This blog is all about financial independence and our family’s journey toward that end. But financial independence isn’t really an end in itself. You shouldn’t save money just to have the money. The hoarding of money is clearly condemned by God in several passages of scripture. Here’s one example:
I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner…Ecclesiastes 5:13, NIV
It is better to think of money as a tool. And how do we plan to use that tool? Well, we want to be financially independent so that we can retire from our current jobs and begin working full-time serving the church and our local community. That’s a mouthful. Let me explain.
Jesus and his apostles repeatedly call Christians to service throughout the New Testament. In Galatians 5:13 (NIV), the apostle Paul writes, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” In Romans 12:1 (NIV), Paul also writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” Jesus Christ paid our ransom; he bought our freedom. We’re like prisoners who have been freed. Now, on the other side of the penitentiary fence, what do we do with that freedom? Do we leave the world behind and head to the nearest island for a piña colada and some sun? No! We’re called to love and worship the one who showed us mercy and freed us in the first place, and the way we do that is through obedient service.
The obedient service described in the New Testament seems to be two-pronged: serving those outside the church (think missionary work, evangelism, and humanitarian aid) and serving those within it (church ministries like the discipleship of children and benevolence committees fall into this camp). You see in the examples of all the apostles that mature Christians typically do both to some degree. For example, the apostle Paul was a missionary who evangelized peoples across Asia and Europe and, at the same time, provided practical and spiritual support to the churches he planted.
As Mr. Uppity and I mature as Christians, we are finding that our desire to give all of our lives to God is growing. We want to participate more in God’s work in the church and on Earth. I have worked for many years as a writer, mostly on niche topics. Mr. Uppity has done some service work in his free time, but he has always wanted to make it his main focus. The work that we do now is losing it’s luster. And so, earlier this year, we began to restructure our lives, especially our finances, to respond to this call to service for God. We plan to do what work we can now, in our church and community, and we will write about our mission here on this blog.
But part of that plan is to save toward financial independence so that, in the future, we will be able to make this mission our full-time occupation.
I took a class on personal finance once at a church I attended years ago, and the teacher of this class said the goal for the course was to teach us how to “make as much as you can, so you can save as much as you can, and then give as much as you can.” He meant for this to mean we should all save money to give as much as we can in the form of charitable donations and tithing. I’d like to extend this apt little phrase to the idea of financial independence. Saving as much as we can (and achieving financial independence) allows us to give as much as we can. That includes the fullness of our time and energy, which would be otherwise spent doing work, day-in and day-out, that may not be as helpful to others.
Are you saving toward financial independence too? Do you and your husband or wife have a shared mission in service to God? Please, comment below and share your experiences with us.