The more the economy continues to bump along, without much evidence of rebound, anxieties and fears accumulate in the back corridors of our minds. We don't like uncertainty, especially financial uncertainty. Have you noticed how many people are ready for change? Can you see how much need we all have for financial breakthrough? Poor employment numbers and lost equity push us out of our comfort zone. We're looking for direction, hope, and positive change.
So how do we get the lasting change we are looking for? How do we create more value and fruitfulness in our lives and our bank accounts?
The answer is below ground, in the root system of your life. In Psalm chapter 1, David likened the righteous person to "a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." It doesn't matter how dry the economic climate for the tree planted by the stream. It gets its water whether it rains or not. It is rooted into good and well-watered soil, immune to leaf-withering heat. Jesus talked about this well-rootedness in the parable of the sower as well. You see, shallow soil can produce quick change and often times will look better faster. But soil without depth prevents lasting change. Rich soil, Jesus says, produces deep roots that can withstand the elements. When the root is healthy, chances are high that the fruit will be as well.
Consider a skyscraper. You must go down before you go up. If you try to build up first, there won’t be any foundation to protect against the elements and eventually it will come tumbling down. Consider the earthquakes that hit both Haiti and Chili. Chili's quake pegged the Richter at 8.8, which is several magnitudes greater than Haiti's 7.0. Yet the damage in Chili was significantly less. What was the difference? Building codes. Chili's were more stringent, and Haiti's were lax. As a result, residents of Chili had better foundations, and were more stable when the earth started to shake.
These Scriptural principles and real-world examples show us the importance of a solid foundation, in life and in our finances. Foundations take time to build, but they help us stand strong, stay safe, and grow green in times of trouble.
Here are four strong roots that provide a healthy foundation for your financial life:
- An emergency fund of at least $1,000.
- A clear, workable debt-elimination plan that gets rid of everything except your home mortgage.
- The habit of naming every dollar you spend before the month begins.
- Getting rid of credit cards and using cash in discretionary spending categories.
Be sure to take advantage of our discipleship tools in the area of finances. Check out our powerful personal finance root-builder, Breaking Free. Get a group together at church or work, and get started firming up your foundation. You can take our MoneyFinder assessment completely free, and find new ways to save money and increase financially. May your life be richly blessed as you develop a strong foundation!