Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Stewardship, or in other words, I'd rather be an ant.....

I once read a story when I was younger, about a bunch of industrious ants and a freeloading grasshopper. The basic premise was that the ants worked all summer while the grasshopper played and did no work. When the winter time came, the ants were able to sustain themselves with the produce they worked for all summer, while the grasshopper was left in the cold. In one version of the story, the ants let the grasshopper share with their bounty and the grasshopper learns his lesson. In another version the ants are partying so hard that they do not hear the grasshopper knocking on the door and he dies.

On that note......I have to say that this post has so far, been the hardest one to start...I am not sure why. However the topic this week is stewardship. I guess the reason this post is a bit slow in starting is that there is so much to say about stewardship. So much in fact that perhaps I will have to revisit the topic a few times. In short, stewardship is taking care of everything that God gives us. If we consider that everything we have has been given to us by God, then things start to take on a whole new perspective.

This includes both time and money. The first question I usually get when people find out that I have seven kids is "are you done?" or some question of the sort...the second most asked first question is "WHY?"

After the slight moment of awkwardness that usually follows, the next question they ask is "how do you afford all those kids?" to this question I usually want to ask, "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON???????"

Seriously, I have no idea how people say that they can not afford more than one or two kids!! ESPECIALLY when so many of those families have both parents working!!! Someone once told me that you either trust God or you don't. But even if someone doesn't have such faith in God that they can tell a mountain to cast itself in the sea (Mt 21: 18-22), most people do not realize the things that they waste their money on.

Let's do the math:

According to, the average entry level salary for an administrative assistant is $35,000 a year.
Let's say someone enters the work force at 25, and retires at 65 with a salary of $80,000 a year (which I know is considered still pretty modest for some) at what time will the train traveling eastbound meet the car heading westbound......sorry, had a flashback to first year calculus there.....

Seriously though, over the course of that persons career, they will have earned an average of $50,000 a year, over forty years.

$50,000 x 40 yrs = $2,000,000!!!

So over the course of a forty year career, a person will make TWO MILLION DOLLARS!!! The question is, what will they have to show for it?

Financial stewardship is all about thinking twice before spending that dollar. But before you get the idea that financial stewardship is about not spending any money, let me clarify a few things:

First, financial stewardship is about spending money wisely, not not spending, for example, sometimes it is more wise to spend a little bit more for better quality than to save a few dollars buying something that is not going to last very long.

Second, sometimes NOT spending money at the right time is WORSE, like trying to save money by not getting an oil change....for three years....

And finally, financial stewardship means spending money you HAVE, as opposed to money that you don't have.

Well that's enough math for now....too many numbers makes my brain hurt.

Next time I will talk about a HUGE money saver......and how we get our daily bread.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Who are you? who who who who?

Being a TPSI family of seven definitely requires a conscious choice. At least for us it was. Now before anyone makes an assumptions, although we live in the "traditional" arrangement of a two parent single income family, it is not because of some uber conservative notion that the husband is supposed to be the one that goes out and brings home the daily bread while the wife stays home and bakes in the kitchen. (although later I will tell you how we save over $100 a month by making our own bread, which takes less than five minutes!)

Choosing to be a TPSI family is a deliberate commitment to work together in partnership in order to make things work. So what it means is that each parent commits to being a specific role in the partnership. The key thing to remember is that each person's role is equally important but not identical to the other's. Think about it this way, imagine you have two unmarked and sealed jars. One of them contains sugar and one of them contains salt. Both of the containers are equally full but they each play very different roles in a recipe. In choosing to live on a single income both partners need to accept the mutually dependant and equally important....but different roles each one is going to play in the house hold.

I think the best advice I ever got in this regard was to never confuse what you do with who you are. Who are you? In my case I am a husband FIRST. Then a father. My job comes third and anything else I do (hobbies, etc) comes after. Every decision I make gets weighed by the following questions:

How does this make me a better husband?
How does this make me a better father?
How much is it going to cost? And does that cost out weigh the time I will miss with my family?

I think it is important that I point out that in our thirteen years of marriage, both of us have been involved with several charity organizations, various parent councils and other extracurricular activities. So it is not impossible to find time to do these things with seven kids.

I am a husband first because I got married to my wife. Not my kids. I have seen too many families broken because they started to live the other way around, for the kids instead of each other. The way I think about it is do I want my daughter to settle for someone who is going to treat her as second best? If not then I need to show her how a husband is supposed to treat his wife, as the most important person in his life!

My job is simply just what I do. I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who felt that they should have spent more time at the office instead of with their kids.

Above all one of the most important things to do is put your trust in God. Not just for world peace and to take care of sick family etc, but also to trust His promises, that if we ask we shall receive (Lk 11: 9 - 10) especially if we are asking for our daily bread. I think the most important thing that couples should do is pray together. Not just with the kids, but as husband and wife. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us that when two or more are gathered in His name, He is there (Mt: 18: 20). Praying together is one of the surest ways to invite Christ into your marriage and into your home.

For my next post I will start talking about a totally different way to look at money. The principle of Stewardship.


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tithing: Credit where credit is due.

The first thing that I think I should talk about when it comes to managing our finances is the principle of tithing. Tithing is one of those things that does not make sense by worldly standards, however when you follow scriptural principles relating to finances, you have to be ready to do things that do not always make sense!

I should back up here, first of all I am a firm believer that in order to achieve one's definition of success, one should examine the actions of someone who has walked the walk and follow in their footsteps. No sense in reinventing the wheel. One of the things that make me laugh are those guys who call around dinner time telling me how I can make lots of money using their system of investing etc etc etc. My first question, when I get a word in edgewise, is how much money do they have in their account.... At this point they usually umm and ahh a few times before they admit that they are relatively new to the company so they only have a few bucks left from their last paycheque. Then I politely tell them that as soon as they have made a million bucks using their "system", then they can call me back.

So while admittedly I am not currently a multimillionaire, I should remark that tithing enabled us to pay off all of our credit cards, which were maxed out, and live credit card free within a period of six months! All this time living on a single income! By the way, I will talk about how much I dislike credit cards in a later post.

So what does tithing look like? Basically tithing is giving ten percent of your gross income back to God. The easiest way to do is simply to put it in the collection plate at church. Incidentally, if you are Roman Catholic I highly suggest that you use the collection envelopes, they really do make a difference.

Scripturally, tithing is mentioned several places in both the Old and New Testaments, beginning in Genesis where Jacob promises to give God ten percent of all that he gains. (Gen 28: 20-22) Personally, the scripture passage I find most profound relating to tithing is found in the Book of Malachi 3:10, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."

Incidentally, this is the ONLY place in the bible where God tells us to test Him. In fact, He doesn't just tell us to test Him, God actually CHALLENGES us to test Him.

Anyway, for those of you who tuned in hoping to find tips on saving and stretching every dollar, I will be writing all about those on a regular basis. But seeing as this is a blog about how we raise seven kids on a single income I felt that I needed to first give credit where credit is due.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Boldly Go!

Well this is it! My first Blog post! The whole idea of this blog is going to be how we manage to raise all of our kids using scriptural principles relating to money. The principle of stewardship is going to be discussed a lot as well as the principle of tithing. Perhaps I will come up with a personal budget tracker app that takes into account things like tithing and stuff.

The other thing that is going to be a bit unique about this blog is that I am going to present things from a guys least from my perspective. A much as I can I am going to back up my opinion with solid scriptural principles and church teaching as well as with time tested wisdom overall common sense.

I am going to talk about things like relying on God's providence in all things. Praying before you make any sort of big purchase, buying things only when you can afford them and what I think it takes to be a real man. Also how to balance life, work and play.

I think that it will be a fun journey and who knows, maybe God might use this blog to help change someone's life for the better!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!