Thursday, October 7, 2010

You Only Live Once

I'm struggling finding the proper balance right now.

Last November, I test drove a Ford Mustang GT.  Loved it.  Absolutely loved it.  Decided I had to have one.  But....

I couldn't come up with a good reason to buy it.  Could I afford the payments.  Yep.  But this thing fell squarely into the category of "want" and not "need."  I couldn't justify buying it.  So...

I gave myself a reason.  I was roughly 30 lbs overweight.  I decided: if I lose 30 lbs, I'll buy me the car.

Well, I lost 30 lbs.  Actually, I've lost 40.  Changing how I eat and exercising on a regular basis has slimmed me down tremendously, but I still haven't bought the car.

I did buy a house.  We had some money we inherited, and we used it as an investment and bought a rental property.  Because we were able to put so much down, we acually have an income of $300 per month more than the expenses on this property.  Could I afford to buy the car?  Yep. 

Still haven't.

I keep thinking about the want/need aspect of the purchase.  I simply don't need it.  I've got a family to take care of.  I need to think about my kids' future.  I need to think about my future and when I retire.

But I also know you only live once.  I really don't want to wait until I'm in my 60's before buying my first sports car.  I would like to enjoy it now.  Plus, who knows what might happen five to ten years from now.  I absolutely refuse to drive a Mustang (or Corvette, or Camaro, etc.) that isn't a stick shift.  It just ain't right.  What if my knees give out and I am unable to drive such a vehicle.  You only live once.

But what is the proper balance?  Especially as a person of faith like myself?  I mean, complicating the issue is my realization of those who are in need throughout the world, including in my backyard.  Not only could the money I spend be used to help my family and kids, but I could use it to help in my community and in my church. 

Furthermore, I tithe to the church.  If I didn't, I could buy the car with no problems, but the tithe is non-negotiable.  That money belongs to God.  Not me.

But you only live once. 

What is the proper balance between living and enjoying our time on earth and our responsibility to care for others?  What is the proper balance between living and enjoying the now and also preparing for the future?

I know that there are many variables that are included in this process.  If I had more income, it would be a moot point.  I could affore whatever.  If I had less income, it would be a moot point because I couldn't afford it.  So, I am stuck in between.

But you only live once.

I am very happy with my spot in life.  I really do fill fulfilled by what I do and where I do it.  God made me to be a pastor.  God made me to be a country preacher.  God made me with the desire to help others and make a difference in their lives.  I'm satisfied with this.

But I want a damn sports car!

More than likely, I'll continue to live without it.  I'll be jealous of those I see driving them around.  Eventually, I'll get one.  But I'm still stuck in between right now. 

I just wish God would put a damper on the desire for a little while.

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