1. We wanted to be less dependant on my husband's paycheck
2. It gives us the opportunity to save money toward a future home purchase.
3. We wanted to change our mindsets & start to view money as a tool.
In our five year plan we would like to eventually be able to purchase a somewhat larger home with some acreage. Our goal is still fairly modest. I prefer older homes to new homes, so in my vision I see an old stone or brick farmhouse with hardwood floors and a huge, bright farmhouse kitchen. We would love to have about 5 acres (preferably with a stream or a creek, maybe a pond). In this dream we'd have space for a large garden, fruit trees, a barn in which my husband can tinker on tractors & his motorcycle, room for the boys to run, and I would love to have goats or sheep...just because I love goats & sheep. And, we would love somewhere quiet & away from hustle & bustle of the world.
That's our dream. Whether or not it comes to fruition is yet to be seen.
And, here's where my spiritual & moral dilemna with this whole venture has come into play. We live in a society where we are encouraged & expected to constantly be striving for something bigger, better, MORE. At times I have felt like the oddball because we have lived our entire married life in a home that wouldn't meet most people's standards (and certainly not HGTV's!). I have struggled with contentment and then, in the next moment, struggle with guilt for not being truly grateful for all we have.
We are blessed beyond measure. Even the poor in this country would be considered rich in so many countries around the world. When I read things like this, I am reminded of that truth.
As Christians where are our hearts and minds supposed to be? - set toward the advancement of our earthly treasures or toward the advancement of God's kingdom? Of course I know the answer to that question. But then it raises another question that I still don't know if I have answered...." As a Christian is it OK to strive toward an earthly goal or is that materialism creeping in?"
I really think it's a balance. And, here are some of the thoughts that I have had... (By the way, please note that I do not buy into the prosperity/ health & wealth teaching that seems to be out there in so many circles)
1. God created us in His image. And he is a God of creativity - His greatest creative work being all of Creation. I think we have an inner drive to try new things, to accomplish goals. What we do with that drive can be used to His Glory or our detriment.
2. I mentioned that we wanted to start viewing money as a tool rather than just something we earn. There is the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 in which a master leaves his servants with money to care for in his absence. Two of the servants took the money and used it to earn more and had doubled the number of talents the master gave them by the time he returned. To them the master said, "Well done, good and faithful servant! you have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."
But, the third servant took the one talent he received and buried it until his master's return. The master was displeased with him and said, "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received back with interest."
As with all parables Jesus has a point to make that involves more than just the example & story He uses. Still, I believe it does also speak to the fact that we are to be stewards of the money God has given us. We are to use it and to make the money work for God's kingdom
3. I felt very specifically one Sunday at church (when we were discussing finances from a Biblical perspective) like God was saying to me "Have you been faithful with what you have been given so far?" And, I would answer "yes". My husband and I believe in bringing our full tithe before God. I know tithing can also be a controversial subject - but it is something my husband and I have felt led to do and we have always seen God's provision in our lives. It was tempting to stop tithing during lean times, but we continued and God was always faithful.
Then, I felt like God said, "Would you continue to be faithful with more?" And, again, I answered 'yes'. And, that is the part that I keep thinking about. In what ways could God use us for the advancement of His kingdom if we continue to pursue this real estate venture? Some ideas that have been planted in my heart are
- We could have properties available for missionaries on furlough to use free of charge
- We can expand our circle of people by getting to know tenants & neighbors and speak God's love into their lives.
- We can be free to assist in missions trips/ relief efforts - right now the cost to go is a hindering factor.
- I think of the child in Kenya that we sponsor and how, if someday he were interested in coming to the States, we could continue our sponsorship and support of him as he establishes himself.
- And, I'm sure God has other ways he would call us into service, ways that we can't even comprehend right now.
4. Stepping into real estate investment is a vision my husband has had for many years now. Two things I have learned about my husband is that when he has a vision he WILL find a way to make it happen, and God's hand is in that vision.
So, as I said in my very first landlord post, it's hard for me to move forward when I can't see each and every step and the outcome ahead. But, we know God's hand is in this and this seems to be one of those times He is asking us to step out in faith.