"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 ESV
I am not an artist - not one with a brush and paint, that is - but even I know that you start a picture with the background. It would be nearly impossible to paint the rustic barn and silo first, then try to come back and add the beautiful sky and luscious landscape; it just wouldn't make sense. In order for my perspective on money and what God has to say about it to make sense, it feels like I need to first back up and paint some background.
My parents were pioneers of sorts, moving hundreds of miles away from friends and family to help with a tiny mission church in the hills of Arkansas. In their teeny, tiny house with no phone and no indoor bathroom and a dirt road running past raising clouds of dust, they certainly didn't have much in the way of earthly riches.
I was born and raised in Arkansas, though by the time I came along the house we lived in was quite a bit bigger, the road was paved and we had a phone and an indoor bathroom. But only one bathroom for a family of eight! That one small fact bears testament to the principles I was raised on.
We never had much money but we had a lot of love and a lot of happy memories.
My husband's parents spent their first years of married life in a trailer, eeking out a living on a school teacher's salary. When Chris was three, his family moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio. The old, drafty farmhouse they called home was certainly nothing fancy. Family stories include ones about sleeping together in the living room on cold, winter nights to try to stay warm and the old, black Mazda they drove in those days, if they could push it fast enough to get it to start!
Over the years the drafty old farmhouse was gradually brought into the 20th century and the black Mazda was retired for a more reliable vehicle. While there was never a lot of extra, there was always enough. What they lacked in possessions was made up for in love and laughter and stability.
These were the principles we were raised on. Whether a vehicle got you from point A to point B was generally of more importance than it's shiny wheels or first rate paint job. The purchase of a living room couch was based more on sturdiness and comfort than whether it matched the rocking chair or the curtains. These values were instrumental in shaping our lives and, quite possibly, part of what attracted us to each other. On this background we began our life together.