Did you know that the bank controls more of our decisions than we’d ever care to admit?
The typical procedure in buying a home:
“Hey, honey, you wanna buy a new house?”
I hope there is a little more discussion than this, but eventually husband and wife decide to buy a home.
Now it’s time to decide how much house can we afford.
“Hey, honey, you wanna go to the bank and figure out how much they’ll loan us for a house?”
After they visit the bank, they break out their calculator. The bank will loan them $250,000 and they have $25,000 in savings, so they can get a house for $275,000.
The typical procedure in buying a car:
“Hey, honey, you wanna upgrade this piece-of-junk-excuse-for-a-car?”
“How much money can we afford each month?”
“OK. So I guess we can get something with monthly payments of $200.”
So, what’s the problem with this process?
You didn’t really make a decision. Your bank did. Well, your bank in dialogue with your boss. You see, your bank will lend you money in proportion to your credit risk and your income.
There’s no law anywhere that says you must buy as much house as you can afford! There’s no law that says you need to consume every penny you make. None except for the law of human nature.
Sometimes I think we view buying houses and cars like speed limits. If I’m on a highway where the speed limit is 65, I’d better be going at least 65, if not faster.
How fast can I go? How much can I spend? We’re always pushing the upper limits when there might not be any reason to do so.
But, you can choose! Ask yourself:
- Instead of asking how much?, ask how little can we get and still meet our needs?
- What kind of house/car will properly meet the needs of my family?
- God, is this a financial decision you want me to make right now?
- Will this purchase jeopardize my ability to help others since I might be overextending myself?
- Is this item necessary?
- Is it a wise purchase?
- Does this purchase honor God?
- Does this purchase have anything to do with eternal priorities or only temporal desires?
- Am I buying this to impress someone?
- What does this purchase reveal about my sinful self? Are any ungodly characteristics trying to push their way into the forefront?
You can make a choice to buy less home than you can afford.
You can make a choice to live on less than you make.
You can choose to pass over an item you clearly can’t afford.
Sure, we can choose, but why would we want to?
Because we’re a called people. We’re a Called Out People.
God has a purpose for us and a purpose for our finances. If he blesses us with a big income, does that mean we’re required to live a really big life? I don’t think so.
Clearly, God is not opposed to our buying nice things. However, if we go through the process of buying something and only ask the bank how much they’ll give us, then I think we’re letting someone other than God dictate how we conduct our lives and our finances.