John D. Rockefeller said this about tithing… “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.”

I think God really likes it when we take the small thing that we have and do the most with it. I realize that I will never be able to give away millions of dollars unless I am continually trying to stretch my giving muscles with what I have now.

Step 2 – Pay off all Debt

It is no secret that I don’t like being in debt. I have had moments where I could really relate to Proverbs 22:7 – “…the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” So much of our country is willingly becoming slaves to lenders just so they can have more toys. It is far better to have a few less toys, and owe nothing to anyone.

Then after considering how much debt impairs our ability to give, it is easy to see why you should get out of debt. I mean it is pretty difficult to get yourself to a place where you can give a lot if all your monthly income goes to paying interest to lenders.

We have made some tough sacrifices to get out of debt over the last first few years, but the fruit has been a lot of debt paid off  and a lot more financial peace. We were strongly influenced by Dave Ramsey’s Plan and I recommend it for just about anyone trying to get out of debt.

Step 3 – Start a Business

After reading quite a few books on business and entrepreneurship I became well aware that there is generally a lot more earning potential for business owners than employees. I tried the “corporate” thing and realized that wasn’t what I wanted or what God wanted either.

About a year before I left the Rat Race (working in Corporate America) I started this website. I figured out that I could make money with it – doing something I love and helping people in the process. It was my first attempt at starting a business. Having heard horror stories from other business owners, I just assumed it would be terribly difficult and would suck all the joy out of my life. It turns out you can run a business and enjoy your life at the same time! That doesn’t mean it is easy, you just need to figure out how to stay encouraged. That helped me realize that it wasn’t  the nightmare of a challenge that some people made it out to be.

In terms of reaching my goal, it seems like running a business is a great avenue. As a self-employed worker, I no longer have a cap on my income. The more I put in, the more I get out. As an employee, it seemed that increasing my income often depended on the company’s success and on whether or not I was better (or played more politics) than the other 10 people up for the promotion. I am sure some people will be able to reach their goal climbing the corporate ladder, but I think I am going to prefer the entrepreneurial path.

Step 4 – Defy Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states that expenses rise to meet income. So if you make $50k and then get a raise to $53K, you will quickly wonder where that raise went. In fact, in my case I remember often feeling worse off financially after getting a raise, because I normally started spending when I heard about the raise and after taxes I realized it wasn’t quite as much as I had thought.