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FIRST-PERSON: Getting your ‘financial bus’ on track

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)–One summer evening, I was driving towards my small hometown on a quiet stretch of Texas highway. Just ahead of me in the next lane, traveling about 65 miles an hour, was a big yellow school bus. Suddenly, with no warning both tires came off its left rear axle, and one hurtled toward me.

Having no time to swerve or slow down, I ran over the top of it and literally went airborne. When my car landed, all four of my fenders were crunched and my front and back windshields cracked.

Although I was able to pull the car to a safe stop, it took a few minutes to collect my wits, realize I was unharmed, and determine what had happened.

I vividly remember my relief when I saw the bus upright and safely stopped on the shoulder of the highway with all the kids staring back at my car in amazement.

I checked on the bus driver who, like me, was trying to gain back his wits. We both were very grateful for the miraculous protection of everyone.

Soon other drivers stopped to check on us and offer assistance, and it wasn’t long before we were all safely home.

You know, the wheels can come off our financial bus in much the same way.

It seems that — without much warning — sparks are flying, panic sets in, and we are like the frightened bus driver simply trying to find a safe place to stop amidst out-of-control forces that threaten us with disaster. And, like my story, often there are passengers in and around our financial bus who are in jeopardy as well.

If you are the driver of a financial bus that is spiraling out of control, here’s some advice that can help you get back on track when the wheels come off:

1) Drive your bus. Don’t let go of the wheel and hope the bus doesn’t crash while your eyes are tightly shut.

King David gave similar advice to his son Solomon when he was facing a seemingly overwhelming task. “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you …” (1 Chronicles 28:20).

This may mean you need to face your creditors, the family member whom you owe, or the mortgage lender who has contacted you about past due payments.

2) Slow down and regain control. The driver of the bus navigated to a safe stop without flipping. He slowed down and managed what he had to work with.

Proverbs 29:20 says, “Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

When you have financial stress, slow down, stop spending and start planning.

3) Get Help. Because my problems, as well as those of the bus driver, were obvious to others, people arrived quickly and were eager to help.

The body of Christ is designed and equipped to be a practical means of helping each other. “And in the church God has appointed … those able to help others …” (1 Corinthians 12:28).

Seek help from a trusted friend, a godly counselor or one of Crown’s trained volunteer coaches. They are eager to help you get back on track.

4) Pay the price of your mistakes. In a strange twist to the bus story, I experienced a painful penalty. I was issued a ticket and fined by the highway patrol for an unusual traffic violation: “failure to avoid road hazard.”

I felt like the hazard was unavoidable, but I had to pay the price anyway.

“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3).

Many times people try to escape their responsibility when financial mistakes are made. Choose to do the right thing. Avoid quarreling and humbly accept the responsibility to pay the price.

And don’t forget, Crown is here to help you get your bus back on track — with all the wheels on the ground.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and host of Crown’s MoneyLife radio broadcast. Co-founded by Howard Dayton and the late Larry Burkett, Crown Financial Ministries (Crown.org) is an interdenominational ministry with 200 staff and over 10,000 volunteers dedicated to equipping people globally with biblically based financial stewardship tools and resources through radio, film, seminars, small groups and individual coaching.

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  • Chuck Bentley