70 Things My Dad Taught Me (part 4)

Continuing the rather lengthy blog from yesterday … here are some more things my Dad has taught me.

Dad taught me about Finances.

Tithing was something that Dad did, faithfully, without complaining or even considering any alternative. One of the major blessings in my life has been his example in this area – it has made it very easy for me to obey my Lord in this area, watching my Dad do it so effortlessly over the years.

Offerings are gifts offered to God above and beyond the 10% tithe, which Dad also believed strongly in doing. He confided in me some details of the tithe/offering plan which he and Mom put together, and challenged me to give in ways that are meaningful and sacrificial. His example continues as an inspiration to me in my own gifts to God.

Frugality is an important part of good stewardship. Dad showed me that buying the cheaper item was often the best way to go, getting the most bang for the buck with money he considered not to be his own. As I have tried to be a good steward of the resources God has given me, I have been helped by Dad’s willingness to be intelligently ‘cheap’.

Bargain shopping: As taught by his own Mom, my Dad was always a good bargain shopper, and exercised his frugality by careful research and effort in finding the best deal. His example of thinking critically about purchases has probably saved me thousands of dollars, over the years.

Tricks with credit cards can be fun. I’m not sure Dad intended to teach this one, but he showed me how to rotate money at zero percent with zero or low transfer fees between credit cards. Sometimes you just need a little extra money, and there are banks out there dying to let you use theirs. It has gotten me out of a few scrapes, over the years, and I have enjoyed the cleverness of it. Whenever I take advantage of a zero percent loan, I think of Dad.

It is better to give than to lend. As an outgrowth of his generosity, I have seen Dad bless others by giving when they only expected a loan. By doing so, he has protected himself from damaged relationships when friends and relatives neglect to pay back the loan. Related to his generosity, I have always been proud of the way my Dad puts people ahead of money.

Invest in God’s Kingdom. My Dad was never one with a large stock portfolio or bulging IRA accounts, but has relied on his Army retirement and has invested in the Lord’s work over the years. As Matthew 6:19-21 says,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Trust in God to provide your needs. A natural outgrowth of Dad’s example in investment, tithing and offerings, Dad trusted in God to provide for college expenses for us kids and for all the other things that people stress about. God has been faithful to my Dad in the matter of finances, and as I have seen this worked out in his life, I know God can be trusted in my life as well.

Some lessons even Dad gets to learn all over again, as he watches God provide for the financial needs of The Refuge during this construction phase.

Don’t fuss at your wife about money she spends. Dad believes in my Mom, and he trusts her to be careful with their money. As a result, Mom rises to that standard and is even more frugal than he is, sometimes. That has been a good thing for me to emulate in my own marriage, and has saved me many fights with my own wife.

Try to live below your means; don’t be greedy for stuff. I wish I had learned this lesson more thoroughly in my heart, not just in my head. Still, it is great to have a shield against the material idols that are so prevalent in our nation.

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