“We don’t believe that there is a line anywhere in Scripture that says how much you should spend. The Bible’s not the lifestyle police, and it’s not clear from reading the Bible that a certain kind of car, house, or anything else is inherently sinful.”
We often are tempted to believe that money brings happiness and freedom. However, as John Cortines and fellow Harvard business student Greg interviewed families who were making a lot of money, but putting limits on their spending, they found those families had something in common.
“These generous, happy, and free families that we found out in the world had become self-prescriptive.”
John says that these families learned to set limits on their spending.
“I can think of one businessman making twenty million per year, but all he lives on with his family is one hundred and forty thousand dollars per year and his family has so much joy.”
For many people, that amount of money is a fortune. But for this man and his family, they were living well below their means.
“That’s a nice upper middle class lifestyle, and even if my business is making millions and millions and millions. I’m not going to go beyond it.”
This family has instead focused their wealth on serving others.
“They have done so much work to spread the gospel and the hope of Christ around the world with all of the money they’ve given away.”
Greg and John both implemented this “living with limits” mentality in their lives; so far, it’s been a success.
“We ended up saying that no matter what happens in our careers, we won’t spend more than one hundred thousand dollars per year. That’s actually double the median family income in America. So it’s a really nice life, it’s not about imposing hardship or poverty, but the point is Scripture says that wealth is dangerous to the human heart. I know how tempting it is to trust in silver and gold.”
John made a vowed to view prosperity from God’s perspective.
“We’re not going to ramp up our lifestyle. If God prospers our careers, that’s to increase our standard of giving rather than our standard of living.”
John Cortines is a graduate of Harvard Business school and the co-author of God and Money. He now works for Generous Giving in Chattanooga, Tennessee. John is married to his wife Megan and together they have a growing family that includes Jack and Anna.
Key Scripture: 1 Chronicles 29:14
Featured Songs: Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) – Chris Tomlin; Higher – Unspoken; The Proof of Your Love – King & Country