Hope for your financial life and beyond

What Would You Sacrifice to Gain Something Valuable?

Hidden Nuggets Series #89 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44

ladderThat valuable item you seek will cost you dearly. You’ll have to let go of something you already value in order to pursue it. We know this to be true because we’ve seen it play out in our lives.

Completing personal goals…achieving wealth…working through a career change…renewing your spiritual walk…healing relationships…none of it comes easy.

None of it happens without great sacrifice.

The question you need to ask yourself is, “Will I be willing to give up “X” to pursue “Y”?

Jesus put it this way when he explained to the people how aggressively they should pursue heaven. He said in Matthew 13:44-45,

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

In these examples, the seekers found something (heaven) they considered the most precious commodity in the world. In both instances they gave up (“sold all that he had”) all their possessions in order to lay hold of it. But, if you read between the lines, you find something even more remarkable.

They were happy to sacrifice.

They were not hesitant.

There was no wishy-washiness on the issue.

Nothing was going to stop them.

Give Up to Go Up

For application to other areas beyond the spiritual, it’s a great lesson on the importance of sacrifice. Nothing of value comes cheaply. We will always have to give up to go up.

Winners simply sacrifice.

They eat less and exercise to lose weight. They decrease their spending to pay off debt. They turn off the TV to spend time with their kids.

They proceed with speed and passion to obtain something they considered priceless.

They know that leaving some things on the bottom ladder rung allows them to climb higher.

And as they climb, they sacrifice more and more things to reach the top.

What are you willing to give up today to reach your goals?

What sacrifices will allow you to go places you never dreamed possible?

What will you set aside for the good of a higher cause?

You have to process those questions because here is the tricky thing…if the man hadn’t been willing to sell his precious possessions, he never could have bought the field.

Questions: What sacrifices have you made in order to reach a goal? How hard was it to be willing to let go of possessions or old ways of thinking?

Image courtesy of Miguel Carvalho at Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. I think another great thing to point out is that the men in the passage were not forced to sacrifice. When we make sacrifices that we truly want to make, we change greatly.

  2. Brian, this is a great post which really resonates with me around competing financial priorities. In the past, I pursued my career at the expense of my health and my relationships. Now in my home, the #1 priority is longer life and less discomfort, which shows up in our heavy spending on health care. We’ve had to shift a lot, sacrificing wants and sometimes needs, in order to keep that a priority, but that’s clearly where our focus belongs. Without health, all the money and possessions in the world don’t mean very much.

    • “Without health…” I’d agree Gary. Everything has to stay in balance. For me I’d always err on the side of family and health over career.

  3. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    Sometimes, we really have to give up something valuable so that we can go up. I know this stage must be hard, but we have to do it and think that it’s normal and part of life. Nice post, Brian.

  4. “Give up to go up” – I like that a lot, Brian. It’s so true and so many people get stuck on the “give-up” part that small sacrifice they have to make to get to better place. I made a big change years ago when I decided to give-up my pursuit of Senior VP position because even though I had my eyes set on that position for many, many years, the cost to my family life was too high, even though the financial reward and professional achievement would be high. And I did gain something way more valuable, I built a successful financial planning practice where my earnings are not capped and the flexibility I needed for my family.

    • “…the cost to my family life was too high…” Kim and I felt much the same way which is why we chose to make so many career changes.

  5. My favorite example of this is from Arnold Schwarzenegger. He openly talks about sacrificing his relationship with his parents to achieve his career goals, and he realizes the cost of that. Becoming one of the most famous body builders and actors in the world required a lot of sacrifice. While Ahhnold is certainly not the best example of a human being out there, his life shows what can happen when you sacrifice it all to meet your goals.

    • “…sacrificing his relationship with his parents to achieve his career goals…” Yeah…I’ll bet he has mixed emotions about that.

  6. Michael S says

    Very good article! I often find myself making excuses for things that I know better. We get complacent when we are making progress if we forget the goals we had. I’m sure it took some time to sell all that they had, and in the middle they could have gotten excited by the money in hand. They could have taken off with that money, spent it, and then had neither goods nor treasure. Just like the prodigal son. Just like many of us have done in some form or fashion (credit card debt).

    I recently had to “re-up” my budget, because we were getting too lax again. It starts with the small decisions, and grows into bigger ones. I had to remind myself of what my goals are. We had to cut down the menu again, and learn we just didn’t eat what we thought we needed to eat. It doesn’t take long to get your eyes off the budget, and it will fall apart.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • “… It starts with the small decisions…” Absolutely right Michael! And those small decisions lead to big problems down the road.

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