“Where’s the Beef?” says the old woman as she pulls up the hamburger bun. “Where’s America’s Savings?” says the economist looking at US trends. Why aren’t we saving more? Why do we spend more than we make? Why are we worried and talking about May 21 and the rapture when our currency is being destroyed before our very eyes. How should people of faith respond to the possibility of any tragedy? How do we prepare for the unexpected?
Remember the seven lean cows swallowing the seven plump cows in the vision Joseph interpreted for Pharaoh? It was a reminder that there can be years of plenty and years of want. Joseph told Pharaoh that God wanted to save an entire nation by giving some cosmic wisdom about preparing for the unexpected.
His plan was to set aside money and grain during the good years to prepare for the coming lean ones.
This is good advice for all of us. Perhaps many of us would love to get in a time machine and head back a few years and begin the “preparing process.” It’s never too late. The secret to the Joseph principle is producing more than you consume. If you are currently consuming (spending) all you make -plus some-you must do the hard work of cutting your expenses. You do this by evaluating your necessities to locate which ones are really luxuries (based on your current income).
After that hard work is over, there is more hard work to come. You don’t just want expenses to meet revenue. You want to spend less than you produce. You need Margin for savings, Margin for the unexpected. and Margin for the lean years. Breathing room for emergencies like broken down cars, new brakes, or a new washer and dryer are important. You need money set aside for the unexpected. James warns us not to “presume upon tomorrow” by naively thinking that our jobs are guaranteed for life, or a particular business venture is a “sure thing.”
We must assume that things might cost more than we think, and we might make less than we think. These conservative assumptions should help us plan for margin, and then will produce financial breathing room in our lives.
Solomon said it best in Ecc 11:2 “Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will come upon the earth.”
What does that mean? It means evil happens. The unexpected comes our way. We must assume bad things will occur in an evil world. So, each of us must diversify. We need to have savings and divide our money into seven or eight different areas : i.e. stocks, land, CD’s, gold, extra food, and cash. In short, keep money aside to prepare for the unexpected. God warns us to prepare for times when the skinny cows come our way. It’s naive and unwise to assume our lives will always entertain the fat cows.