family fortune – part six – the right investments
Have you ever crammed for a test? I did that last week. I knew about it since January and I could have and should have been studying for it for about three weeks, but I said, “I’ll do that later.” The week of the test I stayed late at work on Monday and had soccer practice on Tuesday. After we got the kids to bed Bre and I needed some quality time, so I put off the studying again. Then on Wednesday I had youth group and men’s group. So I just stayed up late on Thursday and read all of the material. It worked out pretty well for me. I got an A on the test. I really shouldn’t have, but I did. See, you can cram for a test and be successful, at least as far as your grade is concerned. Doesn’t mean you took the best course of action for content mastery and retention of information, but you can cram and still ace a test.
But there are things in life for which you cannot cram successfully. There are things for which you cannot simply pull an all-nighter.
Have you ever tried to cram for a tan? Did you ever look in the mirror and say, I’m looking pretty pale and I’d like to have a tan by the time we have that company pool party. I’ll do that later. So you put it off. And you put it off. Then months go by and you look at the calendar and realize that the company pool party is this weekend. Well, I have a few days, I’ll just work on my tan the day before. I’ll make up for my neglect by cramming. I should have been spending some time in the sun every day over the course of time, but since I put it off, I’ll make up for it by spending all day tanning the day before. You could even wait until the sun goes down and pull an all-nighter in the tanning bed. Does that work? No, you go from vampire status to blistery lobster status. You can’t cram for that.
Imagine the farmer who says “harvest?” I got months before the harvest. I can always wait to plow and plant and water. Then a month or two or three goes by. I still have plenty of time. The day before the harvest comes he says, well, since I didn’t plow, or sow, or water, it’s time to cram. Big day tomorrow, want to reap big, so we are going to go all out tonight, plowing, sowing seeds, and we are going to water and water and water. If you cram the night before the harvest, how much will you reap? You can’t cram for the harvest.
What about getting fit? I know someone who is working toward qualifying for the police department. In order to do so he has to be able to run 1.5 miles in 14 minutes. What if he decided not to train over the course of time and he put it off and put it off until the day before his test. Then he decided to cram. He said, I should have been doing 1.5 miles every day for the past couple of months and working to get my time lower and lower, but since I didn’t, I’ll just pull an all-nighter and run all night. I’ll make up for it by cramming. How well will he do on his fitness test the next day? Not well; you can’t cram for fitness; it is achieved by investing in smaller doses regularly.
What about cramming for retirement savings? When you’re 20, you think I have years to save up for retirement. I won’t be retiring for another 45 years. I have 45 years to save for that. Years and years go by and you’re 45. I still have another 20 years to save for that. I know the money that I could have put aside 25 years ago would be earning interest and my money would be making me money, but I’ll wait, so I put it off. Next thing I know I’m 60 and retirement is around the corner. Let’s say that I’m making 70K by the time I’m 60 and I save 10% of that for retirement. Every year I’m saving 7K. In five years, I’ll have 35K (plus whatever interest it earned). That would be enough to live on for half a year based on the 70K salary. Retirement is clearly not something for which we can cram.
You may be able to cram for a test in school, but there are a lot of things in life for which you just cannot cram.
One of those things is relationships, and that obviously includes our family. There is no way that we could make a fortune OF our families, enriching our lives with the wealth of a blessed or fortunate family by cramming at the last minute.
In week one, we discussed the marriage relationship, which lies at the core of a fortunate family. We discussed the four C’s of covenant, commitment, chemistry, and cohesion.
Consider a marriage in which a husband neglects his covenantal commitment, putting it off. I’ll keep those vows later. Then after 15 or 20 years of marriage, he says, well, I guess I put this off for long enough, time to cram. I’d better start to:
love my wife as Christ loves his church
be faithfully committed to her and her alone as long as I live
be sensitive to her needs
be understanding of her concerns
be supportive of her decisions
be open and honest with her at all times
be her constant companion and partner through all of our life, no matter the circumstances
nourish and cherish her
be a model to our children of what a godly husband and father should be
be the spiritual leader of our home
After 15 or 20 years of neglecting those vows, can he now cram them in and expect his bride to have the glow of a golden tan? Can he now cram them in and expect to reap the harvest of a fortunate family?
Just consider one of those – to be open and honest with her at all times. If he has neglected openness and honesty for years and has perhaps lied to her and been closed off, do you think that cramming with several open and honest statements will reverse the adverse effects of dishonesty? Do you think that by cramming he can flip a switch to overcome the trust issues that he may have created in his wife after years of putting off his commitment? And that’s just one component of his commitment. You’re smart enough to think through to conclusion all of the issues a marriage will face if one or both spouses neglect to honor the covenantal commitments they made.
Or what if a wife neglects chemistry for the first ten years of her marriage and then tries to cram chemistry? She has been committed in the sense that she’s still with him, but her heart hasn’t been in it. Can you really cram chemistry? It will take a lot more work to breathe life into that relationship after years of neglect than it would with daily doses over the course of time. Working to spice things up and keep the relationship interesting (not just in the bedroom), is something that is best achieved over the course of time.
NEGLECTING COHESION – ONENESS?
What about trying to cram cohesion? What if a husband has been treating his wife as if she was his opponent for years and years? Can he just pull an all-nighter and cram for oneness? Or will his wife anticipate the opposition that she has grown accustomed to? Won’t it take a while for her to adjust before they can truly operate as a team?
WHAT ABOUT CRAMMING FOR FAMILY VALUES?
If a family has been operating without a clear set of values for years and years and all of a sudden a husband/father says that’s not going to work because we have values, how will that work out?
Imagine all of the decisions that could have been made so much easier if that family had clarified and solidified a set of family values. Imagine the confusion that family will face as they look back and assess the course of their family life and wonder why certain things were done that seem to conflict with the family’s values or why certain things were neglected that are in line with the family’s values.
If a family puts this off and puts this off and waits until ten years into a marriage or until the children are no longer in their formative years, what good is that value system? Like the farmer who crams his plowing and sowing and watering will not reap at the harvest and will have blown the opportunity, so also, the family who waits to establish values will have missed out on a beautiful opportunity. But the farmer who plants his seed in season at the proper time (early) will allow sufficient time for those seeds to take root and he will reap a harvest when the time comes. Similarly, the family who plants the seeds of values in their children at an early age will allow sufficient time for those seeds to take root and they will reap a harvest.
Train a child in the way he ought to go and when he is older he will not depart from it.
For example, if a family values holiness and spiritual growth and yet for years they don’t go to church, read the scriptures and pray at home, don’t develop healthy relationships within the body of Christ, but they try to cram, think about the years they missed out on the blessings of having children grounded with a biblical worldview. Think about the years they missed out on having a family of godly people who could rally around them in difficult times, hold them accountable, love them.
Developing that biblical worldview and cultivating those relationships is not something that can be crammed with an all-nighter. Those are things that take time. It is important for a family to establish those values early; they can’t be crammed. It is important for them to live those values out over time; it can’t be crammed. It is important to get plugged in to a church home and making those investments at home on a regular basis.
We discussed family structure – that God’s ideal for Christians is that they submit to those in authority and that Christians in positions of authority should be servant leaders. Likewise, those aren’t things that can be crammed. They can’t be put off.
A lot of the things we have discussed regarding family have been very practical matters that aren’t necessarily taught explicitly in the Bible, but when it comes to family structure, we have a clear teaching that wives should submit to their husbands and that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. We have clear teaching that children should obey their parents and fathers shouldn’t exasperate their children.
For us to put this off and say, not now, I’ll do that later, we are delaying obedience and as some have put it, delayed obedience is disobedience.
God’s design for the family as expressed in the Bible is not only for his glory, but it is for our good. We would do well walk accordingly. We will be blessed for it with a fortunate family.
Recall the man who tries to cram for retirement; he neglects to make regular deposits into his 401K or ROTH IRA. He will not have much to live off of when he hits 65, because there isn’t much in the account to begin with and he didn’t give his money time to make money. It takes time to receive a return on the investment. He didn’t invest wisely.
So also, those who neglect to make daily love deposits into the love bank of their family members will find that there isn’t much in the account and they can cram and go all out one day, love deposit after love deposit, but much like that 60 year old who finally decided to invest, they will wish they had done so sooner. It will take time for that account to fill up. It will take time to see return on the investment.
And every deposit counts. While we all say “I love you” in different ways and different things may say “I love you” more effectively than others, love is love, just as $5 is $5 and it all adds up.
But the wealthiest families – the ones with the fullest love banks are those who recognize each other’s love language and learn to speak it fluently.
DON’T BE DISCOURAGED
But don’t be discouraged. If this is hitting home for you because you feel like you have been putting any of this off, don’t be discouraged and just give up. Don’t throw in the towel and say it’s too late. It’s not too late. Start now. If you have neglected, though, it may just take more work.
Those who not only make A’s but master the content are not those who cram, but who study a little bit every night.
Those with the best golden tans (gene’s and nationality aside) are those who get just the right dose of golden sunlight on a regular basis over time.
The farmer who reaps at the harvest is the one who plants in planting season and waters regularly. He doesn’t delay.
The man who is set for retirement is not the one who crams at age 60, but the one who starts right out of college setting aside some from every paycheck, making weekly or biweekly deposits.
And the family of fortune, the wealthiest family, the family that is blessed beyond belief is the family who renews their commitments regularly, cultivates chemistry and cohesion regularly, establishes family values early and lives out those values on a daily basis, and who make daily deposits into one another’s love banks. The wealthiest families make the right investments, regular daily deposits over the course of time.
Today Apple stock is $519/share. Around 1998-2002, it was only $7. TradeMonster.com says if you bought $228,000 of Apple stock in 2002 – price of the typical U.S. home then – you’d have nearly $10 million today vs. flat home prices!
Talk about a wise investment that would have been. We can look back on that now and say in 2014 that Apple is valuable and if only we had invested back then. Could’ve should’ve would’ve but didn’t. Let’s realize how valuable our families are and let’s not get ten years down the line and kick ourselves for not investing now. Our families are the greatest possible investment we could make.