The Prosperous Shall Be Diligent
Today’s Post is by a guest blogger Melissa who will discuss how though diligence she became prosperous, join me and welcoming her. Melissa is the Founder and CEO of Melissa the Coach, Financial Coaching. She is a wife, mom, dog rescuer, sports junkie and blogger. Her passion is helping others learn that money no longer has to be the thing that stands in the way of pursuing a dream. Visit www.melissathecoach.com for more information. Also she can be found on Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
For years I have always heard the words, “the diligent prosper”. To be diligent is to stay focused, to stay on task, to keep course. When we do that, we “prosper” in whatever task we were trying to accomplish. Sounds easy, right?
Well, maybe being diligent to be prosperous is easier than remaining diligent once we prosper.
4Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely,
But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully. (New American Standard Bible)
Verse 4 is more about “the diligent prosper” – stay focused on the task at hand and you will prosper. Verse 5, specifically the second part of that, is interesting in context –
“he who sleeps in the harvest acts shamefully”
Does that mean that once I become prosperous because I was diligent that it’s not OK to rest?
I think so. Because, once we lose focus, we run the risk of losing everything you have been so diligent to achieve. We have to be careful not to lose the “harvest” because we stopped paying attention. We’ve worked too hard to be prosperous to lose it all by not paying attention.
In December of 2009, I had had enough. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired about one particular area of my life – the finances. I found myself putting Christmas on credit – 4 different credit cards that were almost maxed out – and making sure “Santa” happened for our boys. I had fallen into the dark hole of being more concerned with the commercialization of Christmas than the true meaning behind it. A meaning that, as a born and raised Catholic, I knew in my heart and soul was about JESUS, not Santa.
At that time, I was a stay at home mom and my husband worked for a large corporation in our area. Additionally, he was retired from the USMC so we essentially had two incomes. Years of bad habits with money finally caught up to us and we were living paycheck to paycheck, we had no money in savings and no plan for our financial future. Additionally, we discovered that we had $43,544 of consumer debt (not including the mortgage).
That all changed when we started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course on January 1, 2010. We followed the program, created a working budget and put nose to the grindstone to pay off our debt. We followed the program (diligent) and became debt free (prosperous) in just under four years.
So, there we were, with no payments other than the mortgage, the skill set of creating and following a budget, some savings and a plan for the future. Did we “sleep in our harvest”?
A little bit – for three months – October, November and December. Quite possibly the worst time of the year to not be paying 100% attention to the finances. But, for the first time in our adult lives, we had money to spend without putting anything on credit cards and so we spent it.
Old habits die hard.
What happened when we weren’t paying attention? Fortunately for us, nothing we couldn’t recover from EXCEPT having to get back into the new habits we had formed. Although we still did the budget during those months, we weren’t as diligent as we should have been about following it and that set us back a bit from our goals. So, we didn’t make extra mortgage payments or put more money in savings because we weren’t paying as much attention.
Whenever I share our story, I always tell people that it is harder to STAY debt free than it was to become debt free in the process. Having spent almost four years getting out of debt and just celebrating two years of staying debt free, I know this to be true.
Why is it harder? I’m not really sure. We still have financial goals we want to meet. We still have income that needs to be managed appropriately and we being debt free does not protect us from emergencies and difficult financial decisions (i.e. the battle of wants and needs).
Maybe it’s because we are still not used to this “new normal” of our financial situation. Having debt and no savings is NOT an ideal financial lifestyle, of course, but it was normal, comfortable.
Being debt free takes some getting used to even though it’s a good thing.
I do know this for sure – I don’t want to lose this new financial lifestyle. I’ve seen too many times where ONE incident can wipe out savings or throw a BIG “monkey wrench” into the long-term plan.
Yes, we were diligent in the process to become debt free and we were prosperous in meeting that goal. But, it’s just as important, now that we are prosperous to be diligent and not “sleep in the harvest”.
The diligent prosper AND the prosperous must remain diligent.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.