Is living with our means meaningless? Listen to what California’s Budget Conference Chairwoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) stated on the floor during a heated tax debate last week: “Well, there is this mantra out there ‘live within our means’, and while that sounds really nice, it sounds really simple, and it sounds really responsible, its meaningless.”
During a time when the entire country is feeling the stretch of recession, and California alone has has an unemployment rate of 11.5%, this is an incredibly out-of-touch and dishonest sentiment. In the last few months, we’ve all had a wake-up call about living within our means. Whether we’ve become unemployed ourselves or just seen it happening all around us, we’ve realized how much we have to be grateful for, and the many easy times when we took our “means” for granted.
Because of this much-needed realization, California voters soundly trounced more taxes in a special election on May 19. The message was clear: let’s live within our means. We can do with less, but we can’t keep spending what we don’t have.
What Californians are demanding, and what all politicians need to understand, is that the “mantra of living within our means” is not without meaning. It actually has great meaning, given by the wisest financial planner of all. Luke 14:28 says: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Jesus is asking us to be wise stewards. Our insistence on doing things right now –our way instead of His–will not bring satisfaction, only defeat and ridicule.
Of course, Jesus never said that sticking up for His standards would be easy. In a time when smooth-talk and foolish policies are over-taking sound thinking, we need to stick to our convictions and “be ready to give an answer to any who ask.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Living within our means is meaningless without a Godly mindset. It’s good to remember, amidst all the cares of the world, that His priorities are a bit different: “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (Proverbs 17:16)