How much is an idea worth? How much would you pay for someone else’s thought that could save you $10,00?
How much would you pay to ensure the health of your marriage into the next decades?
How much would you pay to know that you are growing and maturing in your relationship with God?
While we give lip service to valuing our walk with God, our families, and financial stewardship, our budgets seldom reflect it.
You’re Not “Saving” Money
The church’s frugality mindset has forced many followers of Christ into a “do-it-yourself” mentality that keeps them from seeking professional help. From self-help books to online legal templates, Christians seem to be of a mindset that they can “do it all”.
But should they?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has always been a Gospel of community, one body with many members. But we are unpracticed at inviting people into our life. We neglect to pay for mental and marital counseling, spiritual development and legal and financial advice.
We show our lack of value for these ideas by our refusal to pay for them. Because of this we either end up off mission, or take the long, hard-lessons-learned way around.
In golf, a small adjustment in your angle of the ball has a big impact on your drive. Any error, even by a few degrees, is multiplied by the distance the ball travels. Sometimes when I golf, my drive ends up further from the hole than the original tee position!
Advisors are people who can help hone your “drive” towards the mission and warn you when you are few degrees off before you’ve gone too far. Rather than multiplying a mistake out over several hundred yards, maybe they stop you at fifty.
What would it be worth to find an error before it cost you?
Advice Worth Paying For
If being “on-mission” is important to you, you should learn to pay for wise advisors in these four categories:
Spiritual- Many Christians feel that if it’s spiritual you shouldn’t have to pay for it. While it’s true that the Gospel shouldn’t be used for gain, it’s equally true that the worker is worth his wages.
Counselors, spiritual directors and even mentors are worth paying for their wisdom. If you’re serious about doing the good works God has prepared for you, you should be deploying money towards getting solid spiritual advice.
I highly recommend engaging a spiritual director, who simply asks good questions to help you notice what God is doing in your life. Wouldn’t it be worth a handful of dollars each month to avoid years of walking down the wrong path or missing the right one?
Even in the places where we are blessed to have solid informal relationships with spiritual mentors, they still deserve a wage. Honor those who are willing to act as your priest by sharing their wisdom with you. I call this informal arrangement the Priest’s Portion.
Relational- What would it be worth to ensure you still had a marriage a decade from now? What if you could break free from that traumatic past or learn to relate to people in a healthier way?
Christian couples go to marriage counseling as a last resort. If our marriages are a priority, why wouldn’t we put a little money towards them every few years to proactively find any dysfunction that may exist in our relationships BEFORE we have to pay for it?
Counseling still has a stigma in the church and it shouldn’t. Being able to relate to people and yourself in a healthy manner is a prerequisite to living on mission, not a luxury. Many a minister or missionary has burnt out or fallen into moral disrepair because they didn’t deal with their unhealthy ways of relating to people or themselves.
Financial- Running a non-profit or a church is complicated. Inviting advisors (and paying them) into board discussions, tax preparation and document crafting is simply good business. While we don’t like to think of our mission minded organizations as businesses, and for good reason, there is a business component that needs attended to.
Additionally, the sheer volume of transactions a financial advisor, attorney or tax accountant has done in comparison to you is staggering. Something you do once a year or once a lifetime, they do multiple times a day. They have seen dozens or hundreds of situations just like yours, and they have seen all the possible outcomes of the decisions you’re trying to make play out.
Lastly, any of these professionals should pay for themselves by identifying tax savings, avoiding litigation or increasing your business or investment productivity in excess of their fee. You avoid paying their fees at your own peril.
Physical- I’m admittedly not good at paying for this one. And I’m less healthy for it. While I want to be more physically active, I’m not. Why? Because my value of physical activity isn’t reflected in my budget. While I could simply strap on some running shoes and go for a jog, I don’t. So clearly there is an incongruency in my stated values and my actions. A personal trainer or even a doctor visit could point me in the right direction or hold me more accountable to my health. I only have one body and God’s charged me to take care of it.
Sometimes I wonder if we’re bad at seeking advice because of our individualism. As a culture we are bad at inviting people into our lives. We leave our church when the pastor says something we don’t like. We listen to news channels that stroke our bias. We don’t want people in our business.
While personal responsibility is a good thing, the church could stand to learn something about accountability. If you want to be on-mission, you need to be accountable. Good advisors help keep you focused on your mission and offer ideas to get you there while avoiding dangerous pitfalls.
What is that worth to you?
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