This is a guest post from Mr. NotTheJetSet
not the jet set . net is a blog about personal finance, stewardship, green and frugal living – personal finance for the rest of us: one family’s story. We don’t claim to know it all. We won’t claim to make you rich. But we may get you to think a little differently about money and how it affects your life.
He’s a spender, she’s a saver. Together, they’re Not the Jet Set.
Fed up with working too hard to not have any money, we made the decision to take control of our finances. We began a mission to get out of debt and stay out of debt – forever. On June 23rd of 2006, we completed Baby Step 2 by paying off approx $40,000 in 20 months. During that time and ever since then, we’ve seen it as part of our calling to help others achieve what we have – financial peace.
Tithing our Time
Years ago, while living in Texas, the Mrs. and I belonged to a church that was ‘stewardship based’. At it’s core this meant that there was no fund raising activities to benefit the parish – bake sales, catered dinners, bingo night, none of it. The intent was that all funding was to come from stewardship – tithing, free-will donations, and Sunday offerings. Many felt that it was not possible to run a parish of this size this way, but it was our priest’s insistence that would win folks over. He often said, “As a stewardship parish, we’ll never have a money problem – only a faith problem”. A powerful statement meaning that if our income wasn’t paying the bills, then lack of money wasn’t the problem, but rather the lack of faith driving us to give. It was great to be a part of, and also amazing to see the affect that our FPU classes had on the weekly numbers as more families were giving and more were able to at least work towards a tithe.
Ever since then, we’ve been big believers in stewardship as it applies to not only our treasure, but our time and talents as well.
- In terms of treasure – We tithe and try to give on top of that when we are able.
- In terms of talents – We facilitate FPU classes and council families needing additional help.
- In terms of time – Well, I guess this is where we feel we have been falling short.
*Matt’s Note: The 4th area of stewardship is our health.
So how do we give our time?
Sure, one could argue that the 2 hr+ FPU classes and their prep work would fall into that. But are we then just ‘double dipping’? Seems like we can do more for the Lord. Of course we go to church every Sunday, but that’s just the minimum – we used to do so much more.
Then we got a bit of a wake-up call. Our Priest’s sermon recounted a Bible verse about listening to the Lord, and then gave the modern interpretation of it – interrupted with cell phone calls, pager buzzing, text messages… Our time with the Lord has been invaded and a common culprit of that is technology. Later that day, we were with a group of friends who were talking about the same thing and how they simply had to stop the way they were going and re-prioritize their life. We knew we had to do the same.
So the Mrs. did the math and approached me about this concept of ‘tithing our time’. If we truly gave a tenth (a tithe) of our time to the Lord, that would amount to 16.8 hrs per week. A great goal, but pretty intimidating – I mean, that’s 2 work days. As our priest in Texas would tell people wanting to tithe on their income, but fearful about being able to commit to the full 10%, he would say to start with something – even just 1%, start with just $10, start giving something!
So that’s what we are doing. We are starting with something.
Here is what we are doing…
- We have both enrolled in an adult Bible study class through the parish. This class lasts about 2 hrs once per week, plus has homework each week.
- We are giving a part of each day. In the spirit of starting with something, we are giving 30 minutes each day to the Lord – be it Bible study homework, quiet contemplation, prayer or something else.
With these, in addition to Sunday Mass and FPU classes, we are each giving 8 hrs per week to God. Not bad! That’s nearly 50% of the goal of 16.8 hours.
In the spirit of giving, we also looked at our own house. As the Bible says, “he who does not take care of his own household is worse than a non-believer”. Here we are giving so much of ourselves outward, and yet the living room is a wreck, the dishes are stacked up by the sink, the office/sewing room is a horrible catch all and barely usable, and the basement has yet to fully recover from the house projects of a year ago. So the Mrs came up with a plan for the whole family to give 30 minutes each night to cleaning the house. Focused, intense effort wherever it is needed most. We were able to try it out for a few days last week and the results were amazing. Three and a half people (the little one doesn’t help that much at under 2 years old) cleaning the same space for 30 minutes has resulted in very clean and presentable spaces each time. In fact, it was the spark we needed to start getting the office/sewing room under control.