Most things in life cost money and everybody wants plenty of money. Money is something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value or a means of payment ( Merriam-Webster dictionary). Money is a tool. It’s not good or bad in itself it depends on how we get and use it. Money is a very good servant, tool to achieve great and mighty things but a bad master.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.Matthew 6:24
I like to share with you some valuable lessons I learnt from a story in the Bible about money. Its in the book of Genesis. It’s the story of Pharaoh’s dream and Joseph’s interpretation. (Genesis 41-47).
So Joseph was in prison and Pharaoh had a dream. In the dream there were 7 years of surplus and plenty in Egypt followed by 7 years of famine (Gen 41:29-31). The famine was going to be very terrible it will wipe out all the harvest of the surplus years.
Joseph advised Pharaoh on want to do to avoid the eminent destruction that may result due to the 7 years of famine. Joseph’s counsel to Pharaoh was to save twenty percent of the harvest during the years of surplus (Gen 41:36). Pharaoh took Joseph’s counsel and appointed him to be in charge of the receiving and management of the storehouse (Gen 41:39-41).
When famine hit, Egypt had plenty not only to feed her people but also to sell to neighboring nations (Gen 41:57). Jacob and Joseph’s brothers were only able to escape the hunger starvation that resulted from the famine because of the storehouse in Egypt. They also came to Egypt to buy food.
Pharaoh kingdom became very wealthy and acquired so much wealth during this time. The people sold all they had to buy food from Pharaoh and survive.
Here are some of the lessons to learn from the story.
- Knowledge is power. Information available to Pharaoh helped him for sure. If Pharaoh was not aware there was going to be famine, he would have done what everyone else did, eat and waste the harvest during the surplus years.
- They had a plan in place to address what to do during time of surplus and what to do when the famine hits.
- It’s not enough to know, the information we have must be acted upon. They built a storehouse and collected the harvest. It must have involved a lot of work definitely. But knowing what was ahead, every effort put into the project was worth it.
Money is a tool, having plenty of it is good, very good.
Everyone’s time of famine is different. We all go through different times and pockets of famine as individuals or a nation. You can learn from this story and make it a habit to save. Like Joseph, plan to save and invest at least twenty percent of your earnings for the future. There are different situations that can be compared to the famine of those times. Plan for your retirement, plan for college, plan for wedding, plan for buying your dream house. These situations are not emergency situations. You can also save for emergency situations or unforeseen circumstances. A medical situation, death in the family or loss of income. It will save you and me a lot of embarrassment, hardship and stress.
Whether you are starting to earn money or its been a while, it is never too late or early to start. Make it a part of your budget to save. The usual recommendation by financial experts is to Save 10% Give 10% Spend 60% and no more than 20% to pay down debt.
If you start early, its possible to have 10-30% of your earnings to save and avoid debt completely.
I understand that for some, sixty percent of your current earnings, may not be enough to cover daily expense so the idea of even saving may be tough. There are several approach it. One way to approach it is to pay down your debt so you can have more to spend, save and give. Another possible approach is to find ways to increase your earning potential.
I am not a financial expert. I understand that everyone’s financial situation is different. Talk to a financial expert if you think you need one. There is a wealth of information available to you to help you. Please take advantage of them. The following books have helpful and useful information to start you in the right direction. I have read everyone of them and picked up some useful and relevant information .