The Middle Class Entitlement Mentality

Bankrate.com has an interesting article about how certain things we deem “needs” more likely belong in the category “wants” or even “entitlements.” Jay McDonald writes, A lot of us in wealthy, overspending America are either born or raised with a tremendous sense of entitlement. We say to ourselves, ‘I work hard or, I work at a job I hate — at least I should be able to have a Starbucks coffee every day or eat out for lunch.’ But of course, those are not needs, they’re wants. They’re pleasures. A more theological treatment can be found here. Personally, about 10 years ago, I had been buried under a pile of credit card debt that took a lot of discipline to pay for. I wish I had this perspective during those childish years of plastic swiping foolishness. McDonald lists 12 things many Americans feel entitled to that can be a big…

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When College Costs More than a House

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. He knows a couple who is about to get married and who has a debt burden from college that exceeds $100,000 between the two of them. That’s a bad place to start a marriage. Are these Ivy League graduates or med school students? No. They’re graduating from Cedarville with degrees in education and English. To put it in perspective, my first home in Louisville cost my wife and I less than $100,000 and we mortgaged that amount for 30 years. Our monthly payment was around $850 per month. This makes perfect sense when you’re purchasing an asset that appreciates in value¬† over time, like a home. But that is a crazy amount to pay for degrees in education and English from a small Bible college. With this kind of sticker price, is this worth it? Most people go to…

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Give Until It Hurts

If every Christian is called to be generous with their resources, how much should we give? To what extent should we sacrifice? I am reading Tim Keller’s book Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road and he offers a helpful principle. “Be sure that your giving cuts into your own lifestyle so that the burden of the needy falls on you.” He is essentially arguing that if your giving habits do not alter your lifestyle in someway, you aren’t giving enough yet. You should give until you feel pinched. He also quotes another book by Thomas Gouge, who said that “the poor have a right unto part of thine estate.” God supplies some of us with abundance so that we can steward it properly by giving to meet others needs. Gouge says that the poor man’s bread rots in my cupboard, the poor man’s clothes hangs useless in…

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The Apostle Paul and Abraham Maslow on “Needs” and “Wants”

What is the guiding principle when considering wealth? Contentment. Paul says this in 1 Timothy 6: 6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. My wife and I are planning a move to Cincinnati to plant a church this summer. As we survey the various housing options available, it creates quite a stir in our hearts concerning “needs” and “wants.” All people agree on certain needs: food, clothing, shelter, etc., but there are other things that we may call “needs” that quite certainly belong in the category of “wants,” such as a house with a garage, 3 bedrooms, central heating and cooling, and so on. Abraham Maslow, a humanistic psychologist, summarizes in a chart a “hierarchy of…

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