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02 Gather Up the Fragments: The Secret to Prosperity

Alistair Huong
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Based on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, this seminar investigates one principle that Jesus tried to teach in that experience. We also discuss the concepts of assets, liabilities, and net worth, all in the context of how money can be a tool to give personal freedom. And ultimately, how that freedom ought to be used to serve and help others.

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Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse

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Recorded

  • June 21, 2021
    3:30 PM
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In you are about to enjoy a presentation recorded at the 2021 michigan conference camp meeting held at cedar lake michigan. We pray that the Lord will bless you as you listen father, heaven, we thank you for bringing us safely together this afternoon. We thank you for the spiritual, the physical, the social nourishment that we've had a camp meeting so far. And as we spend a few thoughtful moments now reflecting on your counsel on something as mundane, but yet all pervasive as money. May you give us wisdom and may you guide us into how to manage these resources for your glory. So be with us this next hour we pray in jesus' name. Amen. Yesterday we went through a quiz. We will cover some basic basic principles on personal finance and also some preview of what we are going to be discussing the rest of this week. And just for in case you weren't here today and tomorrow. So the 1st 3 sessions yesterday today and tomorrow we are dealing with more of the nuts and bolts, personal financial topics. And today, as you can see on the fly than in your program, we're talking about gathering up the fragments read. This was at the tail end of yesterday. We talked about how pra, how to define prosperity in a biblical way, and how do we manage our money in, in light of that tomorrow, we're going to be talking all about debt. And I will mentioned this upfront in the program. Initially I had thought I could tackle both debt and budgeting at the same time. As I got to preparing, i realized there was no way I could cover all of it. And so I figured you would forgive me for cutting out the budgeting portion, since most people tend to not care about budgeting. So much. Not to say it's not important, but we're going to be focusing on debt instead, tomorrow. And then the last half of the week, we are going to be taking a dive into prophecy and really asking some common questions that I have received in light of our understanding of the times as well as the personal financial implications of some of those things. And so you can look forward to that and we'll discuss more as we go along. So we have our title and our topic in front of us gather up the fragments, the secret to prosperity. Now of course I have to do my little plug, saving the crumbs dot com is the blog personal finance blog, my wife and I wrote a number of years ago that sort of got us interested in the world. A personal finance. You can find a lot of articles about our personal journey with money there and audio verse dot org. That's the ministry represent as the director and a number of my previous seminars on this topic as well as others can be found there as well. And some of you have been asking me about this on the side. I am a licensed professional, a financial planner. And I am currently in the process of starting my firm is going through the state regulation process. And so I can't necessarily promoted or anything at the right now, but it is in the works just in f y I in case you were wondering about that. Our 1st statement comes from the book, desire of ages, and this is where we get the title for the day. Gather up the fragments. It says here, but he capital age. So we're talking about christ here. But he who had all the resources of infinite power at his command said, gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be loft. What story in the bible are we talking about here? The feeding of the 5000. That's right. A plus bible students. You know that story. Jesus words are, these words meant more than putting the bread into the baskets. Nothing is to be wasted. We are to let slip know temporal advantage. So this statement really forms the basis of our presentation today. And that is that in that statement that jesus gave gather up the fragments he was communicating a principal, a life principal. And in the context of our seminar, a financial principle. And that is gathered the fragments, economize, be frugal, be resourceful. Don't waste take advantage of the resources that has been placed into your care. And that's really the thrust of what I'm trying to emphasize today. And this story of the feeding of the 5000, this idea of gathering up the fragments played a role in how my wife and I ended up calling our blog, saving the cramps. Because saving the crowns gather the fragments. It's more or less the same, the same thing. But in our case, when we 1st got married, my wife being the good avenues wife that she is. She wanted to save money. She wanted a baker on bread. And so we were experimenting with the bread recipes, and initially it was crumbly and it wasn't really, you know, wasn't perfected yet. And so when you cut the bread on the, when we cut bread on the cutting board and there's some crumbs left over, what do we normally do? We might just brush it off into the trash or into the, into the sink. But we decided, look, we're going to be breaking a lot of bread. So let's just save the cramp. That's literally what we did. We had a container couple where we just save the crumbs they put in the freezer and eventually we had enough bread crumbs to use and some other recipe. And so we realize, hey, this is kind the story kind of illustrates the ethos if you will, that we wanted to communicate in our block. And of course, I think it also highlights, in a sense, the idea of gathering up the fragments. Now our bread recipes no longer leave a trail of breadcrumbs and so we don't necessarily do that quite as much now, but we still big plenty of bread at home. And so let's go back. Let's go back to set the stage a little bit for where we're headed. Go back with me to my very 1st job. I was in 7th or 8th grade. I was maybe, 9th grade I was. That was the oldest. I would have been with my 1st paying job and I wanted to get new basketball shoes because as you can tell, i am just most amazing basketball player. Right? No. Why do you think I want basketball shoes? Because everybody else had them. And I had my very 1st job and my 1st job paid me a whopping $5.25. And some of you, you know, more senior than I will probably snicker at that and say, that's a lot of money, young whippersnapper. But as any sensible young person would do, I ran the math right. You do the math. How many hours? Well, I have to work earning $5.25 to buy that pair of shoes. And at the time, I don't know if they were air jordans or not, a lot of young people looked at me and you got to be crazy, $50.00 for a pair. Jordan's, when did you grow up? So maybe they were just nike, i don't know, but whatever the case, I remember I wanted a $50.00 pair shoes and my parents are like, you pay for them. You got a job now. So I realize that the work 10 hours, right? $525.00 times $1052.50. Okay, so I buy those shoes and guess what immediately happens next. What else can I by right? I was a gamer at the time. I'm fortunately a recovered video game addict. And I wanted to play station, and the game that I wanted was $80.00. And so ok, how many hours am I gonna have to work me? 16 hours to make 84 bucks. Ok. All right, I can do that. But then very quickly, i wanted designer sunglasses because all my friends that I want digital camera because all my friends had them and then you can't just have the cheap knock off stuff. You got to have like the really expensive glass and all that stuff. And of course I was in high school, so immediately my head went to the new car, and of course I wanted and su, be I want to truck, right? And so does this sound familiar to you, this type of thinking money and a job equals the means by which we accumulate more stuff. And pretty soon it became very clear that there was not going to be enough hours in the day for me to work at $5.25 an hour to buy all of the stuff on my wish list. And so begins the American way, the record broken record in our heads. I just keep saying we need more money. And isn't that really what we're communicated every day? You turn on the news, you watch all the ads on social media and everything is telling us, you need to buy more stuff. You need to have more stuff, you need to make more money. And so we have, we are living now within a narrative. On wealth and really it looks like this. The narrative and wealth is well, let's just do what everybody else does, doesn't matter if they're flying off a cliff of insolvency or massive debt. Everybody spends all their money. Every paycheck. Everybody has a car payment. Everybody has student loans, nobody packs their lunch to work and what kind of bozo does that? Everybody on Facebook is going on fancy vacations and everyone's instagram. It's amazing food that they're eating, that I somehow am entitled to as well. This is the world in which we live. And so we get put onto the rat race. And it is based on this unspoken understanding that somehow happiness is equivalent to consumption. Or somehow the more we consume, the happier we will be. And now the American dream is now defined as just having lots of stuff and having lots of stuff, no matter what the cost might be, doesn't matter if you're leveraged up to your eyeballs with credit card debt in order to get that stuff. As long as you have the illusion of owning that stuff, even though the bank owns it, right, is driven by the sense of never having enough and easy debt can create illusion of an amazing american dream. But as we know, debt can come crashing down on us hands. So you might have heard some of these things. I'll be happy once I take that vacation or i'd buy that car, fancy restaurant, we may never see those things out loud. Every so often we can feel that it's that we want to scratch. Look at all the nice things my friends on Facebook have or instagram or whatever social media you might be a part of. I deserve them to. This is what marketing experts try to indoctrinate us with. Oh and then we say the cost of living is so high, life is so difficult. If only I was rich, we start wistfully thinking and we start creeping into the, the borderline of the violating a 10 commandment. The coveting what other people have. And then the American mentality is it's always someone else's fault, right? I can't get ahead because it's the one percent fall. It's the president's fault. It's the Governor's fault. It's my boss's fault is everybody else's phone is never my fault. And there's nothing we can do about it. So this is really the world in which we live in America. This is the, the story that we're fed, indoctrinated in imperceptibly, or may be very overtly as well in our everyday life. It is pervasive unspoken narrative by which we operate today, but I want to explode that narrative today. And this picture here, I believe, should be feared into our mind because this picture represents what most americans live are like today. Gigantic explosives, chinos of waste. You see the problem, I believe in most of our lives in America today is not that we don't have enough, but it's actually that we have too much and we ought to remember what jesus said to gather up the fragments. So let me try to illustrate this. We live in a day and age in which on any given night of the week, we can go out on the town and we can have cuisine from anywhere in the world. We can have chinese food, we can have tie food and ah, mexican food and japanese food value and food, mediterranean for you name it anywhere just about anywhere in the country. We can have what we want and at an affordable rate. Just think just a few 100 years ago, even the kings and the queens in their castles did not have such a decadence and delicacies to choose to eat from. And there are armies of servers and waiters and chef fighting, competing for the chance to serve you. And when I say sir, I mean literally serve with the red carpet treatment and white glove treatment and all of that. And so we go to a fancy restaurant, lets say, and the food comes out, its too salty, its tooth sour, it's too cold. We don't like the Food. What do we do? Oh, it was only $15.00 a plate, so we just throw it away. That's how we live in America. It wasn't that expensive. We say. And yet we have the luxury that even kings and queens not long before, couldn't even dream of. And how did those kings and queens get transported around very road, their chariots, their wagons lined with the pelts of dead animal. Right. And so how do we drive around today? We drive round and gigantic chariots lined with pelts of dead animals in metal boxes, in which we can travel 70 miles per hour, sitting down without breaking a sweat. In fact, we can control the weather inside our little chariots. Just think about it. What were the kings and queens of all would have said what kind of sore 3 is this? And what do we do when the car gets a little bit rickety? We just go and buy a new one every 5 years, 68 months is the length of an average car, more our car payments and they just trade it in and we get a new one. And so what do we do? We go to that restaurants, we idol that gigantic s U v and the driveway waiting for whoever it is and our families to get ready. Burning the the dinosaur juice that we pay $3.00 a gallon at the pump for. And how do we get to the restaurant? We have these little devices, super computers that have more power than the space shuttle that went to the moon in our pockets. And it can communicate with satellites, thousands of miles up in the, in, in space giving us direction to navigate a town. We've never been to, wow, what kind of technology is this? And then when it gets a little crack on the screen, it gets a little bit slow with throw it in the trash or not, maybe not the trash can, but we throw it in our drawer and we say, I need a new one. And with all this power, we sit around watching youtube videos like silly cats playing on the piano. So you think with all of this computing power in our pocket, we would be like solving world hunger and, and curing cancer. Why we would have gone to them. We should be settling on mars already. But no, we waste all this decadence, all this wealth, all this privilege, do you know who this guy as john d rockefeller? He is the richest american of all time. Adjusted for inflation is net worth is somewhere around $350000000000.00. That is almost double. What the richest man in the world is now, jeff bezos. And guess what? You live a better life than him. Of course, we might be thinking, how can that be had so much money? Well, sure. But want to, when you think about transportation, education, technological advancement, medical care, the ability to have a flushing toilet in your house. That was when he lived in the turn of the 20th Century, those things were not commonplace. We can hop on a, on an airplane and travel around the world. Any of us really, it's within our grass. It's possible. He had to take the steamers back then. As so, what am I trying to say? The volcano represents us. We are the wealthiest. Yes. Yet most wasteful generation that ever walked the earth. Our perspective really has to change. Because the perspective, if we buy into the American way of life, we're always going to be chasing this elusive dream. That is really just a mirage. Dave ramsey put it Well, he says we buy things, we don't need with money. We don't have to impress people. We don't like that's the American way. And so we need a bus to Miss. How do we do that? We need to stop accepting society's narrative about money. We need to stop associating happiness with consumption. We need to stop believing that we are the financial victim. We need to stop living beyond our means, and we need to stop worrying about what other people may think of us and other people, not just the people around us, but our social media and all the rest. So let's be the change start by taking ownership of our own financial issue. Start by being intentional about where our money goes. Star, gathering the fragments and saving the current crumbs and dare to be peculiar. We understand the statement in the bible. We are peculiar people. Hey, we go to church on a weird day. Nobody goes to church on Saturday except the jews, right. That's what we're the other christians say. Well, might as well go all the way. Let's be weird with our money to write. We're going to be peculiar. So let's just go all the way. So here's a statement i want to start at the end of this passage. This is Phillip in chapter 4, verse 13. And then we'll go back to verse 11. We all know this promise. I can do all things through him, which strengthens me. How many of you are have quoted and claimed this promise before, when in time of trouble we all have. But I want to notice right now the particular context in which paul said or gave this promise to us. He says, not that I am speaking of being in need for I have learned in whatever situation, I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound in any and every circumstance i've learned a secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through human strength as me. So particularly what in what context are, what does paul need help with? What does he need strength from god to accomplish or to overcome to be content. So paul is saying it is a difficult thing for us to live in a state of contentment. And so he says, dear, here's the promise for you. I can do all things through christ who strengthens me, even if it means being okay with my lot in life, even though it is not as nicer as fancy earth as extravagant as my next door neighbor, or as my best friend on Facebook or whoever it might be and so this passage i think has more applicable applicability to us living in this country today than perhaps even in his day. All right, so switching gears a little bit. So some people now then ask me, ask the question, ok, i want to be content right? But really, how much should I be making? Right? Like we talked yesterday about money won't buy you happiness, but neither will poverty. So there does need to be some way of making a living. So how do we measure? Well, how do we determine, how much do we need? Because we know Yes, I don't want to waste. I don't want to waste, but we do want to think about the income side. Right. And the well side doctors and lawyers with their 6 figure incomes. Yeah, we know they're rich, but me like how do we, how do we measure this? All right, so let's talk about some financial topics for just a moment. How is wealth measured? When we talk about wealth, you hear the term thrown around a lot. Net worth is what we talk about, how do you calculate net worth? net worth is simply our assets minus our liabilities. And that gives us our net worth. So that begs the question, what our assets and what our liability assets simply put, are things that we own. So these are things like our cash in our bank, our investments, like our stocks and bonds, things like that. Properties real estate vehicles as well. Liabilities are things that we owe. So student loans, credit cards, car notes, mortgage is debt of all types. So assets minus liabilities give us our net worth, and that is how we measure wealth. So let's look at an example. We have teacher tray and Dr. Dawn teacher tray, he earns $50000.00 a year, which is just under the median household income in the United States today. And he owned a $200000.00 house and he drives a 10 year old toyota Camry. Doctor dawn, on the other hand, he earns $200000.00 a year. He has an $800000.00 house, and he, dr. A current year b and w. So just on paper who looks wealthier, sinatra question, who look, who look wealthier? Don? clearly he has a higher income, has a bigger house, the nicer car. His career has higher earning potential. He has, you know, the pedigree, he's got the, the paper, but who actually is wealthier? Well, if you're paying attention, you realize this doesn't really give us the full picture, doesn't give us enough information. So what's the rest of the story here? So teacher tray here is his balance sheet. So just in financial speak, a balance sheet is the financial statement in which the net worth is calculated. When you hear people say the bottom line. But the bottom line of the balance sheet is the net worth. And it just aggregates assets and liabilities. So his assets, yes, $12500.00 in cash is how home $200000.00 is cars with $6000.00 and he has $340000.00 saved in retirement. So he has assets worth $550500.00. But notice he has 0 debt, so that means his assets. In fact, all added together equal is not worth. And you notice the calculation of his net worth really had nothing to do directly with his $50.00 a $50000.00 a year income. So let's take a look at don. Don has $5000.00 in cash and $800000.00 home, $80000.00 vehicle. He has not seen anything for retirement, but notice his liabilities. He has a mortgage of $640000.72 car loan $250000.00 for medical school, student debt, and $20000.00 on his credit card. So you see the, the numbers tallied on the side there. His assets are $885000.00, but he is nearly to a $1000000.00 in his liabilities yielding him a negative net worth. And so when we look at them side by side who now is wealthier, the teacher is clearly wealthier on the metric of the net worth. And so maybe a secondary lesson we can have here is for all of our, you know, for our medical professional friends, our dentist and doctors, maybe instead of hitting them up for money too soon, we might be a little bit more cautious and give them a little bit of pity because this actually is not an uncommon scenario, particularly for new grad residence, not a new doctor is coming out. They have massive student loan debt that actually may have that they actually may have a negative network for some time. So. So the question for us today is who would you rather be teacher tray on one hand, if you just look at the trappings of his life, he's got a small dinky little house. He's driving an old car, he's got no flashiness to his lifestyle at all. But he has a positive net worth and he owns all the stuff that he has. Whereas dawn, on the other hand, he has a big house. He has a big car. He has the luxurious lifestyle. He has the prestige and all of this stuff, but he has a negative net worth. So who would you rather be? So the point is that income does not equal wealth. Important to keep that in mind and may be more important is that spending does not equal wealth. And this is right. Again, I'm trying to dispel the narrative that we're being force fed about money. Just because we spend a lot of money doesn't make us wealthy. All of a sudden, so let's, let's take a look at a few statistics here. So, this is a federal reserve report from a few years ago. Says even the upper middle class struggles to save money, so helpful with income, the $75.00 to $100000.00. This is the class that they're talking about. Of this class, 55 percent, see nothing in 2012 and 16 percent spent more than what they earned and went further into debt and 20 percent would go into months of debt if there was a 400 dollar emergency. And notice we're not talking about just americans across the board. We're talking americans who earn between $75.00 and a $100000.00, also known as the upper middle class. This is a travesty. This is a disaster. What are spending? So this is a report by piper, jeffrey, which is a investment firm looking at the spending habits of teenagers in America. And notice whether an average income or upper income household. So we're talking about the, the lower and upper middle class here, teens still spend about 40 percent of their budget on fashion. So what is saying here is that teenagers, whether they're in a poorer or a more affluent family, they still spend the same proportion on their fashion. Meaning they, they spend a lot of money on clothes. Teams will make 2 trips to a restaurant for every one trip. They make a gas station, which is another way of saying they eat out a lot. And do teens have a lot of money? Ah, yeah, they don't have income, generally speaking. And so what does this mean? spending is not correlated with earning. And another way of putting it, I've, in a book, i read the millionaire next door. It's put it this way. It's like having a big hat with no cattle. That's what we see here. Young people spending lots of money living the live, having the trappings of the consumer lifestyle. But yet they actually don't have any wealth to speak of. So wealth is determined by not how much you earn or spend, but by how much you keep, and a person with a big paycheck and a low net worth. While a person with a small paycheck can still have a high net worth k. So now this is where it gets a little bit more interesting. Another common misconception is that a millionaire must be someone who earns a $1000000.00 a year. That's actually not the case. A millionaire is calculated on the net worth not on the income. So for example, warren buffett, one of the most famous investors of all time, one of the wealthiest men of all time, he has a salary of, quote unquote, only $100000.00 a year for running his firm. Berkshire hathaway as a ceo, but is not worth is over a $100000000000.00. So you see he's a billionaire because of his net worth and not because of his salary. However, when we look at professional athletes, many of them earn multiple, multiple millions of dollars per year, guaranteed money sometimes. But what are, what about their net worth? Well, worth illustrated a while back did some research, and this is an article they wrote on how and why athletes go broke. This is what they found out by the time that they have been retired for 2 years, 78 percent a former and f L players have gone bankrupt or under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce. Within 5 years of retirement and estimate 60 percent of former and be players are broke. So you see in this example, just because they earned a bunch of money, does not, not a magically make them wealthy because their net worth was still in some of these cases 0 because they went broke or maybe even negative. So here's some questions to ask. Are we buying consumables that decrease in value, or are we buying assets that increase in value? Right. We talk about assets, things that we all know we're spending money on stuff that just depreciate in value or that have no value at all. Or we're exchanging something a value for something that has no value or has decreasing value. Are we spending everything we make each month or are we saving and investing? We talked a little bit about yesterday. How even the work statements from the spirit of prophecy saying, we have a duty to make provision for the future, meaning providing for our families. And do we have debt that cancels out our assets on our balance sheet? And we're going to talk all about debt to morrow. And the final question here, do we owe more than we own? This is really the question when we talk about practically managing our financial picture in financial planning, that's one of the 1st things we look at, the personal balance sheet. Look at the assets, look at the liabilities and see how they shake out. And generally, we want to see a positive net worth if you have a significantly negative net worth, then we have, we may be looking at a crisis situation. So counselors are stewardship page 249 says this, I was shown that you, my brother and sister have much to learn. You have not lived within your means. You have not learned to economize another word for gather up the fragments, right? If you earn high wages, you do not know how to make it go as far as possible. You consult taste or appetite instead of prudence. At times you expend money for a quality of food in which your Brother and cannot afford to indulge. Dollars slipped from your pocket very easily. This is like a statement to our culture today, applicable to the American lifestyle in 2021. So now the question generally comes up. Why or what's the purpose of saving any way? You talk about being frugal and gathering up the fragments. But what's the point? Why not splurge a little bit? I can afford it. I'm making all this money. I should live a little bit. I want to enjoy life. We've all heard this before, right? So let's talk a little bit about what are some of the purpose, what might be some of the purpose for saving? Why prioritize it so much? So we need to discuss 1st, what money actually is, what money is good for money as a tool with only 3 functions. So 1st, money is what can we do with money? Number one is to spend on current needs or wants. So we can spend the money or we can save it for future needs or wants, or we can give it away. All right, pretty much anything you do with money with more or less fall within $1.00 of these 3 buckets. And so when we think about saving, we're thinking really about the bottom 2 options, right? saving for future needs and wants or to save to give away because we're spending it today, and that's not saving it. So here are a few ideas that we have future needs that we are looking at making provision for families need. Maybe we need a new car. Maybe we have a rickety old car, and sooner or later it's going to need to be replaced. Maybe we should say for that, and by the way, tomorrow we're going to be talking specific strategy on how to buy a car without a car loan. Okay, so we're going to talk about that. And then also saving for college, particularly avenue education. We all know the price of Education, private education has been going up and up and up and up. So saving if we have children who are going to be going to college receiving for that. If we want to buy a house, if there is a wedding coming up, retirement, big purchases, etc. But once we reach our financial goal, and we have the financial wherewithal to accomplish the things that are that to provide for our family, then we don't need a horde up cash. We don't need a horde up just because we want to build bigger. Barnes like the rich fool. So the surplus then can go to God and that's where the giving can be increased. And so these are few things that we can be saving for, but there is one important item I need to add. That is, we are saving up for freedom, freedom to share, to, to, to serve. And to give, i mentioned this is example yesterday and I realize, I mean, I have explained a very well. But this is concept of if you think of financial freedom as being able to take off from your work, if I can save a 100 percent, if I can say 50 percent, rather if I live on 50 percent of my income this year and I said the other 50 percent, that means I can lose my job, or I can choose to walk away from my job for an entire year and not go broke. That's financial independence is to say, lord, i'm willing to go to the mission field of you have me and God says here, and we are placed. We have placed ourselves in a financial position so that we can do that, right. How often do we hear young people coming out of school? I have student loan debt. I would love to serve the Lord, but I have to pay off my student loan or I have to, I have the clock in to this job that I detest, because I have to pay off the house. I have student loan debt. I have to pay off my car. There's a term for this nowadays, it's called wage slaves. Someone who has a slave to the 9 to 5 in their cubicle because they are tied down to that stream of income to maintain, to keep the lifestyle inflated, to keep up with appearances. So to say. But yet we can't work for god. We can't be a missionary, we can't go where we ask us because we are tied down. So there are actual spiritual implications to this as a why do we save? One of the reasons is the sense of freedom and autonomy, and I think it's far more satisfying and far more valuable to have that freedom than all the toys in the world. P T. Barnum. One said money is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master. And so this is another argument, whenever I talk about this, my wife and I, we are somewhat frugal like, frugal, nuts like we're really crazy with saving money. So people say, do we have to live like, you know, you don't have to look live just like us. But I do want to dispel the myth that like, frugal living is somehow like masochistic, like self inflicted torture. Like, ah, i'm going to be a monk. I'm going to suffer, i won't have any fun. Well, there might be some sacrifices, but maybe to give you some perspective of the way we perceive it. So what is it like? OK, so some of the negatives we hardly ever eat out. Some of some of us, my kind of like that, like I don't particularly care to eat out all the time. We don't have a TV in our home. We don't have entertainment subscription, so no, netflix, no, hulu, no. Disney Plus no national Geographic need. And none of that stuff, yes. Be, and we have a youth but reliable car. And between my wife and I, we've managed our lifestyle so that we just have one car instead of 2. Even though there's nothing wrong with having 2 cars that we've just been able to manage with one. And we have a minivan. I have a whole, i can, I can do a whole hour on the virtues of minivans. But anyway, not going to go into that. I'll just say that you go to any asian church, right? korean church, chinese church apnea, church go into the car parking lot more than 50 percent. The cars are going to be many vents and asians not to do math. I'm just gonna leave it that there is a reason. There's a reason why our. Anyway, we don't have expensive family trips to disney land, so we don't get to do the quote unquote fund american pass time stuff, right? Like we don't have a season pass the baseball game we're or football stadium or whatever. We have a simple life without the trappings of luxury. If I can put it another way, we have a Honda budget. And so we don't go shopping for b, m W, but if we have a, B, m, W, taste, but a Honda budget, that's when we have a problem. Right? And so part of the secret, frugal living is we've accustomed our teeth to match our budget. But what are some of the benefits now? We have freedom from the stress of slavery to lenders. We have no debt, we paid off our house, our car, we have no student debt. We have the freedom for my wife to stay home with our kids. That was a very important value to us and we do it happily and very thankfully, we have the freedom to serve the Lord and ministry without worrying about pay. We have the freedom to give generously to god's work. And we have the freedom from society's expectations of how we ought to live our lives. And a lot of this, you notice is not a money and dollars and cents type of thing. It's a perspective issue, right? I can do all things through christ who strengthens me, right? He can change our tastes and he can change how we perceive the societal pressure that comes to bear some times with the things that we are expected to do. Because why would I give any of this up to go to a job that I detest to keep up a lifestyle, just impress people that, that doesn't sound like much of a life to me. Buying more stuff i've learned doesn't increase my happiness in life or my usefulness to God. So some of you must be wandering. Okay. Yeah. But where do you really live like are you like in a shack you know like you? So here's a picture of our home. This is the day that we moved in, and the picture on the top is our front front of our house and you see there's a guest house in the back. And our guest house is actually rented right now. I work for audio verse and that is audio verse world headquarters is rented to the ministry. So we actually have a secondary stream of income from the rent there. And we have a nice backyard, one acre. We have berries and fruit trees and vegetable garden and flowers and confession. I have an addiction to growing fig trees. I'm a figure holic as they call it. So I have about 50 fig trees right now that I grow and I propagate. And I have little side fight hustle like that. But anyway, we live out away from town a little ways and so we enjoy life. We don't really have a gigantic mansion that we can say, that is, you know, so spectacular. But it is not a deprived life, I can guarantee you that it is a very fulfilled and joyful life, particularly now that I have 2 kids running around at home. It is just a joy. And so frugal living there is the positive side to it. So I want to conclude with a story about the teddy bear lady miss gladys home. She was a secretary for her whole life for an executive, a top level executive, for a company in Chicago. She lived in Chicago and she never made more than $15000.00 a year and she passed away in the $990.00. And so with inflation, you know, I don't remember exactly what the number range would be today, but it was definitely below the median household income in the United States, even adjusted for inflation. So she was not in the upper middle class. She was a secretary, she never married. She didn't have kids. She didn't have any errors. She didn't have any nephews or nieces or, you know, any type of Family really. Anyone knew about. But she was known as the teddy bear lady because she loved to visit the childrens hospital in Chicago. It was specifically the children's memorial Hospital in Chicago. And whenever she would enter the children's Hospital ward, she would bring teddy bears with her. And the teddy bear she would hand out to the sick children into their families, to bring them cheer, and to just encourage them. Well Miss home passed away in 1996. She had a small funeral attendant by just a few friends. And at the end of her funeral, there were, you know, a special meal that was provided for through her estate. It was part of her will. She said that my funeral, i wanted everyone to be treated out to a final meal on my, on my tab, basically at my favorite restaurant across the street from the funeral Home. And so the small group gathered there and through commemorate her life, and they remembered how, by vicious of a woman she was, she had this one red dress that she loved to where she enjoyed life. But she was a simple lady, and she had a convertible, apparently that she drove until the wheel fell off. Let people her friends, just remember this nice lady that they had in her life. Once the meal was over, her friends parted ways, and it appeared as though this lady gladys home would disappear into the fog of Human history. Because what has she done? Really? She was just a secretary. She had no family. She had a little bit of a small funeral with a few friends and she's gone now. Until not long afterwards, her attorney visited the president of the hospital, the children's memorial Hospital in Chicago to inform him that gladys home had left a gift in her will to the hospital. Anyone want to venture guess how much that gift was? $500.00 is what a good. 500000. Good guess? Any other guesses? 2000000 to 1000000 to 1000000. Anyone? 3000000. 3000000. Any other guesses? That 10. But 10000000. Get closer. One more guess. All right, now we've overshot it a little bit. I knew this is going to happen, but here we are. I think you'll still be favorably impressed. She left to the hospital, $18000000.00. And this was a 996. Right. So it's worth more than that today. So after the president of the hospital picked his job off the floor, as you can imagine, he said, could you repeat that? You've got to have the wrong lady, because we know she is, she's a teddy bear late. Everybody knows her. And the lawyer said, no, this is not a mistake. In fact, when mrs. Home came to visit or Miss home, excuse me, came to visit the children in the nurse or in the children's Hospital with her teddy bears on more than on one occasion. There would be an anonymous check that was received that would pay for the entire bill for some of the most severe cases. And the president then realized, oh, it was her. And so she gave even more than $800000000.00 in a through her lifetime. So heard her, her teddy bear lady persona, she was doing espionage. Right. She's going in and checking out who are the true charity cases and she went home and she would write a check and she would pay their bill anonymous way. And so nobody could have ever imagine that this simple secretary miss home was so incredibly wealthy. And so obviously the question is, how did she do this? The teddy bear lady saved her crops. That's what she did. She did an except the narrative that she was poor or that she needed to buy lots of junk to be happy. She was a secretary, she was not on the corporate ladder to end up being the executive. She knew that she was pretty much as she was where she was, she wasn't gonna go any higher. But she took initiative and she invested regularly methodically throughout her career and the small regular efforts over long period time you're big results. We talked about this yesterday. We ran the math, we looked at how a little bit of investing over long period time can result in huge result. So they interviewed his her boss, i believe later on. And they found out that early on in her career, she followed him up through his career as well as evidently she asked him to teach her how to invest. And he said, so she just did what I did. If I bought a 1000 shares or something, she might buy 10. If I put $100.00 in something she might put in $10.00. And so she just methodically overtime saved and invest, and didn't want squander her money, right? With fancy, prodigal living. And so even though she had a small income because of her discipline, saving and investing and Learning sound financial management from her boss, she ended up with a very, very large net worth. Again, we talked about earlier, even though a small paycheck, she can still have a high net worth. And even more important, I believe, is the purpose for which she said she lived in a small apartment. She had an old convertible. She was not living up the life she was seeking to serve others. She had a heart to give instead of simply living large for herself. So she exemplifies even though by all accounts, she was not a believer. She was not a christian. She still gathered up her fragments, so the teddy bear lady saved the crown. She showed us an example of what we can do in our sphere of influence, right? To do what jesus says to gather up the fragments. But I have to pause a moment not to make a very important statement here, and that is some of us. Whenever there are people that come to these financial seminars, i don't know where you are, are in your financial journey, but frequently there are those who are indeed struggling. And I don't want to dismiss those people, right. I know here in this presentation and my sound a little bit luxury, that's not my goal is to really bus the myth. That's the goal, the bus, the narrative about wealth us around us. But there really are people struggling people in the church. People that come talk to me, people who are in, you know, up to their eyeballs in debt and they're struggling. They don't know what to do. They don't know where the next paycheck is going to come from, or they can't get a job where they just got fired from their job and they've got kid, whatever the case may be, right. The story of the feeding of the $5000.00 has a lesson for those of us to and that is jesus has the resources of infinite power at his command. Take to jesus our loaves and fishes, and he still to day has the power to multiply them. We may not have a large bank account. We may not have, you know, a prestigious degree or some valuable, you know, technical skill. We might have a little bit of time. Might have a heart for service. We might have a little bit of savings somewhere. We might have some connection with people. We might have a willingness to do hard work to sacrifice, bring that to jesus. Lay it before his feet, bring him what we have and he can still multiply that. And then on the flip side, when he does start blessing, remember to gather up the fragments a man. So that takes us to our end of our session here. I want to close with prayer. And if we have, I don't know if we have time for some questions, but let's pray. So for those who need to go, they can go and we can conclude the live stream as well at this time. So let's pray father in heaven. We thank you for the sound counsel from jesus to gather up the fragments. Lord, we live in a society and a culture that goes so contrary to this principle, we are taught to waste to consume, to expect more and more and more no matter the cost, no matter the price, no matter the debt. And yet, lord, you have called us to a life of contentment. Godliness with contentment is great gain. We are told. And so we pray that we might be more like the teddy bear lady to Yes, be mindful and to be prudent in our management of the resources that belong to you before the right purpose not to feed our own greed or our own selfish desires. But for your service and for the service of others, we pray, lord, that you will guide those of us who may perhaps be struggling financially in some capacity. Help us to have the courage to bring to you our meager loaves and fishes that you might multiply them and work a miracle in those people's lives today. And we thank you that your faithful. We know you will do this and we ask and pray. Now all of these things in jesus name a meant To listen to more of these presentations. You may visit the audio archives at M. I S T A dot org slash audio 2021 or search for michigan conference camp meeting wherever you get your podcast.

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