About two years into our marriage, we were refinancing our home. The day of the refinancing, I received a call from the bank saying we need to bring a cashier’s check to the closing. Although I cannot remember the amount now, I know we were not told the amount before that day, and that it was far beyond what we expected…or even had! I had taken the call while at my workplace, back in the days before cell phones (yes, I was alive then). So, from the office phone, with all my co-workers listening in (whether they wanted to or not), I sobbed as I called my husband and told him how much money we needed to bring to the closing that afternoon. He happened to be home grouting tile at the time, and until the day we moved out of that house, there was still a big mark on the floor where my sobbing caused him to mess up the grout.
Several years ago, we came across author Dave Ramsey and decided to give the Seven Baby Steps to Financial Freedom (from the book “The Total Money Makeover”) a try. We worked very hard, stopped using credit cards, stuck to a budget, and started conquering the Baby Steps, including Baby Step #3, which is a fully-funded emergency fund.
Last week, as I opened the door to the basement, the strong smell of oil was unmistakable, and I ran down the stairs to the oil tank. Thankfully, a tiny pinhole of a leak had just begun, and we were able to get the oil company to the house within the hour. The estimate for a new tank and labor was exactly what I expected. This amount was far above the amount we needed for the refinancing three decades ago, but instead of freaking out and sobbing, I was relieved. Relieved that our emergency fund was there for us doing what it was supposed to do, and relieved that we caught the spill early.
Our faith is somewhat akin to an emergency fund, and is expressed in the Parable of the Sower, where a farmer scattered seeds in four areas: a path (where birds ate the seeds), rocky places (where they died as they had no roots), among thorns (which choked the plants), and among good soil (where they grew and produced a great crop). We pour into our “spiritual emergency fund” when we spend time with God, pray, learn more about Him, read His word, spend time praising Him and marveling at His works, and so on. All of this builds our roots – our faith. When we face crises and losses and sorrow and tragedy (which we will), we dip into our spiritual emergency fund, and we — somehow — find there’s enough in there to carry us through the crisis. I know in my case I find that on the other side of each crisis or tragedy, my faith is even deeper. Although these times of testing are never fun, we can give thanks to God as he carries us through the tough times, and for a faith based on solid ground, not sinking sand.
How is your spiritual emergency fund?