Some years ago friends of ours sought a number of kinds of advice as to whether they should spend money on their existing home, build a second home on their extensive block, or sell up and move to something which might suit their fresh needs.
The first professional they sought out was a building consultant who suggested they would be better off extending as that would curtail the expense. The second was a builder who suggested they build the second house and rent the existing house to off set the costs. The third was a real estate agent who suggested they sell and then buy another. The fourth was a financier who suggested they sell, buy an inexpensive unit, and invest the significant remainder.
It was so very confusing they did nothing.
They were intensely enthusiastic at first, they told their friends, they talked endlessly about it, but when these conflicting comments were placed before their hearts, and having the pitfalls spelt out for each option by the various parties, it all became a little too adventurous.
This article from The New Daily provides six cautionary tips when considering investing in property. (thenewdaily.com.au)
Herein lies the unspoken issues for enthusiastic Christians. Over a life time of ministry it has come to my attention of innumerable situations where well meaning Christian people, with the most wonderful ideals and heart-felt passion for the Lord's ministry, have engaged in the most reckless financial behaviour.
Some have given way too much money to their local church, for a range of what I'd refer to as - dubious ministry opportunities. These can extend to anything from new church building projects, to sending the minister and his wife on overseas ministry trips, and ministry projects that have a lack of financial responsibility.
The most dangerous of all, and largely subliminal, is that of serving the Lord with one's property and making rash and over-capitalising extensions, rebuilding or selling and buying, for the sole purpose of "having a larger home to serve the Lord for bible studies and prayer meetings".
The Lord in His providence, regardless of your good-intentions, does not need your property, when it's going to place you and your family and your future security in some jeopardy. The Lord expects every one of His children to be judicious with what they have been given – the parable of the talents should not go unheeded.
Motivation can be a dangerous animal. So much motivation amongst members of congregations has very little to do with 'service' as it does with 'keeping up and passing the Jones''. No one, but no one, will come to your financial aid, having made foolish financial decisions, regardless of the good intention, when a more prudent course was there for the taking.
It seems to me that way too many well meaning and trusting Christian lay people are "taken-in" every-which-way: For years congregations served a cuppa after the church service, now in too many churches, you pay now for that same cuppa. Moreover, the sale of Christian books / DVDs is phenomenal. The idea that you must have on your home book shelf the latest fad-author is beyond any God given common sense.
Proverbs 21 verse 20 "There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it."
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html