Straining Toward the Goal

There is an unusual way to budget that, frankly, ought to be the norm. It’s called PYF (pay yourself first). At first it sounds selfish, right? But the idea is actually the opposite of splurging on yourself. Instead, you budget in a way that pays your retirement, investing, and giving accounts before you even pay for necessities like mortgages, utilities, and food. Those actually come second in the budget. Then follow all the other essentials. Only after investments and necessities are covered should you budget for entertainment (subscriptions, eating out, etc.).

In this way, you plan for the future and don’t have to be wondering how to pay medical and electric bills in your 70s. But the majority of people don’t budget this way. I mention budgets because it’s really about goal setting. Most Christians don’t budget their time and resources with a pay-yourself-first attitude. In other words, we don’t invest in our salvation. Instead we “splurge” on other things that have nothing to do with our salvation.

Paul told the Philippian church, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14 ESV). Does this sound like someone who is wrapped up in himself or more like someone who is laser focused on “budgeting” his time and resources for the grand prize of salvation? Clearly it’s the latter. We too should be disciplined enough to strain toward the goal of salvation. One day it will knock on our door. We shouldn’t be surprised when it happens.