On Sunday, we went to the bank and paid off our last outstanding vehicle loan. We were able to do it earlier than expected because we finally sold our Saturn Vue, a vehicle that we probably just should have fixed when it broke instead of buying the Mazda 3 hatchback that we just paid off. Live and learn.
We had been trying to sell the Vue, off and on, ever since buying its replacement (the Mazda) a year ago, but until recently we never had any serious interest. And now I’m going to share why I think that was the case.
I don’t think we ever had the Vue overpriced. I ran all of my numbers through car sites like Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book and consistently listed it for less than what it was worth.
I don’t think the Vue was in too poor of shape to be fixed. For the price, anyone who was in the market for a dependable family vehicle could have purchased it and taken it to the mechanic for a thorough tune-up and still made out like a bandit.
I think the reason that it didn’t sell until recently is because God wanted to teach my wife and I something about priorities.
My wife and I have always given to the church when it worked out with our budget. Outsiders might even say that we were giving a good amount to the church. But the truth was that we were building up a Tithe Debt. The Bible encourages people to give regularly and happily. There are some people who say you should give ten percent, others who say differently, but the percentage is of secondary importance. Whatever amount you have decided to give, that is the amount that you should give. That’s the deal. And my wife and I weren’t living up to our end of the deal.
Ever since we got married, we kept track on our budget of the amount that we should be giving to the church. That number was based on ten percent of our gross earnings (before taxes are taken out). And for the life of our budget, we’ve seen that number grow and grow. We were giving consistently, but never to the degree that we had agreed we would. We simply gave what we thought we could afford after the other bills were paid.
But that changed when our pastor did a 12-step sermon series on reclaiming new territory in our lives. The series was set up like a 12-step program and followed Israel’s progress in conquering the promised land under Joshua’s leadership. Our pastor was talking as much about giving to the church as he was talking about getting out of unhealthy addictions to alcohol or whatever. My wife and I were convicted that we had been waiting on giving what we should until we felt that we could afford it. The truth was that we couldn’t afford to not give.
And so, for the last few months, we’ve cut a check to the church first, before any of the other bills get paid. We’ve tried to make smarter buying decisions. And we have a plan to pay off the Tithe Debt that we’ve accumulated. Part of that plan was to reallocate the funds that were paying for our vehicle loan. And now that loan is paid off.
Do I think that the timing between my household getting our financial hearts in order and being able to pay off one of our loans is a coincidence? Well, its possible. But I believe that God can work through coincidence as well as anything else, and the real point isn’t whether we sold our Vue when we did or not. The real point was that we were willing to put our money where it should have been all along.