30: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
31: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
As I help people get their finances in order, I cast vision as to “how things could be” IF “they would just do this, this, and that.” Many times this involves selling some stuff – cars, boats, motorcycles, houses! I want people to have nice stuff, but many times the nice stuff is eating up 50% of their budget OR MORE. People just will not win with expenses like that!
As I cast vision, it is not unusual for me to say, “If you sell the two cars and buy two used cars, you could be debt-free except for the house in 12 months. If you choose to keep the cars, you may be debt-free in 60 months.” Or I might say, “If you sell the boat and motorcycle, you could be debt-free immediately. If you keep the boat and motorcycle, you may be debt-free in 72 months.”
When I mention selling some stuff, I begin encountering resistance! This is their stuff! They love their stuff! They bought this stuff, and they want to keep it. Even when it is eating them alive financially! Even when they are not able to give one thin dime and are not assisting others at all!
As I go through meetings like this, I see that God’s word is true. Proverbs 14:30 says that “envy rots the bones”. When people have a bad case of stuff-itis, it is usually a result of envy. They saw someone else with that item, and they wanted one too. The difference is that they could not afford it. The verse also says that “a heart at peace gives life to the body.” When stuff-itis is cured, WOW! The peace is awesome! Knowing you could go to the store and buy anything in there, but not doing it because you really don’t need anything. I am telling you it is AWESOME! Jenn and I have been vaccinated against stuff-itis, and it feels good!
Proverbs 14:31 says that “whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” I guess that is why it pains me so deeply in my soul when I see people up to their eyeballs in debt with a bad case of stuff-itis. They are so loaded up with their own wants that they do not even see the the needy, let alone help them.
The solution? Get a vaccination against stuff-itis!
Margin. The very word speaks strongly.
In writing, margin means “space.” Teachers tell us to leave margins and “don’t write in the margins.”
For any individual or organization to last, maintaining margin must be a priority. Here’s why – you will experience economic downturns. If financial margin has not been established, it can cause immediate financial issues and even jeopardize the solvency of the individual or organization.
There are two types of margin every person or organization should have in place.
- Cash On Hand Savings (Financial Reserves)
- Monthly Savings (Operational Margin)
1. Cash On Hand Savings (Financial Reserves)
Having money in the bank allows you to focus on your mission instead of exhausting yourself by determining the steps necessary to keep the doors open and the lights on. Financial reserves also allow you to ponder future opportunities to expand or grow your business or investments. Cash on hand also allows you the opportunity to encounter surprise expenses without worrying about how you will pay for them. In short, cash on hand allows you to sleep a lot better at night!
GOAL: 3 months of operating expenses
2. Monthly Savings (Operational Margin)
This type of margin is created by managing your costs such that you are able to add money to the bank account each and every month. This is what happens when you have a profitable organization or life. This type of margin allows you to know that current bills will be paid without having to erode financial reserves and to also fund future dreams!
GOAL: 15 to 20-percent profit margin
If I were to have a choice of one type of margin, I would choose #2 – Monthly Savings because I would be able to immediately begin funding #1 with the surplus profits!
Where are YOU personally when compared to this goals? Where is YOUR ORGANIZATION in relation to these goals?
This is a series that appears on a regular basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”
While Nehemiah was in the city of Susa, his brother Hanani came into town from Judah. Nehemiah asked him how things were in Jerusalem, and the answer he heard absolutely wrecked him. Hanani responded, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When Nehemiah heard of the terrible plight of Jerusalem, he was distraught and devastated. It is recorded that he said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.”
You see, Jerusalem had no wall which meant that they had no protection! In other words, they had no margin.
Think about it. If they grew crops or built something of value, their enemies could approach without anything blocking them. Without margin, the city of Jerusalem was in great trouble and disgrace.
There is a huge financial lesson to be learned from this story. Without financial margin, a person faces great trouble and disgrace! If you ever want to truly prosper, you MUST have margin. Margin offers protection against whatever life may throw at you.
If Satan can keep you broke, he can keep you ineffective.
Here are some fundamental truths:
- Life IS going to happen
- WITHOUT margin, you will face incredible challenges, stress, and anguish
- WITH margin, you will have a defense that allows you to remain focused on the mission and vision of your life
- It is easy to achieve BROKE. It requires focused effort to build and maintain financial margin.
- You CAN do this!
Just as we can learn from the book of Nehemiah, the first step toward establishing margin is to recognize that we don’t have it and that we need it!
Do YOU have financial margin?