Newsroom

Never Enough? Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | Mar 20th

What prompted you to write Never Enough?

Karen: Never Enough? was born out of several years defining the “core message” of Ron Blue’s life and ministry as a Christian financial advisor. Ron has counseled thousands of people in the area of financial decision making. In each case, rich or poor, experienced or novice, young or old, people are fundamentally asking, “Am I doing ok?” With this basic question in mind, our desire is to simply communicate the perspectives, principles, and processes that are the hallmarks of biblical financial stewardship – and therefore the hallmarks of contentment, confidence, and financial freedom – in any believer’s life. Never Enough? is Ron’s gift of a straightforward, attainable financial message that will lead people toward greater contentment while deepening their faith in God and strengthening their financial confidence.  

We are excited to be able to articulate this core message of biblical finance in a very readable, practical and even compelling way.

There are so many books about money; what makes Never Enough? stand out?

Karen and Ron: Financial behavior is always driven by a person’s belief system. We wanted to write a book that would be helpful for people to think biblically and act biblically with money, rather than giving them a prescription. We like to say that the book is “principle-driven” not “prescription-driven.” In a sense, Never Enough? is a money book without all the numbers. Never Enough? stands out because it provides ways of understanding money so that financial decisions are integrated with the reality of life’s competing priorities and with the power of biblical financial wisdom.

Never Enough? Is a book that is rooted in biblical principles and wisdom so that the ideas and lessons in it are applicable to anyone at any income level. Because God’s word is timeless and transcendent, so is His word on money! In the book, we hope to offer the confidence and freedom that can come from rooting financial decisions in God’s timeless truths.

As a father and daughter, what was it like writing this book together?

Karen: Depends on who you ask! (Ha!) From my perspective, it was a gift. I have spent years working with my dad on refining this “core message,” so to have the chance to put it into words was profound. Getting to partner with my dad, whose work and message I’ve admired my whole life, was a special opportunity that I will always cherish. I tease and tell people that once we wrote the first chapter (FIVE TIMES!), we figured out our groove and were able to move quickly from there! In all seriousness, though, I think the fact that we took the time to blend our styles and our perspectives hopefully yielded a book that is accessible for men and women, thinkers and feelers, numbers folks and words folks. It should all be in there because we shook all of that stuff up and put it together when we wrote it!

Ron:  To me (Ron) the greatest value was that I have known for a long time that Karen knows how to communicate as a writer and that no one else knew my content as well as she does. To put a younger person’s perspective on the content that I’ve developed over a lifetime has yielded a book that is hopefully the most readable book that I’ve ever written.

Contentment seems to be something that people struggle with regardless of culture, age, socioeconomic status, or background. Why do you think it is so difficult to be content, and why is this trait so important when it comes to money?  

Ron: There is a lot in the Bible about money. Thousands of verses, in fact. We believe that God talked so much about money because He knows that money is tied to our hearts and to what we put our confidence in. I love to tell people that if they show me their checkbook, I can tell them their priorities. With money, you can run but you can’t hide!

Contentment is a pervasive struggle because every human – rich or poor, young or old – is tempted toward the false belief that “more” will equal heart-level security, significance, or happiness. In our culture the struggle is intensified. Every day we are bombarded with advertising for the goods and services that we supposedly “need,” and we are bombarded with advertisements from the financial services world selling “solutions.” All of this input leads to confusion and promotes discontentment. We become worried and concerned. We want to know how we are doing, but don’t know where to go to get the answers to these questions.  Contentment is very elusive in the culture that we live in.

Contentment is important is because the antithesis is discontentment, which is pretty discomforting and debilitating. Advisors and experts can hold out a hope for financial independence, peace of mind, freedom, etc., but contentment is a sense that someone can easily identify. I can know whether I am discontent or content, and I can choose to be content. Contentment is not somewhere “down the road” or “out there,” rather it is a choice that we have. In fact, the author of of Hebrews tied contentment to the unshakable reality of God’s presence when he said, “being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.

The wonderful news about financial contentment is that anyone can be content. We can all be content with what we have, placing our trust in the presence and provision of God as we learn to make wise financial decisions.

What are the practical implications of understanding that “God owns it all”?

Ron and Karen: The use of the term “God owns it all” is a reflection of my total surrender and commitment as it relates to all of the material things of life. The practical implication is that I have surrendered my life to God’s Lordship and care.

We illustrate the implications of believing that God owns it all by talking about an open hand vs. a closed fist. When we hold something with a closed fist, it owns us and we tend toward anxiety, control, fear, and frustration. When we hold the same thing with an open hand (a posture of believing that God owns it all), we are able to experience true freedom. With an open hand, God can put in and take out whatever He wants. We are in a posture of trust, belief, listening, and gratitude.

The other practical implication of understanding that God owns it all is the accompanying realization that every spending decision is a spiritual decision. Believing that God owns it all opens our eyes to the fact that God is interested in and delighted to walk with us in mundane decisions about mortgages, dinners out, debt repayment plans and tax deductions just as He is interested in and delighted to walk with us in our giving decisions.

Believing God owns it all means opening the door to adventure, growth, and even healing in our financial life that is much deeper and more profound than we could have ever imagined.

Why do so many Christians often forget to turn to the Bible when it comes to their finances?

Ron: Perhaps this happens because most people don’t think that the Bible speaks to finances, specifically. With money, people tend to be looking for specific answers to specific questions, and I know from experience that if you don’t make a principle-based decision, you’ve not made a decision that will last a lifetime.

Never Enough? asserts that biblical principles are always right, always relevant, and never going to change. People don’t know that, believe that, or understand that,  so they don’t look to the Bible. When we have bought into the belief that biblical wisdom is fundamental as well as broad, we will to look to biblical principles to make the decisions rather than to specifics. We won’t find specifics in the Bible, but we will find principles to guide a life.

For example, consider marriage. The Bible teaches husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. That’s a principle that people have to work out; it’s not specific.  A corollary regarding finances and the Bible is where Jesus says to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. This principle of being accountable to governing authorities for what we owe them is something that can help to shape our attitude and our perspective as we work out the specifics in our own finances.

Jesus had a lot to say about how to live life. What did he have to say about finances?

Ron and Karen: The most important thing He said about finances is, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” That statement and its implications alone will change your life.  He also said in that same passage, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Jesus talked about money and about material gain, surrender, desire, etc. throughout His ministry. We believe that Jesus’ statement reveals that He wants to be intimately involved in shaping our hearts as we handle our finances.

When we recognize that our financial journey is also part of our faith journey, we begin to approach decisions asking the question, “God, what would you have me to do?” in a particular situation. Once we do that, we are opening our hearts and our finances to God’s work in our lives. We would hope that every financial decision would be a faith based decision – one that is reflective of that person’s dynamic relationship with Jesus and one that reflects, “I believe that this is what God would have me to do with this money.”

We live in a nation of debt. Some good. Some bad. How can Never Enough? help people understand how to live fully without going into unhealthy debt?=

Ron: When a person borrows money for whatever reason, they have obligated future financial resources to the repayment of that debt. Effectively, they have put a mortgage on their future. The bible says, “A wicked man borrows and does not repay,” so believers don’t really have the option of not repaying money that we have borrowed.

So, borrowing money is not a sin, but not repaying it is. Unfortunately, the ease of getting debt today has made it really easy for people to live beyond their means. I (Ron) have counseled enough people that I can confidently say that when people have no debt (including mortgage debt), they have greater peace of mind, contentment, and freedom.

Never Enough? reveals the reality of the cost of borrowing money. There is, without question, not only a monetary cost but a psychological and even a relationship cost to borrowing money.

Also, Never Enough? teaches a simple diagram that helps people to identify the reality of their debt situation and envision a path forward toward debt elimination. By simplifying the principles and processes related to debt, we hope that we bring clarity to what can be an overwhelming struggle.

What do you hope readers take from this book, and what should be their next step after reading it?

Ron and Karen: We hope they take from the book that God’s word speaks with eternal wisdom when it comes to making and managing the material side of life. True contentment is possible when money is handled according to God’s principles. We want readers to know that financial contentment and confidence is not reserved for the wealthy, the savvy, or the numbers people. It’s available to everyone. Biblical principles and perspectives are simple but transformational. Our hope is that people’s view of money is transformed and that their relationship with their financial decisions is simplified.

As for next steps, we want people to begin asking the question, “Am I following God’s word when it comes to my financial decisions?” This is the most significant thing that people can ask themselves, and the answer is not elusive. God’s word applied to finances changes everything, and we can’t wait for people to experience that truth!