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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What is this all about?

Our guiding principle is fairly simple. Matthew 6:19-21 says "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Especially that last part. We want the heart of our family to be focused on things that will last forever.

The primary reason we are writing this thing is to talk about what we, as a family, are doing with our personal finances in order to give more away to those the Bible says over and over again are near and dear to the heart of God. Namely, the poor and needy, widows and orphans. We aren't millionaires, so by American standards some would say we are not 'wealthy'. However, by the world's standard, we are Very Rich. Considering some 80% of the world lives on $1 per day, we're doing pretty well. Still think you're not rich beyond your wildest dreams? I have heard that if you have reliable transportation, clothes and some food and water each day, you're doing better than 85% of the rest of the world.

What our family has been recently convicted of is that while we are giving at least 10% of our gross income as a tithe to our church, and a little more than that to other charitable causes, we still are spending a lot of money on luxuries for ourselves. What do I mean by 'luxuries'? Well, that is the point of this blog, but we have been going through our finances and started trying to look at things differently. Necessity versus Luxury is our new mantra. Do we really need that new lawnmower with the 40HP motor and fully enclosed, air-conditioned cab, or can we do with the 12-year old push model that has served us well for the past, well, 12 years? That's not really something we were considering, but you get the gist.

Recently we have been listening to a series of sermons by David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brookhills in Birmingham, AL. The series was first preached in late 2008, and available online Here if you have some time - it is well worth it. During the course of the sermons, David highlights over and over again the fact that thirty thousand children will die each and every day due to hunger and preventable disease. Not every year or month or week - every single day. That's a child every three seconds. Can we, the crazy Owens family, stop the death of thirty thousand children today by rearranging our finances? Doubtful. Seriously doubtful if we don't try. Impossible if we do nothing. Perhaps we could help just one.

So here we go. We are currently looking over our finances and budget to identify things that are potential candidates for the scrap heap. We'll share those things here - both large and small - in hopes that it will be of some use to you as well as us.

What we want

This blog will hopefully serve many purposes. First, we hope that by keeping track of how we, The Owens Family, modify our lives and how we spend money, it will be an encouragement to others. Also, since we are selfish people and prone to compromise even our own plans for personal comfort, we hope this will serve as a means of keeping us accountable. We also want feedback. So if you have some thoughts about what we are doing or how we are doing it, speak up. If you have any personal experiences that you would like to share with us, bring it on.

What we don't want

We don't want this blog to be a place where it looks like we are saying "Hey look at us. We're sacrificing stuff and therefore we are cool and we want you to look at us and wish you were us." If that's how it is coming across, please let us know and we'll try to keep our egos in check.


Joshua Goodling said...

I think this is great! And I've been going down that same "road" lately myself. Wondering why I spend so much money on stuff I don't need, luxuries, etc., when countless thousands of people around the world are dying both physically and spiritually.

Anonymous said...

I love that you guys are examining this and then writing about it. Since moving across town to a big house and paying 2 mortgages (still) we have been on an "austerity" budget, and it is pretty lean, but it makes us think even more about how we are spending money- what does it say about our relationship with our money- more importantly what does THAT say about our relationship with God... will be enjoying more of your posts! avl

Nancy said...

I think this is wonderful! There are other people (us included!) who are starting to have the same thought. Starting to catch the vision of how things should be done while down here in our temporary homes. We want to give more and more, but it will be a struggle with our selfishness to give up more comfort and "luxuries". Thanks for the inspiration!

Christy said...

Excited to start following your blog. I was introduced to your family at Created for Care. Our family can't wait to begin helping SixtyFeet, and to begin out own plan of "downsizing" so that some of these kids might live and thrive. Just today, I bought a new striped shower curtain...that I'm taking back tomorrow because we already have a striped shower curtain! I mean, really, who needs two striped shower curtains! :) Instead, we're going to "invest" that money into buying supplies for the National Cupcake sale! God bless!