Monday, May 23, 2016

How to Avoid Poverty

Proverbs 28:19 - Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.

An investment counselor once gave me these simple rules:
     1. Work hard
     2. Spend less than you earn
     3. Save and/or invest the extra
     4. Don't touch what you save or invest until you REALLY have to

At the time I was just starting out in my career and had modest salary. The idea of setting some aside for savings seemed like an impossible task. And when I did, it sure was easy to come up with things that I THOUGHT I REALLY needed that could evaporate my savings in an instant. Somewhere along the way I did start following his advice. Though I will never be wealthy, I am no longer in poverty. Hard work, thrifty spending, saving the extra and refusing to dip into it for non-essentials turned out to be good advice.

What I find interesting about this advice is that it works in all areas of life, not just financial ones.

Want to lose weight? Work hard. Eat fewer calories than we burn. Turn the excess into muscle. Don't get off our eating plan unless we REALLY have to.

Want to bring more balance to our schedule? Work hard. Plan things out so that we have a little extra time between things. Use that extra time to enjoy our family/dog/scenery/hobbies. Don't let anyone crowd into that extra time unless we REALLY have to.

Want to have more friends? Work hard (yes, friendship is hard work!). Give more attention to others than we demand for ourselves. Let that extra attention fill us with happiness, fulfillment and contentment. Don't let anyone take that sense of happiness away from us unless we REALLY have to (and that is rarely ever the case!).

The opposite is also true. If we waste money, time, energy, relationships, etc on worthless pursuits, we will have to endure plenty of poverty as a result. Poverty is not just financial. Many people have a poverty of time, a poverty of friendships, and a poverty of health, all because they wasted their talents, skills, abilities and energy on things that had no purpose.

One important strategy for having a rich life is to decide what purpose our lives should have and then pursue that purpose with a passion and refuse to let ourselves be distracted by all the junk along the way. We may not ever be rich, or famous, or the super organized, but we can live a blessed life that has meaning and purpose if we put this concepts into practice.

Lord, help us focus on the right things so that we can find meaning and purpose in life. Help us avoid worthless pursuits that lead no where. Amen.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He has written a book about the spirit of offense that prevails in our current society. You can find all of his books at:

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