the pastoral family and money (part1)

>> May 14, 2010

living the high life... (or not!)

My PH likes to spoil me. 

It's one of the (many) reasons I love him so much. That, and the fact that he's truly a great preacher - so I don't have to listen to boring sermons every weekend just because I'm married to the pastor and can't go anywhere else!
And this week was a big one in our family. On Sunday we celebrated my very first Mother's Day. Yesterday was our 7th wedding anniversary. Two very good occasions for spoiling, if I say so myself! 

And like the wonderful and generous man he is, he got me an iPad. Not ridiculously bank-breaking extravagant, but definitely a nice gift. Something I'd been drooling over for a while now, but didn't think we could afford - so I hadn't bothered to ask.

The thing is, I'd really like to show off my fabulous new gadget - but I'm not sure I should. You know how it goes...

People start to wonder how the pastor will wisely manage the church's money if it looks like his family is too well off. Nobody wants to trust a man who's wife appears spendthrift. 

You can drive a brand new Honda and nobody will blink. But if you decide to save a lot of money and pay cash for an $8,000 BMW - the congregation will think you're high-maintenance. (And yes, we drive Hondas - but we buy them used!)

Maybe in some churches, money isn't an issue. But the majority of pastoral families I know tend to be on the lower end of broke. Ministry just isn't a career for making money. And that's fine with me. I'm the queen of bargain shopping. I love finding an outfit on the $14.99 clearance rack at TJ Maxx that looks like it cost a lot more.

So when my hunny takes our unexpected tax return and uses it to make me happy, I don't feel guilty. I do, however, feel obligated somehow to let people know that it wasn't a wasteful purchase. Because I know that plenty of members gauge their trust in God's church by their observation of God's ministers. But honestly, it gets exhausting to explain over and over again.

I'm thinking maybe I'll just leave it home and delight over it in private. 
How about you? How do you handle inquiries or observations from your members about money? 

Next Friday: "the pastoral family and money (part2) - getting out of debt"

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Erika May 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

I definitely think about money and perceived spending. I do find myself apologizing for our house at times. However, I do work and no one knows how much money I make ;). Bonus.

Great post.

Penny May 15, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

Wow! Thank goodness I'm not alone here! My husband too LOVES to spoil me and he is a GREAT ebay-er! He loves to buy me AWESOME jewelry and silver off of ebay. For Christmas he gave me simple & elegant antique Tiffany's watch. It's just a simple black band - but it does say "Tiffany & Co" on the face. When asked by church members what John gave me I kind of didn't want to share - for the very same fears as what you have listed. In fact, I have shared with my hubby that much of what he has given me must remain private because I would never want the church to think ill of him! And somehow I don't think they really understand that he watches ebay for months for that perfect deal!

ps- I too shop at TJ Maxx! And have ever since I met my PH! I love it!

Anonymous,  May 17, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

I rarely feel that I need to apologize for having something nice....I just say that we are blessed. I'm not working outside the home right now and we're on one car. If anything, I am wondering how to stretch dollars so that we can get the things we want!

Anonymous,  May 20, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

I really do not see the need in "hiding" any of God's blessings because it's not really from anything that we've done to get such nice things! it's what God CAN & WANTS to do!! if we don't need it He wouldn't give it, simple as that...God blesses us when we honor Him and we should give glory & praise for all its worth!!

Anonymous,  May 21, 2010 at 7:37 AM  

I don't believe Job ever was embarrassed over his wealth which by the way was given to him by God. Taken away by Satan. Then re-gifted x2 by God.
posted by Nina D

Beth May 21, 2010 at 6:07 PM  

This has been on my mind a lot lately! I often feel the need to justify larger purchases to friends in the church, even if it's unnecessary. I do agree that God blesses us when we honor and obey Him and there's no need to apologize. I just have to repeatedly tell myself that. :)

We just bought our first home and I'd love it if we could get some new living room furniture. As a PW I would like a nice sitting area with newer things so that when we host bible studies, prayer times, etc. it is a welcoming environment without crayon marks and milk spills. It's lose-lose, I think, since some people expect us to have a nice place for them to come to and others will gossip about how the Pastor spends his money. *sigh*

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