freeso last nite was week 6 of our ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ book study and we vulnerabled [it’s a verb!] things up a notch as a few of us shared the money plan/budget we had spent this week working on [an interesting point of note was someone realising that it had been all the married couples who had volunteered to share theirs first – don’t worry singles/daters, your time is coming…] and it was such a powerful experience – it is amazing how speaking about money [especially when it becomes personal] has become such a big thing for so many of us – definitely think i want to write a bit more on money soon…

i would highly recommend this book as a catalyst for getting some great, helpful and healthy conversations going [like the big one of DOES THE WAY YOU SPEND YOU TIME AND MONEY REFLECT THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO YOU?]

– for married people, especially young [as in recently] married people – the parts on money, budgeting and debt alone are worth it.

– for small groups of people – this is part reading book, part workshopping book and so it has proven really helpful to be working through it with a group of twelve people who committed themselves to the eight week process – so whether a church group or just a group of friends who feel like it’s a good idea, it is.

– for anyone else. it’s just a good solid book.

do i agree with everything in it? absolutely not. but there is enough good stuff to make it worthwhile and some of the stuff you disagree with might make for good conversation and reflection

and there are some great challenges or experiments which i invited a bunch of you to do with me, with some interesting results:

[1] First up was the invitation not to rush – to take a bit of time every day for a week to slow things down and look and listen and just be and a whole bunch of you dived into that one with me and gave some great feedback.

[2] Next up was the Gratitude log where I invited people to join me for ten days of taking time at the beginning or end of a day to write down five different things from the day that you were grateful for and a medium amount of you decided to join me for that one, although there was not quite as much feedback.

[3] Lastly, I invited people to join me in a discipline of contentment, in which you were invited to give up something you liked [I chose coffee] for a week and the response was deafening. I’m sorry, that should read ‘deaf’ – there was the sound of the absence of crickets. Could it be that not rushing and being grateful both feel like things that have an immediate payoff for me, whereas something like fasting [even just one thing for a week] just feels like a bit of work? Interesting.

Which brings me back to the prayer at the start of Mark Scandrette’s book which is called a prayer of abundance and the invitation is to meditate on these words and see if this prayer is or can become true for you as you pray it with me?

I know that I am cared for by an abundant Provider

I choose to be grateful and trusting,

I believe I have enough and that what I need will always be provided.

I choose to be content and generous.

I know that my choices matter for myself, for others and for future generations.

Help me to live consciously and creatively,

celebrating signs of your new creation that is present and coming.

Creator, who made me to seek the greater good of Your kingdom,

Guide me to use my time, talents and resources to pursue what matters most.

Teach me to be free,

to live without worry, fear or greed in the freedom of Your abundance.

Give me my daily bread, as I share with those in need.

Thank You for the precious gift of life.

[From ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ by Mark Scandrette]

So seriously consider getting hold of this book or maybe a bunch of these books, and your friends or spouse and set aside time to work through it [a slow eight week approach works well – you could even do it regularly around a meal] and then come back here and let me know how it went…

Why wouldn’t you want to be more free than you are now? 

 

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