Redefining "normal" with personal finances

At Sanctuary, I talk a lot about what's "normal." Normal in the world is to be a person who tries to be good and has a general faith in God. Normal in God's kingdom is not goodness but greatness. It is living like no one else lives and loving like no one else loves. It is having faith that enables me to surrender every part of my life to God so he can introduce me to the enthralling ideas he has for my life. God has high expectations for us, and we have to be willing to look crazy to everyone else.

With this in mind, these words from personal finance guru Dave Ramsey caught my eye this morning:
"Normal" in North America is broke. "Normal" is using credit cards, taking on a lifetime of car payments, and spending more than you make. "Normal" is living on a razor's edge, where any unexpected emergency can send you into panic mode. I finally figured out I don't want to be "normal." I want to be weird!

I'm not living a "normal" North American life, but I can feel the stress and the mess it causes.

If this is what financial "normal" is in North America, what is "normal" in God's kingdom? Normal is to be thankful for everything God gives us. Normal is not to worry about whether he will give us what we truly need. Normal is to put our hearts into our jobs, even if they don't make us "happy." Normal is to live below our means and avoid unnecessary debt. Normal is to save for the future. Normal is to give like the church and the world's poor are depending on us. (In Western history, no one has positively impacted the lives of the poor more than the church.)

My family is a good part of the way in living a "normal" kingdom life with money, but we have a ways to go. When I look around, I see far too many Christians living on the world's side of "normal" more than God's side. It isn't working for individuals or families, and it isn't working for our country. Rather than being part of the problem, our society is bleeding for us to be a bigger part of the solution. What if Christians decided to lead by example, not talking down to the rest of society but simply living by a new set of norms? What effect would it have? There has never been a more important time for Christians to reset "normal" with regard to money.

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