There are a few things my wife says often. Actually, what she says has become an integral part of our family culture. Here are some of things she says to me on any given week or day.
- She quotes Dave Ramsey, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
- She also quotes Pastor Andy Stanley, "Say no for now, but not forever.”
- “Go work out.” I hear this on a daily basis.
- “Honey, can you _____.” I usually find something “important” to do when I hear these words.
I’d like to focus today on the first two sayings. The first one is from the finance guru Dave Ramsey. She’ll often remind me that it is better to live within our means, sometimes even try to live below it, so that someday we’ll have something to give to our children (I got a lot of giving to do) and Others.
There are days we’d like to buy all sorts of things, especially me. The other day I was at Toys R Us to get baby formula. Yes, they sell baby formula at Toys R Us. On my way out, I wandered aimlessly and found myself staring at the new WiiU. I imagined the ways I could use it, play it with my kids, all of us laughing and having fun on the couch. I thought to myself, “I really need this.” The thing is, I don’t play video games. They bore me to death. But isn't this what we do? We think money is for spending, rather than using it as a tool to invest, sustain, and bless. I’d like to give a little twist to this quote. “Live like no one else today, so that you can give like no one else tomorrow.”
Then there’s the other quote. I initially heard this on a podcast that I follow. It’s a podcast featuring Pastor Andy Stanley. It’s packed with wisdom and practical help for pastors and leaders. In any case, in one of the episodes, Pastor Andy began to explain his family motto that he and his wife lived by in order to provide the best culture of growth for their kids and their church. They would often say to each other, “No for now, but not forever.” For instance, Sandra his wife, decided that it was best to give up her weekly tennis matches in order to better serve her children. Another example was of Andy forgoing and declining speaking invitations, some of which could have catapulted his ministry and career, in order that he may be more available to his kids and his church. They wanted to create a home (and a church) “where the kids want to be with us even when they don’t have to be.” The truth is, there is a season for everything. Our kids will never have this season again. They will only be babies, toddlers, kids once. Our church will only be in this formative stage once. What we do and don’t do now contributes to the health of the family and tribe we belong to. Each season matters (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As for the Stanleys, once their kids grew up, more opportunities opened and fellowship and fun were all waiting for them as well.
Every year we find ourselves asking is this a “no for now, not forever” event, opportunity, gig? If so, we try to always choose the tribe and our kids before choosing the “instagram-able” moments we were invited to. Lately, I’ve had some amazing opportunities, which I’ve had to painfully say “no” to. When I was single I ran around accepting every invitation to preach or to play, it was fun and rewarding and I grew much from it. Nowadays, I find that saying "no" is really saying "yes" to a better, more rich future with my kids, our church, and even the Other.
I'll end with this.
I recently saw a Facebook post from an old professor of mine from seminary. He wrote, “faithfulness > famousness”. It’s true, faithfulness is greater than famousness, greater than more-fun-ness, greater than greater-opportunity-ness. You get what I’m saying.
Join us as we attempt to live faithfully to those whom God has given to our care.
And thanks wife for always reminding me to live like no one else today so that we can live (and give) like no one else tomorrow and that saying no for now is not to say no forever.
Here's to intentional living in Christ.