How In The World Can You Afford That?

So many of you asked to see pictures of our new home. Instead of emailing them to each and every one of you, I posted them on my blog on Friday. Amy commented after seeing the pictures. She asked several questions about our budget and how we could afford such a nice home. She hoped she didn’t offend me. She certainly did not. I love talking about this kind of stuff. I was going to simply email her back and answer her but decided that her questions could lead to a great blog post. A post that might encourage some of you with your finances. Some people who are blessed with earthly possessions feel the need to explain their blessings. Our pastor says that we wouldn’t try to “explain” how we got such an amazing spouse or an amazing child. We’d just say, “Yes, I’m blessed!” So, you will not hear anything about good deals or anything like that. Many of you may not feel it’s any of your business to know the details of our finances. I agree. So you will not get details and numbers and such. I am, however, going to tell you that there is only one explanation for our ability to build and reside in this palace of ours: Living Under God’s Blessing. Allow me to explain. For the last 15 years, Chris and I have tithed from our gross income. For any reader who doesn’t know what that means, it is simply giving the tithe, 10%, of our income to our place of worship, aka, our church. Not only that, but we were also giving to another ministry above our tithe, which we consider an offering. After years of doing so, we were challenged to consider raising our percentage of giving even more. So we did. Our goal is to one day give away more than we keep for our family. It may sound crazy to some of you but we believe we will get there. How cool would that be? Like a million kinds of cool. Yes, I am married to a pastor. However, there are some financial blessings that are afforded pastors by the IRS. So, when you see a pastor who has a fairly nice home, please know that many of these pastors have a significant amount of their retirement equity in that home due to the tax benefits. One other important thing for you to know is that while most Americans spend every dime they make, our family has lived beneath our means for many years. It’s taken a lot of sacrifice. But, as my pastor says, sacrifice is giving up something you love, for something you love more. While we enjoy many earthly pleasures, we enjoy financial peace more. And yes, I am a stay-at-home mom. But, I also have a part-time job. I work for an awesome man who owns an awesome company. I’ve worked for him for over three years. And I do it all from home. I am able to work at odd hours and as long as the work is complete, he’s happy. My boss is gracious and generous. My salary is a nice supplement to our family’s income situation. I firmly believe that the reason we are living under God’s blessing is because we have trusted Him from day one with our finances. Honestly, we’ve never even considered not tithing…even during the Home Depot days when we didn’t have enough money to pay the bills. Malachi 3:8-12 is VERY CLEAR about what God will do when we trust him with what really isn’t ours in the first place. Our new home is a true blessing. We have many nice things in it that have been purchased in full prior to moving in. We also have a couple of empty rooms and many bare walls because we are continuing to live beneath our means. When I walk into our formal dining room that is empty, I just smile. Why? Because I see it as a symbol that we are being true to what God has called our family to…we’re so not keepin’ up with the Joneses. Or Jones’. Or Jones’s. I hate plurals and possessives 🙂 Are you living under God’s blessing? I posted previously about a tithe miracle story we experienced. It’s never too late to start trusting Him. You know that whole “it is in giving that we receive” thing? It works. I will write about how the Beall budget works soon. Stay tuned…

20 thoughts on “How In The World Can You Afford That?”

  1. Cindy, thanks so much for this post! I’ve heard several people in our congregation ask things like, “How can the pastor’s wife afford a designer handbag?” and the like. It is none of our business that’s for sure. I think there’s a spirit of entitlement and jealousy lurking about. Why do so many people think that the “clergy” should live in poverty?? It astounds me.

    What I see when I look at my pastors being well dressed and living in nice homes is that they are obviously good stewards of God’s money and you’re absolutely right about the tithing – He does bless those who are faithful. Scott Williams pretty much summed it up well in his post today. I say, the grass might be greener on the other side, but the neighbours still have to mow the lawn, don’t they? 🙂

  2. Great answer to an awkward question. Not sure I would have handled it so gracefully.

    I have had a few friends (who are really friends) comment that Terry and I don’t live like a pastor and teacher. And no, we don’t really. But Terry has always been very financially wise. It doesn’t hurt that I went back to to work either!!

  3. God loves blessing His children, and rewarding obedience delights Him. Yay for you for “getting” how important it is to honor His requirements for tithes (and offerings). Hopefully your story will minister to others- it definitely spoke to me:-)

    Oh, and the house is beautiful!

  4. This is great. I always like hearing stories of financial blessings that come in response to tithing and living below one’s means (soooo counter-culture!) This is a very important topic to me in my own life. Excited to read how the Bealls do it.

    Along with being a numbers geek, I am also a word nerd…that said, it’s “Joneses”…plural, not possessive. 😉 hee hee.

  5. Hey, I plan on being there one day! Right now my hubby and I are living in a house that is less than 800 square feet and LOVING IT. We are living below our means now, tithing and giving as much as possible. I know that I know that I know that God has blessed us and will continue to bless us as we continue to be good stewards of what He’s given us. So we don’t worry (too much… or try not to!). And I suppose if I never get my dream home I will still have JOY.

  6. I appreciate what you have to say, Cindy. I’ve experienced the other side of the coin, and I give the same explanation you gave. Our family lives on the TWO incomes my husband earns: one as a medical administrator and one as a “Creative” at the Apple Store. We’ve always tithed on the gross amount earned.

    I’ve been asked why my husband works two jobs, why we don’t take big family vacations, why I buy our clothes at consignment and thrift stores and our food from a co-op, why we drive 8-year-old vehicles, and so on. My answer is the same as yours: we live beneath our means, never buy on credit, tithe faithfully and give amounts equal to our tithe to two specific ministries (30% of our gross income, total). We also have four children and another on the way. Two of our children have disabilities, requiring medical and therapeutic treatments that are often not covered by our (WONDERFUL, PRAISE-GOD-FOR-IT!) insurance.

    You asked, “Are you living under God’s blessing?” My answer: ABSOLUTELY! We live modestly, give generously and want for nothing. In God’s economy, there’s never been a recession!

  7. Cindy – Thanks for your post, their is something so be said about the “guilt” you feel when your spouse works for church and you have nice things. I love dressing my kids “cute”, I never had a mom that did that for me. Most of their clothes are hand-me-downs or 75% clearance. It’s how you put it together.
    I also received a hefty gift certificate to Coach from one of my daycare parents. It really bothered me for a long time to carry that to church.
    Most of our furniture is used and we are very frugal as well. Enjoy your home, I can tell from previous posts it is not something that you take for granted. But a gift.

  8. Man I thought you would have taken a beating over the home pics but it wasn’t bad at all. Most people react and comment without any knowledge on the subject. I am glad to see you have some wise readers. Beautiful home

  9. Cindy- you were very kind in your response:) It is tough when we feel we have to explain how we live. Brandon and I live beneath our means. We are sacrificing today, so that we can have more for tomorrow (for our children and when we hopefully retire). I think it’s a good tension to question your motives. We can all slip into materialism if we are not careful. For those that know you, we have seen the sacrifice and are so happy that you earned this reward. Enjoy every inch of that house- you deserve it:)

  10. Fabulous post! It is so hard to do this when it seems like everyone around you had everything. We have a similar story. My hubby and I made great salaries when we got out of school (we are both accountants) but still couldn’t “make ends meet.” So we re-evaluated what we were doing and got on a plan. We did a program called Conquering Debt God’s way. We started tithing and we always have had money at the end of the month. One time our A/C needed to be serviced and at the same time we got a random refund from our escrow account. That is God for you! This has allowed me to take a job that I love even though it pays much less than what I was making and it has allowed my husband to quit his job and pursue his dream of becoming a Real Estate Agent. I really needed this post though, to help me refocus a little!

  11. Cindy,
    Your response was right on target. You handled it with the grace and style that I have come to expect and love about your blog. I am excited with you about your new blessing of this beautiful home.

  12. I love how you wrote this.

    As steward myself, I smile when people ask me. How do you do it??
    Just this last week my husband and I just tithe our rent. God had really been turning our hearts in doing this.

    The very next day as that check went in. My husband’s job didn’t pay him and still hasn’t. BUT every one of our bills and a vacation we planned last weekend.. totally paid.

    I know and I believe because of our obedience our rent that’s due at the end of the week will be paid too. Because I SERVE A GENEROUS GOD..

    You have a beautiful home..

  13. Thank you! Thank you for you grace and honesty! Can I throw some more questions out there? I love your blog, and felt maybe, I hoped:) that since you are more of a blog ministry, that it would’nt offend you if I asked personal questions!! Are you supposed to tithe on the gross income or what you bring home? We tithe on our bring home. Also, do you think that you have to tithe to your home church or missions or which one first?? It seems, at least in our church, not much is said about tithing, unless we have visitors or something…then it seems like the pastor is always talking about giving the church our money and scaring people off! I can’t wait to see the post about the buget, I need help in that area too!! Thanks again! I wonder if there is a christian suzie ormond out there somewhere?

  14. Cindy, that was cool taking on a rough subject like that. Heather and I have been tremendously blessed as well and it is cool how God blesses you in ways that you did not expect. We have a 2 and 5 year old and I do not think I have bought more than $50 dollars worth of clothing for each of them. I literally receive a bag of NICE hand-me-downs every other week. It even keeps me going to goodwill because I can’t use it all or give it away!

    By the way, love the back porch!

  15. Hey if it were up to me…Teachers and Pastors would be millionaires! These people deserve all God wants to give them and more in my opinion. What a sacrifice these people make for us! Girl! I am so excited for what God has given you…enjoy it and use it to bless the socks off of others! Tear that Kitchen up and have a party! 🙂

  16. Dearest Cindy:
    Trey and I are rejoicing with you and praising GOD for His goodness and faithfulness to you and yours and the beautiful gift of your beautiful new home.
    We pray that your home is a place of peace and repose for all who enter. May JESUS always rule and reign there and in your hearts each and every day. He indeed is a GOD Who does “exceeding abundantly” above all we have asked or even thought!
    Much love and blessings in Him,

  17. Cindy!!! Wonderful! You have a testimony honey! You have inspired me to make my home beautiful not just with paint but with God’s love! I have a similar testimony, but that would take a long time to tell. At any rate. My home was built in 1928. We just bought it last fall. I am letting God show me how to fill each room with decoration and the purpose for each. Giving to God is truly the way to live this life He has given us.

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