough, it becomes a belief. Once I begin to act on that belief, I become committed to it.
Commitment involves my emotions, mind and will working in conjunction with one another. Once my will is involved, I am more likely to follow through on my commitment.
However, our wills can be fragile. They can be broken by the toughest of circumstances. So, how do we keep ourselves going? What is it that can drive us so hard for so long?
Conviction is a step beyond commitment. A conviction says in essence, “I am ready to die for my commitment.” When you feel convicted, that thing you were so committed to has now become a passion in your life. You eat it, you sleep it, you live it…every day…every moment. You are ready and willing to go to extreme lengths (within the bounds of morality and what’s considered right) and sacrifice at great personal cost for the cause.
(Interestingly enough, conviction subtly involves a little bit of anger about the issue, an emotion we don’t usually associate as being positive for us.)
I don’t know how you will reach this level of determination. Conviction is very personal and can come about in a multitude of ways. For me, it was a spiritual conviction, coming from God speaking to me as I was reading the Bible, searching specifically for what He said about money. Whatever the case, once you reach the conviction level of devotion, you will be more likely to follow through on your financial plan.
What drove you to get serious about your finances?