It Is FINISHED: Williams-1, Bank-0
Remember when Jesus said that? He was hanging on the cross, dying for our sins and at just the moment He lays down His life for our sin, He declares it complete. What was complete? Well, He meant the work He was doing to save humanity from our sin. What an unbelievable gift He has given each of us. Its easy to go about our day and forget the fact that we were BOUGHT – we're slaves, servants, helpers of The One. (Who else can call themselves The One and never be trumped by someone or something else? No one.) Jesus bought me and I'm so thankful. Today, Jodi and I completed a monumental task and milestone (in our estimation). So for us, today, finishing takes on another meaning. A little background if I may…
Jodi and I were married just over eight years ago on August 18, 2001. Shortly thereafter she moved to Raleigh, NC to live with me as I was a manager at a construction management firm. Jodi (although having a degree in Chemical Engineering = "freakin brilliant") decided that she wanted to work at our local church and did so, part-time. After a year or so we joined a financial management study to learn what God says about managing money. Long story short, God began working on us to live within our means, be content in Him, and to be good stewards of what He's given us. About 4 years ago we built (in upstate SC) a house on 9 acres of land out in the country. Since then we've added a deck, porches, 3-car garage, and finished our basement. These updates have been done with cash along the way and we've always tried to pay a little extra towards our mortgage each month. Somewhere along the way, we downloaded a loan amortization spreadsheet to keep track of the progress we've been making. Its awesome seeing what an extra $50-$100 month can do. Anyway, I'll tell you more about that later (or email me if you want to know some of our tips and tricks) and I'll fill you in. The point is we started paying attention.
About a year ago we were at an event at church for volunteer appreciation and during a time when folks could get up and say a few words about what NewSpring has meant to them, a friend of ours stood up and said that he was thankful for the financial ministry because it helped he and his wife make a lot of progress in their finances and that he had just retired. Now, this guy looks like he's in his mid-forties (sorry Allen if I'm wrong, but you look good!) and he just stood up and said he had retired! That blew me away. God and I had some long talks about that. I know tons of people aren't financially able to retire in their 70's let alone their 40's. After a while I realized that Jodi and I could live very comfortably on a small income if we had no payments. Imagine your world with no payments: no car payments, no house payments, no credit card payments….. Paying the utilities, a little insurance, and then money for food doesn't take much. There's a freedom there.
Jodi and I prayed and talked about it and put together a plan to see what it would take for us to pay off our house. We started with our spreadsheet and we ran numbers (thankfully we're both math peeps). We talked about it all the time and we played with what-if scenarios. What if we could pay an extra $100 a month? Where could we find extra moolah? What if we could roll our change and apply it; put Christmas and birthday gifts toward the house; decrease our savings; sell some stuff; cut back here and there; sell the dog and the kids (no we didn't J)?
We developed a plan in the beginning to pay our house off in 4 more years; a 30 year mortgage in 7 years. Then we whittled that back to 2 ½ more years (total = 5 ½ years). Then we tightened up some more and God blessed and it looked like in another year we might be able to pay it off. We had talked about it so much that it sometimes seemed that it would never happen – after all, it's a huge task. Our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago. During our discussions about what to do and how far we've come…. we decided to pull up our mortgage spreadsheet and take a look at the progress we've made and what we had in our accounts and see if we could pay a chunk towards the balance. Well, we looked and ran our numbers like we've done a ton of times and realized we were there. We checked and double checked, but sure enough, God had provided and we not only had enough to make a sizeable dent in the mortgage, we obliterated it! So today, we were finally able to apply the monies towards the mortgage and satisfy that debt. FREEDOM.
God has been so good to us by allowing us to be stewards of His resources and has taken good care of us. Thank you God. You are awesome.
So folks, please celebrate with us. Tell us your accomplishments and what God has been doing in/through you. I have a few challenges for you:
- What is God calling you to complete – what challenge has He brought before you? The bigger task, the bigger the God.
- Have you let God "finish" you? He came to finish us all, but we have to choose to allow Him to complete us.
Thanks for reading and celebrating this with us today. It's very emotional and freeing to think about. I'm sure I haven't even internalized what all it really means, but I do know that 9/5/09 is no longer the due date for our mortgage payment! Please understand that we aren't bragging about this accomplishment. It wasn't just us, it was God. Sure, He called us to do some things and make some hard decisions along the way, but He provided the means. He provided the income, the opportunities, and the resources we could take advantage of to complete the task He's given us. He is the reason and the catalyst for us to tackle this issue in our lives. He can be your catalyst too.
Waiting for you on the back 40….