The 20% Solution

by Calvin and Lisa Wulf

     "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5 niv).

He closes the checkbook and lays his head in his hands. "Every time I pay the bills we get deeper in the hole," he groans.

"But both of us are working. I don't see how we can do more," she answers. "We just can't make ends meet. Good thing we have credit cards to take up the slack."

Life in America is an expensive proposition. Everyone is scrambling to stay even. There seems no choice but to spend whatever it takes. Even two-income families can't make it anymore. It's impossible to get by on what we have. Or is it?

Statistics show average Americans spend 120 percent of their income. So we're paying out everything we have and then some. But has this really bought us happiness? Our shopping bags seem filled with emptiness instead.

Perhaps we need a contentment make-over. For example, many think that cable TV is a basic necessity of life. But would we die without it? Now, paying for TV isn't wrong. The real issue is to focus on what we truly need.

If our goal is contentment, let's turn our gaze in the right direction. Do we really trust God? He trusts us. In fact, He's given us the world to manage for Him. But we are just that: managers. It's up to us to live on what He has provided, not to use up what He hasn't.

Having trouble staying out of the 20 percent zone?  Try this:

<![if !supportLists]>        <![endif]>See where you stand. Check your outgo against your inflow.

<![if !supportLists]>        <![endif]>Evaluate your needs and wants. Are the wants taking over?

<![if !supportLists]>        <![endif]>Leave the plastic at home. Let God fill your shopping bag.

He wants to provide what is truly needed. So why not reverse the 20 percent formula? Live at 80 percent instead. Then tithe 10 percent and save 10 percent.

Watch your contentment factor soar as you trust in God.

The Wulfs' latest workshop is Living for God in a World that Doesn't,

 at or call (719) 578-8837.

Copyright 2004, Calvin R. Wulf and Lisa Are Wulf

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