Day 24 in Proverbs
I’m not much of a planter. I don’t like to plant much of anything, because I worry I won’t remember to take care of it. And I will grieve when it dies.
I am, however, a planner. Because I have such a problem with my ADD mind, I need to make myself focus on things. These plans often go awry, because the focus part stays difficult. So I have learned to plan with different expectations than the average person, with different goals than the average person, and often working that plan more uniquely than the average person.
Still there are certain concepts in a plan that need to be included for it to be successful. Generally you need to try to operate in an order that makes sense. If you jump steps, or do things in an order that is haphazard, it usually takes longer to get to your goal. In other words, it is a bad plan!
Most of us wouldn’t think about planting our garden until we bought our house. Of course, this verse isn’t speaking to our modern thoughts of recreational gardening; it’s Solomon talking to his son, who is becoming a young man. He’s advising him to make he has his life on track, that his livelihood is secure, before he takes on responsibilities like a wife and children. It’s good advice.
Often we just start adding things to our pile….good things, exciting things….. without taking some time to fully evaluate how they are going to change our lives. Children, for instance. How many people have them without thinking about the impending sacrifice and disruption to their lives? How many have them without calculating the financial cost? How many have them without thinking about the PTA meetings, and the school trips, and the braces, and the trips to the emergency room? How many have them without fully looking at the other potential parent and thinking about whether they would be a good lifelong partner to parent with? And who pays when you don’t make good decisions in these things? Innocent children.
Home buying is another thing. It’s not just the price of the home and the interest rate of your mortgage, but what about all of the thing you will need to furnish that home? What about when the roof leaks or your refrigerator breaks? What about the cost of lawn maintenance and the time it takes to do it? Who is going to take care of things when they break down (like ceiling fans that won’t go back up once you change the light bulb)? The costs continue to add up.
Or that brand new car you have been eyeing. If you lose your job tomorrow, can you make that car payment for a while? If not, maybe a new car is not the best choice for you. Maybe you need one that can allow you to build up an emergency fund in case your life hits a crisis. Smart choices on the front end, lead to potential for reward on the back end. You buy the older car now, get the emergency fund set up, and start the fund for your dream car.
I am amazed at how many people live paycheck to paycheck for most of their careers, at how many people live a lifestyle beyond their means because they want it all, at how many people take on responsibility after responsibility because they don’t seem to be able to say “No, this is not the right time for me to do this.” This leads to crummy relationships, financial problems, and a whole lot of depression.
While we need to calculate the risk before we jump into things, we also can’t go through life with a lot of fear. Sometimes we just have to take the plunge and take some baby steps. For example, I am going to plant this plant my friend Ursula is saving for me. And I am going to plant some of these herb seeds I have laying around. I think I am ready to take them on. I feel relatively confident I can keep them alive. We’ll see how I do. I’ve done OK with the house….