“You do not have to worship money to want to have control over it.”

This probably comes off strange right after our post on hiring escorts Friday, but what can I say – we’re an equal opportunity blog here :) And truth be told, this stuff is much more aligned with my own views and lifestyle, despite it not being as sexy (quite literally!).

I got this email from another reader of our site – we’ll call her “Gloria” – and loved how many nuggets were jam packed in this puppy… Thought I’d share it and then break it down afterwards.

Here’s Gloria:

I was inspired to go on your site today after hearing my pastor preach yesterday about the bible stating in many places that God does not want us to be in debt. That debt is foolish.

This pastor talked about how he was smart and invested his money into retirement funds early on in his 20’s even though he made little money and it is now worth a lot now that he is in his 50’s. He said the bible mentions specifically, not hints at, that we are dumber than ants about money and should plan ahead. He said he met with many couples and counseled them on managing money more responsibly usually at a point of financial crisis. Also, said there are people nearing retirement with little to nothing saved.

But he did not mention any positive, inspiring, or encouraging financial nuggets. He said the lowest income parishioners tithe 3% and most wealthy tithe less than 1%. He wants to start a mission to raise the amount they tithe.

After listening carefully for even one positive note, but not hearing any, I immediately tried to speak to him personally. However, he brushed me off indicating that his sermon was not meant to be a financial class. I asked my husband what his impression on this sermon was, but he felt good about it because the day before I had updated him on our healthy financial status, which was much higher than he expected since we are still in debt but pay ourselves first by investing into our retirement accounts regardless of our debt.

I decided today to prove the pastor wrong and to give parishioners hope. I want them to know that financial independence or financial security is reachable at most any age, and to teach them that money does not have to be a scary topic, not something to avoid, and it is certainly never too late to start saving, buying less, being more frugal and aware of money so we do not act “dumb as ants”.

I am spreading the word about your website and its many, many resources and links to help people feel in control, positive, and better about the entire topic. Additionally, I am an adult basic education instructor helping those on welfare (transitional assistance/SNAP/cash benefits/food stamps) or who have dropped out of school due to many reasons like unplanned pregnancies, and my goal is to educate them as well.

There is no need to be poor forever or just because your family is poor going generations back, or because they just assume they are not the chosen ones.

Personal finance blogs, articles, podcasts, etc. are not just for the rich wanting to get richer or the greedy who just want more for themselves. You do not have to worship money to want to have control over it. For me personally, it’s actually lots of fun when you get to watch it grow by making only small changes that you don’t even think about.

Preach, girl!

So much good stuff here, let’s break it down…

“You do not have to worship money to want to have control over it.”

That’s exactly right. It’s only the devil if you worship it! And news flash – billions of dollars float around the world feeding the hungry or clothing the poor and eradicating diseases all around us. All things that very much cost money.

(Kinda reminds me of this email we got a while back too: “I Used to Be an Anti-Money Anarchist” ;))

“God does not want us to be in debt… debt is foolish.”

YES!  Anytime you’re a slave to something it’s not good. Especially when it’s our own foolish choices that brought us there. But unlike other issues in life, this one we usually have control of! Which means there’s not only hope, but also a finish line out there in the future for us – so long as we up our game and go after it. It’s one thing to be in debt, and a whole other to be in debt and do nothing about it!

“This pastor talked about how he was smart and invested his money into retirement funds early on in his 20’s even though he made little money, and it is now worth a lot now that he is in his 50’s.”

The power of compounding, baby! Those little beans turn into bean stalks years later. Remember the story of the doubling penny?? Tricks the layfolk every time!

doubling penny millions

This is also what “money working for you” means vs you always working for money. Once you invest it, it becomes your own little employee hustling away every hour of the day! Here’s an example of what that looks like from that article I just linked to above:

“Last month I spent 0 hours on my investments and made a whopping $32,687.28. In one month. For doing absolutely nothing. That equates to 3,268 hours of mowing lawns, 653 weekends of working at a restaurant, 218 weeks working at the college bookstore, 65 weeks at my first full-time job, 33 weeks after I climbed up the ladder, and 22 weeks when I first became self-employed.”

It’s so amazing it’s scary. (And remember, it works in the opposite direction as well with debt! Yet another reason it sucks to carry it around – every day it’s compounding against us :()

“We are dumber than ants about money and should plan ahead. He said he met with many couples and counseled them on managing money more responsibly usually at a point of financial crisis.”

Unfortunately that’s when most of us have that epiphany, isn’t it? When we’re smack in the middle of all the doo doo around us? On the plus side it finally gets us to DO SOMETHING about it, but obviously the sooner we can care about this stuff the better. And you certainly don’t have to be a nerd about it either like some of us are :) You just have to squirrel away the nuts when the financial times are good so you’re all prepared for when the winter hits! Nothing’s ever permanent!

“I decided today to prove the pastor wrong and to give parishioners hope. I want them to know that financial independence or financial security is reachable at most any age, and to teach them that money does not have to be a scary topic, not something to avoid, and it is certainly never too late to start saving, buying less, being more frugal and aware of money.”

YES YES YES!!! That’s one of the things I hate about going to church sometimes – being killed with guilt and fear without much recourse of hope or action. You gotta hit us with both sides so we actually *do something about it* or what’s the point? Shock us with reality, that’s fine, but then come back and tell us we can change, please.

But what a reminder of why personal finance blogs are flourishing these days. There’s a reason there’s now over 1,100 of them out there – they offer encouragement! And hope, action items, tricks, tips, stories, love, happiness, reality, plans, and numbers. All of which combine to make one tasty financial pie that our family can feast on forever and ever, amen.

Money does not have to be scary or hard to figure out. And it is most definitely not something to avoid. God does not want us to be a slave to debt. He wants us to be secure. (Or “poor,” depending on what passage you read, haha, but certainly not in debt! ;))

“There is no need to be poor forever or just because your family is poor going generations back, or because they just assume they are not the chosen ones.”

Probably my favorite line of the entire email. Most of us have *choice* in our lives. Not everyone, but most of us (and especially those with an internet connection reading this). Every day we choose where to spend our money, where to spend our time, and where to spend our energy. Those who do it well trend up in the Game of Life, and those who don’t fall further behind.

But every day is a chance to start over again and work our way towards the life we really dream about. It’s not easy, and takes gobs of time and self-control, but it is possible. There is no need to be poor forever if you don’t want to be.

“I am an adult basic education instructor helping those on welfare (transitional assistance/SNAP/cash benefits/food stamps) or who have dropped out of school due to many reasons like unplanned pregnancies, and my goal is to educate them as well.”

God bless you, Gloria – and thanks for sharing your note with us today and allowing me to post it up! We need more people like you spreading around the financial faith :)

If you ever start your own blog, please let us know so we can help pass it around for you. You’d join the 32 other Christian financial bloggers using it as a vessel to amplify the good word and would love it.

To all my other financial friends reading this – keep working your way out of ant dumbness! We can all build hills together for the greater of our communities!

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  1. Budget on a Stick July 31, 2017 at 5:47 AM

    I love hearing people’s stories about wanting something better and then finding the personal finance community.
    Sounds like Gloria has a good head on her shoulders to begin with and is going to rock it now!
    I’m not sure I remember a pastor giving a sermon without at least some hopeful message. Perhaps he is just overwhelmed by all those with financial problems and his church could use one of those debt classes for the members.

    Thank you for sharing Gloria!

  2. Apathy Ends July 31, 2017 at 7:16 AM

    Thanks for sharing, love the fire to get out there and prove the pastor wrong and educate (and yes! Start a blog!)

    1. Chris @ Duke of Dollars July 31, 2017 at 8:02 AM

      Yes! On the same page with you here, so excited for her to spread growth around !

  3. Lance @ My Strategic Dollar July 31, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about perspectives. I appreciate the note about investing early and often. I wish I would have been told about compound interest when I was 5 because I can tell you I would have stopped spending money and just invested and I’d already be filthy rich. Haha ok maybe not but nonetheless, the lessons stays the same!

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 10:42 AM

      Haha… I’d like to think I’d have listened too, but who are we kidding. Candy and games were much more fun back in the day! ;)

  4. Chris @ Duke of Dollars July 31, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    What a great way to start off the week!

    Can’t agree more with many of the responses you have her and love that she wants to help change the perspective people have!

    I feel one of the main reasons many people start a blog on PF is for that same reason. Help others! My favorite part is in that mission you learn more and meet people that are like you!

    One of my favorite motivational videos to help keep my passion alive https://youtu.be/6vuetQSwFW8

    Have a great week everyone !

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 10:43 AM

      oooooh staring that one to watch later! that was one of my favorite things to ask during my money coaching days – how bad do you want it??

      1. Chris @ Duke of Dollars July 31, 2017 at 8:00 PM

        Had no idea you used to do that – why did you stop?

        Eric Thomas is a great speaker – hope you find it inspiring!

        1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:06 AM

          I was getting too invested in my clients and didn’t have any energy left to work on my own projects :( Really takes a lot of brain power out of you! Haha…

  5. Leo T. Ly July 31, 2017 at 8:07 AM

    Great story J. I had been poor before and I know how it felt like. I truly believe that your life is what you make of it and you can change it if you do something about it and not accept what you are born into.

    At a young age I realized that if I wanted to live a comfortable life, I would need to obtain the skills that will get me there. The first step is to get educated. Secondly, if I want to achieve financial independence one day, I need to know how to manage my own finances. Third, only actions can change the course of your path. Doing nothing will change nothing.

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 10:46 AM

      YES!!! I hope you put all that in you blog and share your backstory like that!! Much more credible and easy to follow/remain hopeful coming from someone who’s been in that position before. Tell your story loud and proud! Not everyone can!

  6. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto July 31, 2017 at 8:43 AM

    I think our churches, in general, could do a better job of weaving sermons about money into the mix, without making “the tithe” a focus. There’s a reason “money” is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible! Dave Ramsey’s helped millions, and his principles are often taught in churches. It’s always healthy to challenge what’s preached from the pulpit, and I love the writer’s goal of writing her email to help others.

    We should all look for ways to help other people learn about Financial issues, and I can think of few better places (outside the home) than started in our church (if you attend).

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 10:51 AM

      Amen to money talks and leaving tithing out every now and then. Usually once you tie it there people know what you’re trying to do :) (Which isn’t bad, tithing is important!, but anytime there seems to be an ulterior motive the potency is lost) As much as People give Ramsey a hard time, I agree he’s done wonders for the community as well as churches.

  7. Brian July 31, 2017 at 8:46 AM

    Good for you Gloria! Love hearing stories of people increase their own knowledge about money and passing it on to others. We all need to do our part to help break the money taboo, help someone increase the financial IQ.

  8. Mrs. Picky Pincher July 31, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Preach! I see where the pastor was coming from, but the shaming and negativity about finances just makes people more likely to avoid managing their money, instead of actually seeing the light.

  9. Lisa O July 31, 2017 at 9:15 AM

    What a wonderful article on Monday morning! Uplifting in many ways and shows money is important but FAITH is more important!

    I really think that schools should start educating our children as early as 6th grade about money.
    I love the “There is no reason to be poor forever…..”. Every person needs to have faith in themselves that they can make this life whatever they want. Money is just a tool to get where you want to go.

  10. Tonya July 31, 2017 at 10:14 AM

    As I read this, all I could think about was Dave Ramsey. I’ve read and enjoyed his stuff. It is 2017 so I don’t do everything he says, like only use cash. But if her pastor wants to increase tithing, all he really needs to do is offer a Financial Peace University course. There is a direct tie to the Bible and once people start to feel they have control over their finances, they will start to seek out additional resources about saving and investing. I’m not 100% behind Dave but he at least offers step-by-step things to do for people who feel they don’t have any hope.

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 10:52 AM

      “It is 2017 so I don’t do everything he says” – I just spit out my coffee on that ;)

  11. Dads Dollars Debts July 31, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    When I was younger I remember hearing you could not go on the lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca as a muslim unless you were debt free. I thought this was crazy. I always imagined debt as part of life. You always have a mortgage don’t you?

    Fast forward to today and I see it can happen. Particularly if you go back 700 years when consumerism was not the name of the game, but even today. We can all be debt free, we just have to make some choices. Sometimes those choices are hard.

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 10:53 AM

      Wowww is that really a rule??? That is awesome!!

  12. Laurie@ThreeYear July 31, 2017 at 11:51 AM

    What a great message Gloria is spreading! Debt can make us feel hopeless and that just robs people of joy. I love that she wants to spread practical tips to help people who grew up in poverty. Financial education for low-income people seems so rare–when I was in my hometown last month in rural SC, financia education seemed to consist of title loan shops and payday lenders. So inspired by Gloria’s email!!

  13. Mrs. BITA July 31, 2017 at 12:58 PM

    Good for Gloria! It sounds like her pastor remembered the stick but forgot all about the carrot. You need both to effect change.

  14. Done by Forty July 31, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    Coming to a healthy relationship with money is a tricky thing, especially within the context of Christianity. I agree that we should point out all the good that money can do, but we should be wary of it being something we actually do worship, so to speak. Very easy for it to be a false idol.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:09 AM

      Yup yup… $$$ blogs can accidentally send you down that path too, esp when seeing all your friends hitting FIRE at like 20 years old ;)

  15. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom July 31, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    I can SO relate to this post, although I’m kind of on the opposite spectrum. I’ve had many friends say my savings account show I have a lack of faith in God. (God gives us resources and we should plan to use them wisely.) I’ve heard people mention tracking spending and budgeting is obsessing over money and money is evil. (Because of my budget, I never have to worry about money.) I’ve even had someone insinuate that having my house is a sin because of it’s size. Yes, it’s huge. But we got it at auction, our mortgage is the same as our old house (only 900 square feet btw) bc we bought it at auction and fixed it up. We host weekly community groups for our church. And we regularly give to others. It angers me when Christians act like having money is a sin. The story of the Good Samaritan would have turned out a lot different if he didn’t have any cash in his purse. Finances are touchy in church, and they shouldn’t be! A little bit of education goes a long way.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:12 AM

      Oh wow – they’re hitting you from all angles! Haha…

      I remember reading something the other month about bashing Dave Ramsey for his mansion lifestyle – and his response was similar to yours (not the auction part – hah) about hosting events and using it for philanthropy, etc.

      Actually here, let me go look for it – you might find it interesting (it was from a $$$ blog too – where Dave actually stops by it!!). Here we are!


      As much as I love my Christian family, they sure do like to forget the Christian part sometimes, eh?

      1. Peter August 2, 2017 at 1:38 PM

        Thanks J for the link love my friend! I actually had the opportunity to talk with Dave Ramsey on the phone after that article you linked above, and he told me about some of the vitriol that comes his way because of that house, even from many Christians. The problem is that much of the good that comes from the house isn’t really advertised.. He has already raised millions of dollars for charity from events held at his beautiful home, and the home is used as a conference center of sorts for leadership events and other things for his business. Yes, he could have bought a tiny home, and given the money he would have spent on it to charity, but in some ways having the larger home allows him to have a larger impact.

        For me, I believe that God wants us to be good stewards of our money, planning ahead, saving for the future, all while giving to others and finding ways to help those in need. In the end everything we’re given is His, and releasing that ownership is actually quite freeing.

        When it comes down to it there are so many resources these days for people to become educated and find ways to improve their situation, and those in the church have to do a better job of helping people to improve their situation, while not making money the ultimate focus.

        1. J. Money August 3, 2017 at 6:44 AM

          Fascinating man!!! Such a cool opportunity to be able to have that chat with him – wouldn’t have ever guessed it when you first started the blog, eh? :)

          “In the end everything we’re given is His, and releasing that ownership is actually quite freeing.”

          Never thought of it that way before – I’m gonna have to let that puppy sink in!

    2. Fruclassity (Ruth) August 1, 2017 at 12:17 PM

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that your friends from church as giving you a hard time about being good with money!! What Gloria says is so true – managing money well isn’t the same as worshipping money. As you say, good money management actually puts us in a position to be free of financial stress in our own lives and to be a generous influence in the lives of others. The idea that “Money is evil” is a misquote! It’s “the love of money” that is a root of all kinds of evil – not money itself, and not good money management. Krystal, you keep on growing your wealth and using it as a tool to do God’s will in your life. Perhaps some day you’ll be in a position to teach others how to do the same – especially at your church : )

  16. Cubert July 31, 2017 at 4:19 PM

    after watching John Oliver’s segment on televangelists the other night, good to hear some positive intent coming from the pulpit.

  17. Mr. FWP July 31, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Wow, what a great email from a great lady!

    That is *literally* why my blog exists: to encourage others with *positive* stories and ideas about personal finance.

    There’s a time for cautions and warnings, and I often have to give them to people we counsel about money who are in crisis, but I’ll leave the truly negative talk to others…there’s plenty of it out there. I’m sad for Gloria about her pastor, but very encouraged that she’s here and helping others move forward!

    Oh, and, J$, please add me to your list of 32. My blog isn’t targeted at Christians, but it rests upon biblical principles, and I am a Christian who blogs about using money to find (or enhance) purpose/meaning in life.

    Gloria is dead on that it doesn’t matter how much you have (past a bare minimum), it matters how you use it. On that exact note, I’ll have a post up next month about someone who went from completely homeless to financially stable in a year–just by applying some simple financial principles.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:20 AM

      Beautiful! For your friend in the guest post, and your own blog being centered around positivity. We need a lot of that in our world :)

      You’re now tagged as a Christian blogger too – woo!

  18. Mr. Tako July 31, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    I’ve come to realize that money is merely an idea. The amount of physical money in this world is actually quite small in comparison to the total money supply. So where is all this money? It’s just numbers in a computer somewhere. Oh, and some documentation for who owes what to whom. That’s it. It’s not a physical thing. Just an idea.

    Ideas don’t have to be scary. When you learn to control that idea through education or practice, building wealth becomes far easier. Master this idea, and you eventually become financially independent.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:20 AM

      “It’s just numbers in a computer somewhere” – it’s so freaky, isn’t it?

  19. Dave July 31, 2017 at 6:19 PM

    I find that if your own financial house is in order, you can be more helpful to other people. Being charitable and of service to others is the core belief of most religions. I don’t worship money. I just love what it provides. Debt seems to bind people to their own problems. By being bound to self, you are less likely to be helpful to others.

  20. MyMoneyDesign July 31, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    She’s totally right. Why does it always have to be all about “doom and gloom” when it comes to money? “You’re never going to save enough to retire!” “You waited too long to save!” How about instead of spreading fear, we show others how great your life could be if you focus on personal finance. That’s one of the reasons I love reading PF blogs. There’s a lot of good tricks to be found.

  21. Colin @ Building-Income July 31, 2017 at 8:11 PM

    I love that Gloria was inspired and motivated to reach out to her fellow parishioners to help them achieve their goals.

    It seems that the pastor bragged about his own success with investing, belittled members of his church and then claimed they weren’t tithing enough. Even though part of the message was positive (avoiding debt), the rest of it seems fairly depressing.

    One of the things I’ve appreciated in my mentors is their ability to share how they achieved their success, often after failing or making mistakes. Even Dave Ramsey (mentioned by others above) buried himself in debt, before getting out. That’s what made his story authentic. People who overcome adversity typically want to share how they did so others can benefit as well. It seems the pastor missed an opportunity. When approached by Gloria, he brushed her off.

    However, I still think Gloria’s church is in good hands. Hers (and others like her). She’s not just accepting a message she didn’t fully agree with. She’s actually doing something about it.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:22 AM

      “She’s actually doing something about it.” – the key to everything in life!

  22. Kathy July 31, 2017 at 8:58 PM

    All I can say is Gloria rocks!

    I remember reading a blog years ago (could have even been this one!) about a lady who only had a few dollars left after paying bills and she thought “Why would I save only $3?” Then she changed her mindset and thought “Hey! I’m saving $3. And, the next time I save money it will be added to the $3. And, eventually I’ll have $20, then $50 and then $100! And, before I know it I could have $1000!”

    Even all of these years later that little ‘nugget’ resonates with me and I will tell it to anyone who will listen to me.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2017 at 6:23 AM

      That’s awesome :)

  23. Adriana @MoneyJourney August 1, 2017 at 4:04 AM

    I don’t know if this is an actual saying or not, but I do believe one should “do what the preacher does, not what a preacher says”.

    Spreading fear and guilt is never helpful. Good thing people like Gloria are able to see the positive.

  24. Mr. Smart Money August 1, 2017 at 1:04 PM

    Money is neutral. A knife can either be used to prepare a delicious meal, or to stab someone.
    Money’s definitely a tool to be used and mastered, not the other way around.
    I think a lot of faith-followers have a tough time differentiating here.

    Appreciate Gloria’s thoughtful writing! :)

    1. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 5:52 AM

      I appreciate your knife reference :)

  25. Josh August 5, 2017 at 9:46 PM

    I worked at my church to help others get out debt and found most didn’t want to work or change their habits. They would pray and hope and not much action. I eventually moved on and help less religious people because they are goal and action based. I still go to the church, but I just keep money and religion separate now.

    1. J. Money August 7, 2017 at 10:02 AM

      Ugh, that’s the worst… But you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped! I learned that doing money coaching myself.