Financial Peace is not Oxymoronic

Seriously funny. An open secret. Jumbo shrimp. There are lots of oxymoronic statements in the English language, things that shouldn’t go together but do. Tonight at our Parish we add one more to the list: Financial Peace, as for so many people, their finances are anything but peaceful.

In a Northwestern Mutual study completed this year, money was the primary stress people cited in their lives, double that of the distant second source of stress, their relationships. Speaking of relationships, marital couples in multiple surveys list money as the number one topic of their fights and finances are the second leading cause of divorce, second only to infidelity. So I’d take even odds that “financial peace” sounds like an exact estimate of something that’s not our only choice. See what I did there with a few more oxymorons??

Because of the destruction one man saw happening in his own life stemming from poor handling of personal finances (and how common that stress is in many marriages), he decided it was time somebody did something about it. Dave Ramsey went from being in bankruptcy in a troubled marriage and is now a multi-millionaire who has built a huge company that has one purpose: bring financial peace to more and more households. Heard five times a week in one of the highest rated radio programs in the nation and in many best selling books, Ramsey shares a simple but very effective process of joining together those seemingly opposite terms: finances and peace.

In addition to his broadcasts and publications, Ramsey developed a video curriculum designed to be used in a workshop format which includes discussion among the participants. “Financial Peace University’ is a 9-week program that has been proven to do what the title claims. An Orthodox parish held the program a few years ago and in an anonymous poll taken at the end of the course, almost $300,000 dollars of debt had been paid off by the participants!

 So if any of this sounds like it would be helpful to you, I encourage you to come to the program which began tonight, whether or not you’re already signed up. The 15 families already committed would be happy to add you to our ranks. There are rumors of really tasty snacks, if you need any more encouragement.

I’ve given this program the place of our normally scheduled Wednesday Night Bible Study for one reason: we all need more peace in our lives, and Dave Ramsey personally believes that all peace comes from Jesus. It’s still a little shocking every time I hear him on the radio hearing him cap each hour of the program by saying, “Remember, there’s ultimately only one way to financial peace, and that’s to walk daily with the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus.” He recognizes the fact that we don’t have isolated pockets of activity in our lives. We live one life. Our work affects our home life, family relationships affect our performance in school and work, and our finances affect our faith. This is not a new concept. Jesus Himself said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21 That’s why we talk about money as often as we do in Church. Although the frequency is rarely as much as people think it is (“ALL they ever talk about at church is money!”) it was the number one topic of Jesus’ teaching. Half of Jesus’ parables dealt with money and possessions. Of course He’s right: our finances often dictate the direction of our faith. So if the link is really that strong, then it’s really important to get our finances where they need to be. It’s my unbiased opinion that when we get together tonight, I hope you won’t be found missing and that you’ll be here for the program which was taped live, and join in the sweet sorrow of getting our financial houses in order. Ya, I did it again. Well, to compensate for being so oxymoronic, I’ll bring a package of sweet tarts tonight for the person who has the right number of oxymorons in this blog post, not counting the one that will count the most: financial peace.