Chuck Bentley: Wise, Faithful Stewardship and Living Beneath Your Means

Dear Chuck,

I’m inspired when I meet people who have the capacity to live “high on the hog” but choose to live surprisingly simple lives. Many young people in my church are carrying student loans, while buying new cars, and more house than they need. How are they ever going to get ahead and become productive stewards for the Kingdom?

Concerned about the Next Generation

Dear Concerned,

Let’s shift the focus of your question off of the next generation and deal with your concern through a much broader lens. ALL people need to learn to become productive stewards for God’s kingdom. The Bible makes it clear that no one is exempt from responsibility to be faithful with what God has provided, whether it is a lot or a very little.

One of the most important things all of us need to know is how to spend less than we earn. Credit has become easily available and an assumed part of life. Many people, young and old alike, often don’t understand the benefits of hard work and of putting their proceeds to work for them. They are often living in ignorance of Scripture, too busy working to slow down to think and plan. Others are simply caught up the trap of trying to find peace and joy through possessions.

Man is meant to work and to glorify God in his efforts. Joy in our labor grants deep satisfaction, a financial reward, and the means to bless others. Couple that with wise stewardship and it has deep, eternal impact. We need to be trained to know and apply God’s Word and have the inspiration of great examples to follow.

Finding Inspiration

Although I don’t know them personally, I recently read of two men who turned their early work efforts into major companies by living modestly and keeping their tastes simple. They are fulfilled in their work and give generously.

Jim Pattison, a Canadian self-made billionaire, operates his C$10 billion empire in 85 countries. At the age of 90, Pattison currently oversees a string of John Deere equipment dealerships. He drives his pick-up across the Canadian prairie to drop in on different holdings, keeping a sleeping bag and pillow in the back seat in case he can’t find a motel.

Born during the Great Depression, he wore hand-me-downs and held many different jobs. In 1961, he purchased a Pontiac Buick dealership with a C$40,000 Royal Bank of Canada loan that exceeded the branch’s lending limit fivefold. He still has the handwritten financial statements from that first year and claims his favorite job was selling used cars.

Extremely private, he intentionally avoids email and rarely checks his cell phone. He gives his managers lots of freedom but demands results. Pattison is known for his deceptively thrifty nature, modest lifestyle, fondness of cheap meals at McDonald’s, and off-the-rack clothes. When asked if he ever takes vacations, he remarked, “Well I get 365 days. If you like your work, it’s not work.” Pattison is often dubbed Canada’s Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett, worth over $80 billion, lives in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. When his first child was born, he converted a dresser drawer into a sleeping space and borrowed a crib for the second. This was the humble mindset for the man who built Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett earned money different ways when young, started a pinball machine business with a buddy in high school, sold it and started another. Along the way, he learned how to make money and save it.

Buffett has seen a lot of people fail “because of liquor and leverage.” He advises to only borrow what you need at a low, fixed rate then pay it off as soon as you can.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley