The Continuing Saga of “This Old Truck”
I briefly wrote about my old truck in another article titled: “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc”, but it deserves an additional mention because it sums up our relationship with material possessions. How can we store up treasures in Heaven when we are so preoccupied with acquiring worldly wealth? Ironically, we will go into debt to purchase a new shiny object, but neglect our commitment to giving. We spend an inordinate amount of time acquiring earthly treasures as if there is some sort of contest to remain competitive in this secular world. Have we forgotten that earth is not Heaven?
“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 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.” (Mathew 6:19–21 NKJV)
This Old Truck
As I grow older, and hopefully wiser, I find the simple things in life have more value to me than the more complicated worldly maneuvering to keep up with the Joneses. The truck I drive is a prime example. This old truck, a gift from my father, still gets me around, just like the shiny new ones I pass every day. Sure, I may need to repair it occasionally when it breaks down, but I do not have to worry about a monthly payment adding stress to my life. However, like me, the old truck still proudly wears the dents and dings of life. I have shown my love for this truck by repairing the damaged outside areas and improving its looks with a fresh coat of paint. Now, I am diverting my attention to the inside of the truck where the bulk of the work needs to be done. The inside is cracked and deteriorated from continuous abuse from the world, much like us. The repairs needed are extensive but attainable. I will need to rebuild the dashboard because replacement parts are not available. Even if I can find the parts I need from another truck, they are also damaged and not usable. The dashboard will require a whole new makeover to restore its life. Do you sometimes feel you need an overhaul? God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to give us a new life. You only need to accept Jesus into your life and be repentive of your sins to receive this blessing. Consequently, my old dodge truck, uniquely named Birddog, does not need to impress me or anyone else. It has weathered the storms of the past and is aptly suited to meet my needs in the foreseeable future.
I read a unique financial planning book long ago titled “Die Broke” by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine. The more I think about the ideas of the book, the more I am intrigued by its simplicity. First, quit the boring, unfulfilling job that offers no personal satisfaction and where you are unappreciated. Second, get out of debt and start paying cash for everything. Once you are out of debt, it becomes easier to do work you are exceptionally qualified to do and that brings you pleasure. Third, never retire because if you enjoy your work there is no need to drive off into the sunset donning your Hawaiian shirt. Fourth, die broke by giving all your assets away while you are still alive.
The more I think about the general tenets of the book, the more I realize that much of the advice aligns with Biblical scripture. For instance, God gives all of us special talents to be used to further His Kingdom. If we are working a job that does not take advantage of our extraordinary talents, then we are wasting our God-given abilities. However, once we discover our talents, then they can be used to glorify Him.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)
God also tells us to avoid debt. He does not tell us that debt is a sin; however, He strongly suggests we escape the bondage of its affliction.
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law”. (Romans 13:8NKJV)
There is only one mention in the Bible about retirement. However, even the Levites did not retire but remained in service as advisors and counselors.
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, This is what pertains to the Levites: From twenty-five years old and above one may enter to perform service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and at the age of fifty years they must cease performing this work, and shall work no more. They may minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of meeting, to attend to needs, but they themselves shall do no work. Thus you shall do to the Levites regarding their duties”. (Numbers 8:23–26)
Finally, we should acknowledge that we brought nothing into the world, so why do we work so hard to accumulate assets only to leave them behind upon our death?
“Now, godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1 timothy 6:6–8 NKJV)
Dying broke also means we should give away our excesses before we die to those who it can better serve in this world. When we give away our surpluses, God can use them to multiply our gifts. What better way of serving the Lord than to give Him what we cannot use? Unfortunately, we are trained to keep building assets for fear of running out of resources. There is a story in the Bible about hoarding reserves that typifies our secular mindset.
“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided’”? (Luke 12:16–21 NKJV)
Giving is a wonderful way to show our appreciation for the gifts God has so abundantly blessed us with. Rewrite your financial plan to reflect giving the first fruits of your labor. Also, do not forget to add a place in your plan to give away excess gifts back to the Lord so He can multiply them to bless others.
Your faithful servant
Pollan, S., & Levine, M. (1997). Die broke. Harper-Collins.
The Holy Bible: NKJV New King James Version. (2016). Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible.