(The following is an abbreviated transcription from a video I recorded with Ben Kirby. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
When it comes to finances and faith, it can be a very touchy subject. The world can influence us and we take too much credit for ourselves. Or, we can put too much trust into money.
As Christians, we need to audit ourselves and examine our heart to see what our intentions are and to remember what is true. It is God who is our provider and He is the one our trust should be in.
As Americans, our money even tries to remind us of this. The statement “in God we trust” is printed on our currency. However, we can tend to forget this.
I am excited to share the conversation I had with Ben Kirby with you. And if you are on Instagram, you probably heard of his account: Preachers N Sneakers. His account blew up a couple of years ago. It highlights what a lot of preachers are spending on whatever shoes they are wearing, or whatever lavish item they may have.
We need to remind ourselves that it’s all about the heart and the intentions behind our actions. Pastors, like everyone else, need the accountability from people who will be truly honest with them and not just be “yes men.” Is their heart in the right place?
And so I wanted to bring Ben’s insight on this topic to have a conversation about this touchy subject. Because I’ve observed that he’s actually very intellectually honest about this topic. I think there’s a lot to talk about here.
Now before we get into all the details and give you a strategy for employing your kids in your business, I recorded our discussion that you can listen to on our Podcast below. But, if you would rather read the full transcription, you can do so here in this article!
Preachers N Sneakers
Bob: So with all that, Ben, thank you for coming on and chatting brother.
Ben: Hey Bob, thanks for having me, man. This is fun. And I have to say, I watched some of your videos before this and really impressed with what you guys do. Like over a hundred K subs on YouTube and somehow you got a 34X return on some stock that you didn’t say out loud, but I’m interested to maybe learn which stock that was. If you have any other of those hot burning tips. for stock investing.
Bob: Yeah, we could, we can talk all about that and go on that path and, and I appreciate that. Yeah. And we’ve been at it a while, so it doesn’t happen overnight…
Bob: …by any means. But anyway.
Bob: So you got book out? You’ve launched this Instagram account that blew up like crazy and then you wrote a book. And so that came out what a year or two ago?
Ben: 2021. Yeah.
Bob: What’s so cool about it, that I think so many people were probably surprised by, is this Instagram account appears to be kind of poking fun. And it doesn’t seem like someone who has started account like that would have the depth and substance that you do, that comes out in the book. And I mean, this is a compliment, I hope it comes across this way.
Ben: No, I’ve heard this a ton of times like that.
Bob: Because that book is really solid. I think one of the endorsements someone mentioned that that you managed to do the impossible. Actually be really funny and important at the same time. I thought that was just the perfect description of it.
Faith and Finances
Ben: Well, I’m grateful for somehow being equipped to have this conversation about a very messy topic about…
Ben: Church leaders and money and spending and celebrities and social media, that kind of thing. And I talked about it in the book, like why I was the person? I’m this military dude that grew up in the south and is not a theologian or hasn’t studied this stuff more than like in my quiet time here or there.
And so it’s been an interesting ride the past three years or so. And it’s happened all organically. I’ve never run ads. Maybe some ads for the book itself though. But in terms of growing the account on Instagram, it just all grew organically.
Bob: So let’s dive in here and talk a little bit about this. Because it’s such a tricky topic. I’ve been talking about money and finance and Christianity, for 14-15 years on the internet now. So I know to some degree what you’ve probably experienced as you’ve made statements. And in my world, honestly, one of the most controversial things to talk about is tithing.
Ben: I’m assuming we’ve had very similar experiences about Christians and money for whatever reason. It’s some prerequisite of being a Christian or being in Christian spheres that you have to be weird and kind of hush hush about money. Otherwise it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum where people are super vocal and angry about what Christians do with their money.
It’s basically like the worst subject to specialize in if you’re trying to make money, because if you try to make any kind of money off of anything that you do, you inevitably attract the people that are trying to make you out to be a hypocrite, that kind of thing.
Pressure not to live a luxurious lifestyle
Bob: Yeah okay and so this brings up a good point because I’ve observed, you know, cause I have been an overt Christian, I mean really targeting Christians with our message. And therefore I have felt a lot of pressure to not live a luxurious lifestyle. But on the other hand, I have a lot of friends who are doing exactly what I’m doing, who are Christians, solid Christians.
But like have no pressure. And I mean, outward pressure, I guess I should say. Outward pressure to live as lavish of lifestyle as they want. No, I don’t think one or the other is necessarily wrong, but I think at the end of the day I think it should be internal pressure that should be driving those things. Thoughts?
Ben: Conviction. This is the whole discussion at a high level. Once you connect profitability to spiritual things, it starts to get pretty messy.
I absolutely believe that people that work hard should get paid. I mean, I’ve got my MBA, I believe in making a profit. I believe that drives innovation and problem solving that kind of thing. But it feels a little different when you do it when your time is funded from sacrificial donations of people that are trying to “further the kingdom.” That’s where it starts to get a little weird. And I’ve tried to make the distinction the whole time. The fact that you can’t distinguish me from a mega church pastor is the problem.
The fact that you’re just as mad that I’m selling a t-shirt as maybe this other guy who’s living off tithe dollars is now selling another New York times bestseller to his church congregation. There seems to be some differences in there, but a lot of people are unequipped to make those distinctions. And so it’s just a messy topic when you envelop Christian or Christianity within a business line or a profit center.
Figuring out where that line is
Bob: The hardest thing for me is trying to figure out where that line is.
Bob: Of whatever. Even in the case of your Instagram account. I’m curious where the line is, of the price where it’s like, eh, that’s not that expensive. Where it’s like, I’m not going to feature that, you know?
And that’s just an example of, where is the line? Do you know what I mean? What have you landed on with this?
Distraction from the ministry
Ben: The easiest line to come to is the moment it becomes a distraction from your ministry, is the moment you should reevaluate it. Because I am not so arrogant to think that I am an authority on what is and what is not appropriate to spend on a pair of shoes. I’ve never claimed to be like $500 and below is the number, the line.
What I can say is, “Hey guys, it sure does seem like from a macro level that your ministry seems a lot more about fame and platform and celebrities and looking good as it is to pointing people to the creator of the universe.” Like, there’s a lot of nuance within that, but I think the moment it distracts, or it makes your ministry about you instead of about pointing to God, that’s where you should start to evaluate.
Wealth reference point and internal audits
Ben: And of course, reference points matters. We’re richer than 99% of the world just by, you know, having a house in a single car. And so reference points matter, but I at least want to get people to try to at least audit that for themselves. And not just be like, yeah, whatever these guys are free to make money however they want. It’s like, well, I don’t know. I think God probably cares about how his “shepherds” are stewarding their finances and the finances of those that they’re in charge of.
Bob: Yeah. You mentioned a reference point, because that’s really important. Because when we think through that lens, I think it’s $45,000 a year or something, that is the top 1% in the world.
Bob: And when you understand that, like anyone listening to this is very, very wealthy.
Bob: And when you, when you realize that I am “the rich” that Paul was talking about in 1 Timothy 6. Like I am the rich that need to be thinking about this stuff, because I think it’s easy to just stand back.
It’s so easy to throw stones from where you are not having been in that situation and be like, yeah, I would never do that if… you know? And anyway, it’s a tricky thing.
Buying an iPhone is a sin?
Bob: Another thing I was just thinking about what this when I first started blogging, whenever the iPhone first came out in 2007 or 2008.
Ben: An actual blog, not a vlog?
Bob: Yeah. I started blogging in…
Bob: 2007. And so I remember reading this article that basically said for Christians, buying an iPhone is a sin, because it’s too extravagant. And so what’s interesting about this is because it was $200 more than the most expensive phone at the time. So it’s like, that’s too extravagant. Therefore it’s a sin.
It’s a slippery slope
Bob: I guess my point in this is that this all shifts, you know what I mean? This is shifting sand because now it’s like you going to church 50-70% of the people have an iPhone.
Ben: It’s a slippery slope to just definitively say that. You don’t want it to be a cop-out where well, I live in a wealthy area, so my point of reference is different than somebody in a third world country. I think we should still care about caring for and contributing to human flourishing, where people are suffering. But yes, it’s a ridiculous conversation to have saying no one should ever have the newest iPhone.
No one is in a position to say that, but I think it’s worth at least trying to encourage people to examine that for themselves because the word modesty comes up a lot in the conversation. Especially if you’re on a stage preaching about Jesus. There is an element of wisdom that comes from considering what you wear and how you present yourself.
Ben: And you don’t want to live by fear, but also you want to be considerate. Life is hard and a lot of people are not experiencing a prosperity gospel type life situation. And I think it’s naive to not consider that at all.
What may affect your witness
Bob: So something that I have wrestled with I’m assuming that you think about this a little bit too. But given the nature of what I do, I’m not a preacher, I’m not a pastor. But because I’m speaking to Christians, I feel a sense of obligation. Given that, just kind of what you’re talking about. In the back of my head I’ve created some rules for myself, of I’m probably never going to buy X… that type of car, that thing, whatever. And not necessarily because I think it’s wrong to own that, but because I think it might affect my witness.
I think there are people, right or wrong, who might be judging me and dismissing me and removing the opportunity for me to speak into their lives because of me owning that thing.
Bob: Do you think that’s healthy?
Ben: Brands matter. And the message that brands send, whether you agree with it or not, they do send a message. The whole 2015 BMW versus a 2022 Suburban. No, one’s going to say anything about your Suburban, most likely. But if you had a BMW, they’re going to mention the Beamer. Brands can matter.
Bob: But, that’s the hilarity of it.
The need for accountability
Ben: Yeah. And I think every pastor ever has probably dealt with this in some capacity. The only thing you can do is have people close to you that know you well and can speak into whether or not you care too much about those things, or not. Like if you’re buying a Beamer because you like the idea that people know that you have a Beamer. Then that’s probably an issue.
But if you have five people that know you and your situation well enough, that they can be like, “Hey man, you’ve been working hard. We know that you’ve been budgeting and saving and giving. And you found a good deal on this Beamer that you’ve always wanted.” I think there’s a way to do it and then just buy it securely. Where, okay, I know people are going to maybe comment on this, but I’ve vetted it through people that actually know me and can speak into my life.
There’s wisdom there. And people have different ideas. Like everyone’s spends money on luxuries of some kind, at least in the Western world.
Ben: And it’s a matter of whether those things own you or not. Because I feel the absolute same pressures. You know, my whole thing is to get people to consider the message they’re sending online and through their lives and their ministries and everything. I’ve got to do the same. People would call me out if I was taking selfies with celebrities and wearing a Gucci belt. Like none of those things are inherently wrong, but the heart behind those things matter. And also let’s not be tacky. As it would be pretty tacky for me to do some of that kind of stuff.
Influencing the influencers
Bob: Okay. So let’s transition. And I know, we’re going to some different directions here, but I think it’s an important conversation. And so I’m curious what your thoughts are. Let’s go to Carl Lentz.
Let’s take away the moral failing. But him connecting, being able to reach into a segment of society that most people can’t. And possibly being able to influence these influencers. Whoever, Bieber, I don’t even know who all went to that church and who all he had a relationship with.
But, my initial thought of that, I feel like there are two knee jerk reactions to that. It’s either that’s wrong. He shouldn’t be doing that. Or like, that’s awesome. Let’s cheer him on because he’s able to influence the influencers. And I know Bieber and him fell out or whatever. But the point is that I don’t know if Bieber would be where he was, if it wasn’t for Carl.
And I heard a podcast that Carl did a week before the whole thing came out with the scandal. He was with Logan Paul or someone like that. And Carl, I mean, what was coming out of his mouth was really good. And I was excited that he was there to influence Logan Paul. And so in that leads to the whole thing of God using people, even when they’re in a mess and all this stuff that can go so many different directions.
The ability to influence
Bob: I’m just curious to what your thoughts are on that. Like, how do you do that? Deal with a calling to influence the influencers, or whatever the group might be. And, do it right? What would you do if you were in his situation?
Ben: That’s a great question. I agree with you. And I’ve spoken with Carl several times.
He has a gift for communicating and interacting in a way that builds trust, like immediately. And allows him to talk the same talk that powerful influential people can talk. And make it a way for him to be relatable to those people where they don’t feel like they’re being preached at or judged or any number of things that celebrities are concerned about.
Celebrities are humans and hopefully are trying to pursue salvation in some way. I think it is in a vacuum great to influence influencers. It makes sense. Like it’s the whole Hillsong model. All the mega church models like, “Hey, let’s reach the people that can have the most reach.”
It’s like the pyramid. Where you influence one person and they influence a bunch of people under them. On the surface, it’s also a pretty cool calling to somehow have the ability to influence mainstream superstars.
Christianity is not “cool”
Ben: Everyone knows that grew up in Christianity, that Christianity is not cool. And plenty of people have tried to make it cool. This group of guys, Carl being the leader of them, found a way to make a brand of Christianity that was inherently cool.
Cool enough where you could market it. You could make a whole conference around it. You could make music albums and merch around it. And all of that was effective and good.
The downside is that you build those ministries on one leg. And if that leg gets cut out, the entire ministry erodes. And unfortunately when your ministry is based around the brand of a single guy, or girl, that’s pretty dangerous. And I hope that ministry leaders at least can take heed of that and understand that it’s awesome to grow in numbers and have effective reach to influential celebrities. But also the accountability thing is still real. You need people that can call you out and make sure that you’re not getting in back rooms and quiet places with just you and any number of vices.
So if I was Carl, and given the same opportunity, I’d probably try to do the same. Like if Drake and Bieber and Kevin Durant are trying to hang out with me, I’m most likely not going to push that away. I’d be trying to find a way to further my ministry with that.
But you know, what sucks is when these guys just get a little too insulated. Or get in a position where they can be deceptive. Or do things behind closed doors that nobody else is going to ask them about.
I mean, what do you expect? Being good-looking, having power, money, influence, incredible clothing, all that kind of stuff. I sure hope it goes well for you.
Bob: No challenges.
Ben: Yeah. You’re at least playing with some amount of fire.
The nervousness of having a platform
Ben: And so that makes me nervous, even having the platform I have. Maybe people that have never seen what I do, my account does not exist to just say pastors are wrong for wearing expensive shoes. It’s more about driving a conversation around the whole topic.
Like the celebrity pastors are the product of this new form of Christianity that we do in the West. And it started with just me pointing out how much shoes are worth. I purposely kept it ambiguous because it’s impossible to make one statement or the other to say which is right or which is wrong.
My platform, it makes me nervous that I’ve tried to over-index on having people ask me hard questions to speak into my life. And to call out whether or not I love too much that I’ve got a blue check and a few hundred thousand followers, because it feels good.
It feels good to have people say, “man, you’re, doing something important.” Or, “you’re funny,” or you’re whatever. You’ve got celebrities reaching out to you. And I could be in the same position as them. Like I’m no better than them. It just makes me nervous because fame and money and influence can easily get it polluted.
Bob: Yeah. I think just that nervousness and that awareness is so essential. This reminds me of Proverbs where it says above all else, guard your heart.
Accountability is a necessity
Bob: And I’ve heard multiple veteran, not just pastors, but some pastors, some just believers who have walked the walk a long time. And there’s a common theme that I’ve heard from them, in terms of how to do this thing right and run the race to the end without falling in one of many different ways.
Is this accountability component that you’re talking about. Especially when you’re in the limelight. You have a lot of eyes on you and you have a lot of “yes men” around you. I think this is my observation from here and what they’ve had to say, that it’s really important to have honest people around you. Who will give you honest feedback and tell you the truth? And tell you when you start drifting and get a little bit weird.
Bob: Because if we look at Bieber or Miley Cyrus or any number of these child stars, that’s part of the problem. From a young age, all they hear is “yes.” Everyone around them was a “yes” man.
And so of course they’re going to become weird. Everybody becomes weird when no one ever tells them “no.”
Ben: Right. Yeah. And it starts to affect your interpretation of reality when you have a platform. I mean, y’all have a ton of subs too. Having some amount of influence over people’s decisions or thoughts or whatever can be pretty addicting. If you put something out there and you get all this good feedback, it’s like, “oh, maybe I am awesome. Maybe I do have this thing figured out.” And that just can so easily get polluted where it can lead you down the wrong path.
I am not immune to it. I enjoy making money. I enjoy growing the account and getting a bunch of engagement. All that feels good. And that’s one of those things that I’ve got to constantly ask myself, and ask God, and ask the people around me to check in on me.
Bob: Yeah. That’s really good. And I think that’s just practical wisdom.
Being an Enneagram 3 in America
Bob: I think I read this in your book you’re a three on the Enneagram, is that correct?
Bob: I am too. And so I remember reading, Ian Cron’s book. If I remember right, he basically said it’s really hard being a 3 in America because that’s what America is.
Bob: And everything that we desire is what gets applauded in America. It’s different than in France or something, you know? But, the point is people like us, everybody’s celebrating stuff in this driven to succeed in whatever, all this stuff.
Ben: Achievement. Yeah.
There’s a way to do it right
Bob: Anyway, so this is something that I’m finding myself thinking a lot about because I’m determined to run this race to the end and to do it well. And to not have a moral failing and not fall off.
And just like you mentioned how you have gotten nervous about some of this stuff. It’s the same thing for me. I don’t want to live out of fear with it, but I just want to be smart and wise. Because I’m convinced that there is a way to do it right. And there’s a way to avoid the deceitfulness of riches. I mean, power and fame and success and whatever. There’s a way to do it right.
I don’t know that any of us can do it in our own strength. I actually think that we need God’s grace to have any chance of being successful at it. But I think that’s probably part of the problem for a lot of people, is you start getting big, start feeling successful and you just start to drift just a little bit, you know?
The moving target
Bob: My first hint of success online, we reached a certain milestone or whatever. I watched over that year or two it was just a tiniest little drifting and the tiniest little amount of pride that began to seep in. And it’s the smallest amount of success that anyone could possibly have pride over, but like it started to creep in and it was so subtle. And you don’t notice it day by day. But two years later, looking back, it’s like, “oh wow, I drifted from there.”
And at that point in my life, God had to do some course corrections. It wasn’t like major corrections, but just a little bit of hard shift.
Ben: Like taking a little more credit than I should. Or thinking it was in your own efforts, or like your ingenuity. Some of those things.
Bob: Yep, exactly.
Ben: And, I think it’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments, but it’s one of those directional things. Like you’re either heading towards humility and modesty and good stewardship, or you’re heading the opposite direction. It’s always a moving target.
Bob: Yeah. It’s like walking on this super steep hill. You can’t really walk right on the top. You’re going in one direction or the other.
Walking in balance
Bob: Yeah. And it’s just such a tricky balance to walk. But I remember Andy Stanley talking, he had a whole message just about walking in the balance. And there’s so many aspects of Christianity and of our faith, where there is a balance component. Where either extreme is just off, but we’re called to walk in the tension, you know?
Ben: Yep. This is what I, this is the thing I talked most about in therapy with…
Ben: …my counselor, is about living in balance. Because the thing I struggle with too is being on the extremes. Like I’m either absolutely a hypocrite or I’m doing completely God’s work, it’s one or the other. And living in the balance and living in tension, it’s one of those things that I need to work on. It’s something that I’m always trying to improve upon. It’s hard.
Bob: It really is.
Ben: At least on social media people want a definitive answer one way or the other. And sometimes you feel like you owe that to people. When in fact, oftentimes all I can say is “I don’t know, man.”
What is spent is circumstantial
Bob: I don’t know if you talk about this in the book, or where your thoughts are. But I think it’s probably pretty safe to say that some of this, in terms of what you should be buying and how much you should spend on things, I think some of this is circumstantial or unique to the individual.
And there’s some individuals where it’s like this thing might be the wrong thing and other people, it might be different. Which adds a whole other element of complexity.
Bob: And not being in a position to yeah,I don’t know. It’s such a tricky thing.
Ben: Going back to the brand matters, the Beamer discussion. Like for some people, it’s playing into their desire to be loved or their desire to be seen as successful. Very much a heart issue. And then for others, you know, they could be giving 99% of their wealth away and they want to buy a Beamer and they’re completely secure about it. There’s ways to have most things without it being toxic every time.
But when you live online, you at least have to acknowledge that people are free to interpret what you put out there, however, they’re going to interpret it. And you can’t really control that and you at least have to be aware of it.
Bob: Yeah. And that’s, those are the interesting times that we live in.
What Ben wants you to know
Bob: So in terms of the book, I’m curious, what are your big one or two things you want someone to take away from the book? From what I’ve seen of it so far, it’s very much like you’re trying to start a discussion. And not necessarily trying to say if you spend more than $500 on shoes, you’re wrong.
Bob: But what would are the big things you want people to leave with?
Ben: Yeah. If I could go back and do it again, I’d probably market the book a little different. Because to your point earlier, I think it was a little confusing for people. People didn’t know what the book was going to be. Like if it was going to be just about an Instagram account, or if there’s going to be a picture book with just the posts. Or if it was going to just be roasting pastors.
Ben: And I got a lot of feedback that people were pleasantly surprised about the questions. Or how I tried to drive the discussion. I don’t think it was perfect. And I think there’s plenty of people that were better equipped to write a book about this.
Audits are needed
Ben: The ultimate goal, I think for me, was to get people to audit their own lives. How they present their lifestyle pics online, like them going on vacation. And their new purchases. Get them to question whether or not they were part of the problem causing people to envy. Causing people to be dissatisfied with their own lives. Like getting them to audit their piece of that.
And then also audit their life in their real lives. About how they spend and give and save. And what their heart is behind. Why they purchase what they purchase. I don’t care if you buy sneakers or something with a brand on it.
I do care about how the Christian life and what it means to follow Jesus is presented to the world. And I’m not doing this great. I struggle to read the Bible every day. And, I’m just as much of a sinner as every other sinner out there. But for whatever reason, I felt like this was an opportunity to try to get people to recenter their priorities and their focus, for believers.
And then for non-believers, at least get them to audit how they’re presenting themselves online. And how they prioritize their finances. Because I think that’s good across the board. And the sneakers was just a way of getting into it.
Take your faith seriously
So really I want believers to take their faith seriously. Because it’s either super serious or it’s not. The diluted version doesn’t serve you at all. So I want people to take their faith seriously. I want them to ask good questions of their faith leaders and call them to a standard that they’re called to in the Bible. And then ultimately, audit their own heart behind their social presence and their finances.
It’s about the heart
Bob: Yeah. And the heart thing. We teach about money a lot and and that’s the common denominator. That’s the thing that I see all throughout the Bible when we’re talking about money is this common theme of it’s about the heart. You know what I mean? Jesus wants our hearts.
Bob: It’s so easy to drift and to just begin making decisions based on mammon. And just subtle shifts. And it as simple as should I take this job or not? Well, yes, it pays more. So of course I want to take it. But it’s like, no! Like let’s pray about it first. And there’s so many directions that this can go.
Continue to audit your heart
Bob: I love that idea and it’s just such a good challenge for all of us to continue to audit our hearts, audit our situations. For me personally, I’m willing to trade maybe not having something that I desire at an extreme level that I would enjoy personally, if that possibly opens up the opportunity for me to speak into someone’s life and lead them to Jesus. I’m willing to make that trade.
I think there’s some, or maybe a lot, who would argue that “well, it doesn’t have to be either or.” I don’t know, maybe that’s a fair point. But at the same time, like I know because I’ve been doing this long enough that there are just a lot of people who get offended by certain stuff.
Bob: And therefore, if I can just minimize that offense in order to have an opportunity.
Ben: Yeah. And you know, that’s one of those moving targets where you have to check in with your people about whether or not you care too much about that. Like, there is a point where you care too much about the opinions of others.
Bob: I definitely have leaned to that, too.
Ben: Yeah, as a three, like I care about whether or not people see me as achieving things and being successful. You know the Enneagram isn’t gospel. But it’s helpful to frame…
Bob: Helpful framework, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. And the achievement thing and wanting to do more. Always feeling I’ve got to do more. You know, that’s something worth bringing up to say, get your people to speak into about whether or not you care too much about whether people are mad that you’ve purchased a new car after saving for 10 years.
Bob: I know, I know.
Ben: Stuff like that.
Not everyone will like you
Bob: Yeah. And those are things that I’ve wrestled with for years, too. Just finding that balance of getting comfortable, not having everybody liking me.
Ben: Yeah. Right.
Bob: Because it’s like, that’s what I want, you know? And the truth is, if you’re going to take a stand for anything, that’s going to happen, that people don’t like you.
Ben: Yeah, that’s still very uncomfortable and exhausting for me. I have no grasp on how to do that. I still get very upset if people are starting to get mad at me in the comments or the DMs.
Auditing your time
Ben: And I don’t even spend that much time online now. In 2019, I was spending like eight to 10 hours a day on Instagram. And now I mean…
Ben: It was all, it was all day cause I was trying to respond. I was trying to grow the account. I was trying to be funny and creative. And we had our son April of last year, so I’ve got a one-year-old now. And since that, obviously my priorities have completely changed.
So I might spend an hour a week on Instagram now. And I think it’s helpful to audit that as well. Like how much time you’re spending online. Because, we’re not physically equipped to handle the inputs of that many people at once without any kind of filter. It’s pretty tough.
I’m grateful and proud to have a platform that’s so big. People work really hard to make a platform of this size. But having experienced it now, I know that having thousands of people speak into something that I put out there isn’t always healthy for me. All the feedback, because there’s just a whole range of people’s opinions and experiences.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Bob: That’s interesting. There’s so many people that are trying to do this keep up with the Joneses thing. And it’s just so unfortunate. I think it was Roy Rogers who had this quote, it was something like you spend money to impress people you don’t care about, or something like that. Where these people who I don’t even like, I’m spending money to try to impress them. And it’s such a vicious cycle that you can find yourself in.
Ben: Yeah, we live in Dallas and it seems impossible to not fall into that in some degree. Because you inevitably run into people that have ranches and private jets and go on ski trips. And have a fully paid for house that their parents paid for them.
There’s a whole host of things. It seems like you’re not doing enough or you’re not succeeding enough compared to people that you don’t even know.
Bob: Yeah. And I think it’s Jim Rome that said something to the effect of in five years from now, you’ll be the, some of the books you read and the people you spend your time around.
And, that has a positive connotation, but I think in this context it can have a very negative connotation as well. Right?
Ben: That’s right. Yeah, you can get absolutely polluted by your environment to the point where you just become part of that environment.
Earn. Save. Give.
Bob: Our passion behind everything is we’re trying to help people earn more money. But the goal follows John Wesley’s pattern of let’s earn as much as we can. Let’s reduce our expenses as much as we can so that we can give as much as we can. So that we can use what God has entrusted us with these skills, these talents to earn more so we can make an impact on the world. So that’s what we’re after.
God is your provider in the ups and downs
Bob: And I know full well, just from a little bit of the ups and downs financially that we’ve had on this journey. In some of those high times, it’s really easy to not begin trusting in money and continuing to know that God is your provider. Because it’s just important to know that when things are really high just as when you’re completely broke.
Bob: Cause a lot more people are praying Philippians 4:19 when they’re broke, you know? For those needs to be met. But, we need to be on that when we’re at our high points as well. Just remember it’s not the bank account. It’s not the job. It’s not the income, whatever. God is the provider.
Ben: That’s a really good point because once you start hitting your milestones and your goals and like, oh this is working. Whatever I’m doing, this is working. And then you hit that threshold in your mind of a number in your bank account. Then you feel safe financially. We’ve got six months emergency fund saved. And fully funded Roths. Yes, like that’s first world problems, but it’s still valid to say we still need God the provider. There is nothing without him.
Struggling with why some have more than others
Ben: I write about this a little bit in the book. And this is one of the things I really struggled with about Christianity and being in America. I don’t completely know why we get to have Macbooks and surplus in our bank accounts while there are millions and millions of people that live on like $2 a day or something.
Ben: But I guess we’re supposed to just steward that as well as we can in hopes that we can help others and point them to the provider. Even though it doesn’t seem fair. I don’t know why America exists compared to the billions of people in other countries that are just as loved by God as we are. And it just seems like we can only try our best.
Wrapping things up
Bob: Well, I am thankful for this conversation. I’m glad you came on and chatted. So everybody run out and grab Ben’s book Preachers N Sneakers. Is it plural preachers and sneaker?
Ben: Preachers, letter N, Sneakers.
Bob: There you go. Yeah. So it’s on Amazon. Did you do an audible version of it?
Ben: I did. Yup.
Bob: Yeah. Great. So everybody check it out. Like I said, I got a start on it and I’ve laughed multiple times. Which is so crazy that I’m laughing in a book like this because it’s blowing my mind. So you did such a great job.
Ben: Thank you.
Bob: Infusing humor in making a difficult conversation, lighthearted. So I applaud you on that.
Bob: And everybody run over to Instagram and you can follow Ben’s big old account with 300,000 followers. And it’s Preachers N Sneakers, right?
Ben: That’s right. Yep.
Bob: So, all right, man. Well, I appreciate the conversation. Thanks for coming on.
Ben: You too. Thanks, Bob