Pro 24:27 “First plant your fields; then build your barn.” from The Message translation
Many times when I read Proverbs, the meaning does not immediately jump up and scream out. When I first read this one, I thought, “OooooKaaay.”
Fortunately I have some great commentaries which helped me out. Wisdom is doing things in the right order. It would be foolish to build a barn before planting your fields because you probably wouldn’t get your fields planted and therefore would not have any crops to harvest or need for a barn to store them in.
The problems many of us have with our finances is that we attempt to do a lot of good things simultaneously and either never get them done or else get them done in the wrong order.
I adhere to Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps because they give us the power of focusing on one thing at a time while doing those things in the right order. For those of you who are not familiar with them, here they are:
- $1,000 “Baby” Emergency Fund
- Get all debt other than your house paid off.
- Fully Funded Emergency Fund
- Invest for Retirement
- Invest for Children’s College.
- Pay off House Early.
- Build Wealth and be Very Generous.
There is a reason for doing these steps in the order they are listed. For example, if you start on getting out of debt (step 2) before you build that baby emergency fund (step 1), every unexpected event will become an emergency and your only way of handling it will be to pull out the credit card and effectively create debt while trying to pay off debt.
If you pay off your house (step 6) before building a fully funded emergency fund (step 3), and then lose your job, you will need liquid assets to buy groceries and pay your utility bill. Your paid for house wouldn’t do that, therefore step 3 comes before step 6.
I think you get the point. There is a logical reason for the order of each of these steps. The writer of Proverbs may not have known the Baby Steps as we know them today, but he understood the concept of doing things in the right order. I hope we can learn that same lesson.