Saturday, October 28, 2006

"Spirit" -> John Wesley On Money

One of my heroes is John Wesley, who had a depth of understanding of the scriptures that all of us should strive to emulate.

I won't call out Wesley as perfect, and I personally grieve when I think about his rocky marriage, his moves toward legalism, or his acrimonious fight with George Whitefield, but yet there is much in his life that I wish that I had in my own life.

One of the things that I think Wesley knew better than most was how those under the regime of Jesus should handle money.

To quote Wesley:

Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then "give all you can."

This is commonly quoted as the following:

Get all you can
Save all you can
Give all you can

What I think is interesting about this Wesley process is that the three steps he describes gets harder and harder.

1. Get all you can

Most people don't have too much of a problem with this. They look for the better paying job. They often will work a few more hours to get a few more dollars. They are motivated by money. Now, I have met a few people would say that they don't try and get all they can, but I often observe that the people that often have this attitude also dislike hard work. Many times, they simply have figured out how to sponge off others or the system. It is because of these people, Paul states, ""If a man will not work, he shall not eat." (2 Thes 3:10)

2. Save all you can
Wesley was cheap. He encouraged those he preached to to be cheap. Save you money. Don't spend it on wine. Don't spend it on wasteful things. Only spend what you need to spend. The key, for Wesley, is reducing your expenses until whatever you had coming in for a paycheck would allow you to save money.

3. Give all you can

Again, according to a Christianity Today article, Wesley was unbelievable. He was able to live on 30 pounds per year, although he had an income level of 1,400 pounds per year. He simply would give away the rest.

Wesley's core philosophy is the core of what I believe. I will modify his words and thoughts with one other principle, which is "get free." I'm going to save the principle of "get free" for a later post, a concept that I believe that Wesley would have struggled with and fought with me about, but one that I believe in none the less.

In this life: Get, Save, Get Free, Give.

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