The Simplest Budget in the World

by Andy Wood on March 27, 2008

in Leadership, Life Currency, Money, Time

BudgetThere are four things – and only four things – you can spend your money on.  Like me, you may keep up with your finances with computer program that has a vast array of categories.  You may be a day planner diva, able instantly to analyze what occupies your time.  But it still comes down to just four things.

Are you a leader, or a leader wannabe?  There are four – and only four – directions of leadership.

There are four – and only four – foundations of wisdom.

Same goes for other LifeVesting Currencies – esteem, love, words, and abilities.  There are four sources or directions for each:

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.  Eternity. 

That’s it.  Take any expenditure of time or money, energy or esteem, love or language, and you’ll find it will fall into one of those four categories.  Anything else is just details.

Yesterday spending refers to those obligations you made in the past that you are still paying for.  Yesterday’s purchases (you’re still “paying later!”).  Yesterday’s promises.  Yesterday’s pain.

Today spending refers to those desires and needs you encounter today.  Gas and groceries.  Gifts and games with your kids.  Grace when you’re in the dog house.

Tomorrow spending refers to that part of your resources that you save and invest to serve your needs later in the future.  Initiative and investing.  Retirement and redirection (read “downsizing” or “death” here).

Eternity spending has to do with what you give.  Your tithe and your time.  Your service and your smile.  Your faith, hope, and love.

News Flash!  Would it surprise you to know that the overwhelming portions of our lives are aimed at yesterday and today?  Am I the only guy who gets a little nervous because the success of the American economy depends on getting people to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need (to impress people they don’t like)?  That total household debt in the U.S. was more than 100% of our disposable annual income last year?  The same is true for relationships.  We’ve come to recognize people as consumables – worth keeping as long as they’re useful, then we toss them.

Take an honest, but simple look at how you’re spending your resources.  How much is going to yesterday, today, tomorrow, and eternity?

Take an honest look at what your greatest treasure(s) are, or should be.  Is that where you’re spending the bulk of your time?  Your money?  Your influence?

What are you prepared to say “no” to, in order to invest in the future and hope that represents God’s highest and best for you?

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me,” Jesus said. “Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). LifeVestors recognize that principle. You don’t have forever to work, but you will have forever (and probably a long time on the planet) to live with the results of what you did or didn’t do.

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