Stewardship and Productivity

Getting Ahead Financially Using the Science of a Rain Barrel

You know how rain barrel systems work, right?

You start with a barrel, typically a 55-gallon drum.  You could go smaller with the 30-gallon size, or larger with one of the big tanks.  We've got a 1500-gallon tank on our homestead which we’ve used to collect water in over the years.  It's now been converted into an animal shelter.  But whatever size barrel you choose, the important thing is that it's watertight and made to hold large volumes of water.

You then hook the barrel up to whatever rain collection source you've MacGyvered.  For most people that’s going to be the gutters on their house. Whenever it rains, your barrel fills up for you to use for whatever future need you have.

If you put a good valve on your barrel, you can use it to water your garden, you can use it to supply water to your animals, or, when we were using our 1500-gallon tank before we hooked up to our well, we used the rain water for potable household use with the help of a couple filters.

It's a pretty simple, pretty common, pretty reliable system.  A lot of people out there use rain barrels.

Well, guess what?  If you can wrap your mind around how a rain barrel system works, you can wrap your mind around getting ahead financially.  The same principles apply.  Except, instead of storing up a water surplus, what you’re doing is storing up a budget surplus, which, like the water barrel, can get you not just to the next time it “rains” (i.e. your next payday), but, ideally, if managed well, can get you a lot further down the road than that.  So much so, in fact, that if you had to you could even skip a couple of those income periods and be just fine because of the financial “rainy-day fund” you’ve stored in advance.

I think it helps if you think about your finances in three parts, at least in respect to the idea of getting ahead:

  1. Determine What Size Barrel You Need.

I’m convinced a lot of people have trouble making progress in their finances because they've never given sufficient thought to this question.  They've never defined, and they've certainly never calculated, what their needs actually are.  And, understand, when I use the word "needs," I don’t mean to put that contrast to a person’s “wants.”  There is a difference between needs and wants, but here I’m just lumping them together because I understand, realistically, life is more than just survival.

Another way to put it is, you've got to start by determining in hard numbers what “standard of living” (encompassing both needs and wants) that you envision your family operating on.  Is it going to be a 55-gallon drum, or a 1500-gallon drum?  Do you need a net-cash flow of $40,000 a year or $140,000 a year? A lot of that depends on the family. Some families can get by with a lot less than others.

On this point, I'll let you in on a little secret.  One reason a lot of people feel they can never get ahead financially isn’t because they've underestimated their barrel size but because they've overestimated it.  Don't get me wrong, you can easily underestimate what your family needs and settle with bringing in a lot less than you really should be.  But, there are a lot of people out there ambitious to bring in a lot more than they really need to because they’ve chosen a standard of living  unnecessarily and unsustainably higher than it needs to be.

Many people choose to have a bigger and more expensive house than they need.  They choose to drive the newer model car and accept the normalcy of car payments.  They choose to eat out on a regular basis.  They choose to furnish their home with expensive Pottery Barn décor and flat screen TVs.  They choose a lot of the amenities, comforts, and conveniences that are just luxuries they could honestly do without.  As a result, they size up their barrel so large that it requires a lot of work to keep it filled.  They then complain they can never get ahead because getting ahead for them means  being able to afford new forms of pampering.

I've found the winning strategy that would serve a lot of families well is to select a more modest standard of living that doesn't require such a large cash flow, which makes filling and maintaining the barrel a lot easier.

Of course, it's not just choosing a practical standard of living, but it's also estimating those extra “special needs costs” that inevitably come up in life.  I’m talking about those special emergency, special savings needs that every family has, from unknown medical needs, to kid’s college needs, to retirement planning needs.

You've got to think about all those numbers.  Every family will look different.  Obviously, the further out your planning the more your numbers will be approximations, but the point is you’ve got to pick the right size barrel.  So, get a piece of paper and calculator and map it all out in hard numbers.  Yes, it takes some metal energy.  Yes, it involves math.  But, listen, if you want a handle on your finances, you’ve got to run the numbers and size up your barrel.

  1. Tap into a Suitable Stream of Income.

If you're working with a rain barrel, what’s the best way to fill it up?  You've got to connect to a good water source.  If you’re working with finances, you’ve got to connect to a good income source.

What qualifies as a good income source?  I would say two things: (1) the reliability of that source, and (2) the volume potential of that source.

In terms of the reliability of your income, by that I just mean, do you have a steady job?  Are you working for a stable business, even if that business is your own?

I’ve met people who are the “holding out for management type,” or the “I’d rather be my own boss type,” who seem to be content just sitting on their backside waiting for the skies to open to pour forth blessings freely into their lap.  If that’s you, you can certainly sit on your porch and wait for the big rain to come, but just understand you could be waiting a while.

Rather, it may be a better idea to start collecting gradually, but with the guarantee of the light rains that come and the regular morning dew that you can count on.  It may take longer to fill your barrel, but you will eventually fill your barrel if you learn to be consistent.  Honestly, if you don’t learn to discipline yourself with a lower income, it won’t do you any good when you do earn a higher income since you won’t know what to do with it.

Then, once you have learned the importance of steady reliability, it’s not a bad thing to focus on the volume of your income, because while you don’t have to have a hard rain to fill the barrel, a hard rain does speed up the process.  Thinking about how much you're earning, and how you could be earning more in less time, is a valid thing to consider.

How can you make more money in less time?  The way I see it you have two options, and there’s nothing that says you can’t try doing both of these things at the same time:  (1) Deliberately position yourself in the path of higher earnings (i.e. pursue a raise), and/or (2) add a second or even third source of income to what you already have (i.e. get an additional job).

In terms of pursuing a raise, my best advice is not just to wishfully expect a raise, but to take the initiative upon yourself to stand a little higher, or to stretch a little further in your work, to warrant a raise.  Don't expect your bosses, or your customers or client if your self-employed, to just divert funds to you for no reason.  You need to take the steps to make yourself more valuable.  The more you put yourself where the water is most likely to fall, the more you're going to collect.  Set up shop where the rain falls. Don’t expect the rain to come to you.

In terms of finding that second or third source of income, that’s as simple as working an extra part-time job or side gig.  Hook up to as many different gutters as you can feasibly hook up to.  I say “feasibly,” because you can only stretch yourself so far.  Don’t overdo it.  If you're going to work multiple jobs, I'd encourage you to do so only as long as it takes to accomplish whatever “getting ahead” you’re trying to accomplish.  Don’t assume that the extra money is always worth the extra time.

Ideally, if you’re trying to bring in additional streams of income, what you want to do is get to the point where some of those streams turn into a passive income.

What is a passive income?  A passive income is one that brings in an income somewhat automatically and works independently of you having to clock the time.  I mean, there is time involved, but most of it is automated.

What are examples of a passive income?  Rental property, investment dividends, the sale of certain products or commodities, etc..  There are lots of different things that can generate low time-required, passive incomes.  Just stay away from pyramid schemes out-there.  Those drive me crazy.  But options exist, if you can just tap into the right ones.

So, tapping into suitable streams of income is key.

  1. Plug as many holes in your barrel as possible.

The best time to do this is when you're young, before you ever get started, when you're first picking out what size barrel you want for your life.  Pick a barrel (standard of living) that doesn't leak much.  Pick a barrel that has the best quality valve you can have that you can control how much you allow to flow out of your possession.

Even the smallest drip, or the smallest financial waste, if left unattended, will eventually drain the barrel.  Ideally, you already know that and have taken steps to avoid the leaking before the leaking ever happens.   My guess is, though, for a lot of people out there, they weren’t careful in what barrel they chose and their earnings are gushing out as fast as it’s coming in.  If that describes your finances, you will never get ahead.

You've got to plug the holes. You’ve got to identify where all the waste is happening and fix it.

I'm convinced one of the biggest sources of waste in a family's finances is the amount of interest they spend on cars, credit cards, and the dreaded 30-year mortgage.  If you've still got your calculator out, just add up how much you're paying the bank in interest alone from all that you're borrowing, and think about how your life would be different if, instead of paying the bank, the same amount was being saved or invested.

Interest is usually one of the biggest holes that needs to be plugged, but there are others too.  Just think about your utility bill, your TV bill, your grocery bill, your gas-guzzling car's fuel bill, and on and on we could go.  Just audit sometime all the different places your money is going and ask yourself if it's really all necessary.

Put a valve on your spending and apply a little more control in what leaves your barrel.   That usually takes the form of a good, solid budget and a little bit of accountability to stop you from spending more than you should be spending.

The point isn't to live like cheapskates but to live within your means because it's by living within your means and spending less than what you earn that you start to get ahead.  Like a good rain barrel system, when you apply these principles, you begin to see the volume of your savings gradually increase to the point where you may even be able to upgrade your barrel.  Or the way I see some rain collection systems work, you can add a second barrel onto what you already have for all the overflow.  When the second barrel fills up, you can then add a third barrel, and then a fourth, and eventually have a series of barrels to be overly charitable with.

In my opinion, the great objective isn't to get ahead financially so we can better spoil ourselves, but to get ahead so that we can be of some practical good to those around us who are continuing to struggle themselves.

How Not to Measure Wealth and Calculate Your Net Worth

A lot of people have learned to evaluate how they are doing in life based on the bottom line of their financial statement, which they'll itemize with the simple formula: “Total assets minus total liabilities equals total net worth.”

I admit, this little calculation is relatively easy to remember and to do the math on.  I would even say it can be quite helpful if what you're looking for is an appraisal of how much belongs to you after you subtract whatever you still owe financially.  If those are the numbers you're looking for, you simply add up what you have in terms of both fixed and liquid assets.  That includes all the money you have in the bank or the market, as well as all the cash you've got hidden under your mattress; it includes the fair market value of your home, the possessions and valuables in your home, your vehicles, and so forth.

You add up the total of all those assets in one column, and then in another column you add up all that you currently owe in terms of your financial obligations—your mortgage, credit card debt, student loan debt, car payments, and the $20 you still owe your friend for covering your movie ticket and popcorn the other week.  You get the grand total of all those debts and subtract them from your asset column, and you come up with a number that is your monetary net worth.  Again, that can be a helpful metric to use.  In fact, in some future videos I plan to talk about some practical ways that a person can go about improving those numbers.

But what if I told you that I’m not convinced that such a formula is necessarily the best way to be measuring wealth and calculating one’s worth?  Why do I say that?  Well, because the entire equation assumes the only assets and liabilities you have to measure and calculate are those that have a monetary value.  That is to say, you're only adding up those things in your life that can be assessed in dollars and decimals.

In my opinion, when you do that, you unavoidably leave off those things in your life that are truly of the greatest value.  What are those things?  Well, just consider what in life is understood to be truly priceless?  What in life can money not buy?  Things that belong on that list would include your close relationships—family, friends, church community, etc.  The people in your life are, or I would say, should certainly be, ranked among your most priceless assets.

What else in life is priceless?  I think things like time, freedom, health, a sense of purpose, contentment, happiness and joy are all on that list.  These types of things you can’t just tally up in simple numbers in an Excel spreadsheet, and yet it can be so obvious and evident when a person is cashing in on the rewards and dividends that these kinds of treasures offer.

A lot more could be said about all this, but the bottom line is, if you're looking for a standard of measurement and a formula to calculate your worth and the value of what you have, don't just quantify that by the bottom line of a financial statement.  You've got to assess so much more than how many figures show up in your account balance.

Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In other words, according to the Lord, there is a higher measure of wealth and a very different kind of math we should be using to factor our worth.  I just wonder, if you started making out a list of those areas that truly matter in life and begin evaluating how you're doing, and the degree to which you are investing in those treasures, how are you doing?  Would you evaluate your relationship to God, your spouse, your kids, and/or your church as what it should be?  If you could audit your time, your freedom, your life's purpose and goals, your sense of personal growth and fulfillment, all those things, would it look like you're making perceivable progress, or would it look like you've got a lot of catching up to do?

None of us want to end up like Ebenezer Scrooge from the old Charles Dickens story.  Scrooge was quite proficient at counting and recounting his assets, producing what I'm sure was a very thorough and well-worked out net worth statement.  Unfortunately, despite have such a detailed accounting of all his assets and liabilities, he eventually discovered that he was actually quite bankrupt in the areas that really mattered.  We don't want to make the same mistake.

Saving a Living: 3 Keys to Saving on Groceries

In an earlier post, I touched on the topic of helping with the family’s income as a stay-at-home-mom.  The first aspect that I mentioned was the concept of “Saving a Living.”

Well, how do you do that?

In this post, I’d like to share with you three key principles on how to help save money in the grocery budget, and how we apply that in our own family.

  • Plan in advance
  • Set aside a few dollars from each week's grocery budget for future bulk purchases
  • Stick to the plan

Planning in advance.... What does it even mean? I mean, how do you plan in advance for grocery shopping? Is it just you sit down and you write out a menu or a grocery list?  How does this even start; where's the beginning point?

So, here's what I have found that works for us.  I simply take a sheet of notebook paper, and I write down all the days and next to it I write down the day of the week.  For our family, we have a very structured set - for instance every Tuesday night it's our Family Worship Night and because of that we want as much time as possible to be able to stay at the dinner table to be able to sing together, pray, and have our Bible story.  Now, I don't know about your family, but in ours, I have some picky eaters.  If we have a meal that they turn their noses up at, we can sit there for an hour and a half trying to get them to eat, and that is a big waste of time.  So, to get around that, Tim asked me that for every Tuesday night I fix a breakfast meal. That meal could be scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, a breakfast casserole; the list goes on and on. Regardless just a breakfast meal.  Why?  Because our kids love breakfast food, and we don't have to fight with them to eat.  They inhale it!  It's easy to make, easy to clean up, and really easy to get them to eat it.

When that happens we then have all of that extra time to spare for Family Worship, so every Tuesday on my list is going to have a breakfast meal and I'll rotate them out.

Then there might be other days of the week you have specific events planned.  In our family we do Fridays as Family Pizza-n-Movie Night, so I make homemade pizza every Friday night. Other days of the week that I know are going to have a lot of different functions going on like Care Group with our church, Trail Life, different things, I know how much time I'm going to have in the kitchen or how busy I'm going to be, and based on that, I then plug it into my calendar so I know what type of meal I can fix.

That gives you an idea how to take your life - take your schedule - put it on the calendar and then based on what your schedule is, create a menu. If you only have enough meals to fill in one week, that’s great.  If they are seven proven meals you know your family will eat, they're not going to be picky, and you're not going to waste food, plug it in and just keep rotating that week's meals until you find where you can start increasing more. Then you build up to two week’s worth of meals, and you take those two weeks and rotate them twice so you just fix the same meal twice a month instead of four times a month.

I think you get the idea of how that works. Every family is different.

That's the first thing that I do—I plan.  After I figured out what my menu is going to be for that week or that month, I go ahead and start to write out my grocery list. The first thing I want to do is I take that menu and I sit down with a piece of paper and start to plan out what do I need for ingredients.

After I know what ingredients I need, I go to my freezer and my pantry and mark off every single ingredient I already have in stock because if I don’t need to buy it at the grocery store that saves money because I already have it.  Once I've done that, the next step would be to fill in gaps - plug the holes so to speak.  I would do that by sitting down with the sale papers – they send out the paper every Tuesday with the Kroger ads and coupons, and the new sales cycle starts on Wednesday.  I usually do my shopping on Thursdays so that gives me a little bit of time to kind of look through what's on sale.  Some stores just advertise online.  Regardless, I do my research. And the key to that is try to plan on shopping at least three different stores.  Why is this important?  Because if you only shop at one store, more than likely you're not going to save money.  Take advantage of price wars! That's the benefit of capitalism – stores have competition and want your business; so they're going to give you every incentive possible to come shop with them which means that you save money.

You need to learn how the system works.

The best way I have found to do this was to keep a notebook inside my bag and write out everything that I regularly buy. For instance, you buy milk every week or every month.  I'm sure you buy butter or bread… Whatever it is that you buy regularly, start writing down the prices.  You write the name of the store and the price.

The reason this is important is because you're actually creating a record system that you will be able to utilize to see where the sale cycles are.  Stores cycle through prices every six to eight weeks. Think about it… When do you see all the Kroger sales for chips and salsa, chicken wings, dip, stuff for cold and flu medicine, healthy foods, you know diet foods?  January!  Why? Because you've got the Super Bowl game coming up, and you've got people who are wanting to reorganize their homes and are starting New Year's resolutions with losing weight.  Well, the stores reflect that so they're going to sell certain items at certain times of the year.  A really good website that I’ve found helpful is  She has a great list of things put together for you.   The more knowledge you have in this area, the more power you have and the more you're able to save in your own budget for your family which is extremely important.

What do you do with all that information? Why is it so important?  Well, when you're putting together  game plan, you now have your menu, grocery list, and record of all the prices listed, you take those prices and plug them into your grocery list. That means before you even go to the store, you have a rough estimate of what you are going to spend.  This is great because, say for instance, I have on my menu a pot roast, but I don't have one in my freezer, so I have to buy one. Well, that's about $9-12 for a decent-sized English pot roast which would put me over my budget.  Instead of buying that piece of meat, I can take it off my grocery list, save the money, and instead put something else in place like a squash spaghetti bake or a meatless chili fiesta served over rice with taco toppings on it.  There's all different kinds of ways that you can incorporate changes into the menu after you see, “Oh hey, I can't really afford to buy that cut of meat this week,” or you know, “Do we really need to have those side items? Maybe we can fudge and do something else instead?” That's how you can stay within your budget so you don't end up overspending when you go to the store.

The second thing I would say on this would be to always try to set aside a few dollars from each week’s grocery budget to have a surplus available

I literally have to force myself to take money out of that budget and set it aside. It's that thought of “out of sight, out of mind.” If I don't see it, I don't spend it.  I have my budget, and I just take a little bit off the top. It's still there, but by me not planning on spending it, I won't spend it. Therefore, I'm always saving money. There's that old saying that says, “Failure to plan is planning to fail,” and that is oh so true for me.  If I don't plan in advance to save money, it won't get saved.  I always have that tendency of thinking, “Oh, well, I'll just save whatever I had leftover from the grocery budget this week.”  Very rarely is there anything left over from the grocery budget. That route just isn’t going to work.

The reason you need the savings is because when you go to the store, and you end up finding those special deals, if you don't have extra money saved up, you're going to end up going over your grocery budget for that week. You don't want to do that!  The goal is you always stay under your budget, so if you have that surplus, you then have money set aside to go ahead and buy the things you need at the lowest price possible.  The professionals always say, “Don't stock up on items unless they are 60% or more off the original price.  So, you aren’t going to spend full price for anything!  You want it to be rock-bottom, and that's when you stock up; that's when you restock your pantry and your freezer, and you're not going to pay top dollar for it.

That goes back to when you are putting together your menu, you shop in your pantry and in your freezer first.  You can do that because you have been stockpiling all these staple items.  That's how over time that snowball effect begins to kick in.  You start to save more and more and more because you're not having to go to the store.  Say for instance, you run out of flour, or you know you needed to buy flour…Well if you had stocked up on flour when it was 60% or 70% off when it was on sale, you then don't have to go to the store because you ran out and pay 100% for it.  You don't have to pay top dollar because you got it for 60% less.  You see how that it saves, but it takes time to start seeing that effect.  So again, that second principle of always setting aside a few dollars from your budget is very important.

The third principle to this, and I think it is probably the hardest but most beneficial, is STICK TO THE PLAN no matter what.  If you need to save money (and it is tight) and you're struggling, do NOT deviate off your list for any reason especially if you don’t have that surplus saved to buy those on-sale items. Stick to your plan! That’s how you can save money, and that's how it works.  And it does work!  Trust me, I’m feeding a family of seven every week, and we can stick to our grocery budget for $100 a week, but it takes strategy.  If you are serious about saving money, you CAN do it.

Helping with the Family Income as a Stay-at-Home Mom

One of the things about being a stay-at-home-mom on a working homestead is that I’ve had to figure out creative ways of helping with the family income without a job.  What I’ve figured out so far, I like to think about in two aspects:

  1. “Saving a Living.”
  2. Discovering what I can make at home and sell from home.

The first aspect to this is “Saving a Living.”  I don't know if you've ever heard of this concept before, but it totally works.  You can save almost as much as what you could earn at a part-time or even a full-time job.  It is possible.

I have learned ways to save money every which way, some crazy and some more practical.  Some ways of saving a living would be by (1) learning to do things yourself instead of paying others to do it, and (2) making your own products.

A big money-saving example of the do-it-yourself side of the coin is the dreaded haircut.  I have five males in my home, so by investing $25 or $30 in a set of quality hair clippers that will last the family 5 to 10 years, I can save an average of $80 per month.  That comes out to $960 per year!  Over the course of 18 years, that’s a whopping $17,280—just in haircuts!

You can see how by learning just one skill and making a small one-time investment, you can save your family big bucks.  And for anyone who thinks they need a cosmetology degree to use a comb and scissors, you don’t.  You’d be surprised what you can learn on YouTube and with a few willing test-subjects.

Learning to make things yourself can also save a lot of money.  I’m reminded of what my mom used to tell us growing up whenever we were inside the clothing store.  We'd find a beautiful dress or skirt and would be admiring it, and it never failed you’d hear my mom pipe up, “I can make it for less than that!” That of course meant that we weren’t buying it.  I can share more in future post about all the different ways we've incorporated this aspect into our homestead by making our own cleaning products and canning our own food - but think about all the things you spend money on and then ask yourself, “Can I make or do that for less?” Again, all it takes is a little research to learn a new skill.

The second aspect to helping with the family income was to discover what I could make at home to sell.

Unlike my mom who could look at something in the store or in a catalog and sew an even better version, I can barely sew a straight line.  Oh, it's horrible to admit that!  I am not gifted in the typical crafty department.  In fact, I somewhat loathe making crafts.  Glitter, beads…ugh!  It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.  And, yes, as a homeschool mom I am admitting that.  But it's true. However, if you put me inside a kitchen, or in front of a blank canvas with some paints, my blood begins to pump with excitement because I love to create.  I just had to figure out the right medium to use.

One of my recent passions has surprisingly turned into handcrafted soapmaking, as well as making my own face creams and makeups.  It’s something I never imagined myself doing, but it has surprisingly become a practical way of harnessing my creative passion into a realistic income.

You can't be good at everything.  No two homesteads are going to look the same because you have unique strengths that others don't, and vice versa.  I’m sorry, perfectionists, but that's just the way it is.  And that's okay.

Find what you're good at, and a good starting point is to explore what are you passionate about.  You'll be surprised at what you discover when you start researching and combining a love for something with a way of turning it into an income.  It's like following the trail of breadcrumbs. You start with one idea, and as you search around you uncover another, which leads you to another and another until you finally find that one thing that you’re so passionate about and you absolutely love.  Others around you then catch onto that and they end up loving it as well, and, guess what?  That's the beginning of a business.  That's the beginning of bringing in an income!

Thoughts on Stewardship

Thoughts on Stewardship

One of the things I thought might be helpful to share with those who have taken an interest in our homestead are some thoughts on the topic of stewardship.  There are several lessons that we have learned along our journey that have made a real difference for us, and we imagine could make a real difference for others as well.

We sometimes get questions—and I know we get a whole lot of raised eyebrows—when people find out that a couple of years ago I made the big and somewhat scary decision to give up my full-time status at the office where I've had the privilege of working for 15 years.  Back in January 2019, I officially dropped to part-time, voluntarily cutting a big percentage of my hours and pay.

Also, as a bi-vocational pastor at a relatively small church where I've also had the privilege of serving for 15 years, there were many of those years where, in an effort to serve the church and to free it’s budget to be used for other needs, I turned down any compensation in order to minister to the people free-of-charge.

In addition to that, early in our marriage, Amy and I made the decision that we wanted her to stay at home to focus primarily on being a wife and mother.  We agreed we didn’t want to grow dependent on her needing to work outside the home to bring in a second income, so for most of our almost 14 years of marriage, Amy has not brought in a traditional paycheck to add to the family coffers.

Aware of these things, people often ask how we have made all that work.  What does it look like behind the scenes, and even on paper in the family budget, to accommodate such cuts in one’s take-home income and yet still make relative progress in their overall stewardship goals?

The answer I would point to comes back to stewardship.  “Stewardship,” if you're unfamiliar with the word, is a major biblical theme and one which Christians often use to talk about their responsibilities of faithfully managing the resources God has given them in life.

Our conviction is that there is nothing that any of us have, or earn, or acquire that really even belongs to us, but that it's all the property of the Creator who, by his own good pleasure, has temporarily stewarded us—all to different degrees and in different proportions—what we have, ideally to be used for whatever purposes he intends.

The whole topic of stewardship assumes there are both “faithful” and “unfaithful” ways to steward.  It assumes there are “right” and there are “wrong” ways to manage resources.  And, all things being equal, there are principles, both biblical and common, that when applied or not applied, as the case may be, produce results that can be anticipated.

I say “all things being equal,” of course, because there is an element of God's providence and grace in all of this that ultimately influences all of our circumstances.  I understand that.  But, as much as it depends on us, there are different ways and different methods of stewardship that by design produce different calculated results.  You give two men a dollar and have them go their separate ways, one will potentially waste his dollar and the other find a way to multiply it.

I will admit to you that there are probably plenty of dollars that our family has wasted over the years.  But, by God’s grace, we haven’t wasted all of them.  To his credit, I think we've even learned how to multiply some of them and to steward them in a deliberate way.

So, my plan in some upcoming posts is to share some of what we're doing as relates to stewardship so that you can see on a practical level how we think and how that translates into what has proven to work for us.  Lord willing, there may be something we can share that makes a difference in someone else’s stewardship goals as well.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts in this new stewardship series.

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