Proverbs 13:7 (ESV) “One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.

Before we moved to Madison, Wisconsin, I worked at a big company in downtown Milwaukee. One of my coworkers during those years had a good job, but certainly not one that would pay enough for fine clothing, fine dining and elegant automobiles. I never wondered how that was possible, but in hindsight I can see that this young man was pretending to be rich and had nothing. Most of what he possessed he didn’t justly own, because he was stealing from the company to buy his designer suits, entertainment and sports car. He was pretending to be rich. That was an illusion. Eventually he was caught, tried, convicted and sentenced. There are two lessons to be learned from this sad story.

Lesson one is that it is important to guard against judging or evaluating a person based on externals including possessions. The fancy car might be weeks away from being repossessed. The person who is driving a very old pick-up truck may be a multi-millionaire. The rich person may be miserable. The poor person may be rich in non-material ways.

Lesson two is more subtle. One way to get to know someone’s true heart and what they value, is a quick look at their calendar and their budget. How they use their time and treasures speaks volumes. That is one reason I often encourage people to build and use a budget. It is a mirror to your priorities and goals.

LINK to Dave Ramsey budgeting tool: