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Crazy Like Us Part 2 | "The Standard American Version"

We all worry about money. In this episode, Andy explains a simple shift in perspective that can free you from financial worries.

NOTE: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, or word usage.

Well, basically, as I said last week, I wanna teach you how to do something that you think you know how to do. I wanna teach you how to be generous. Now, not how to give. All of you know how to give. All of us are great at random acts of giving. But I wanna teach you how to be generous. And the fact that you’re so good at giving is one of the reasons that many of us are not generous. And so, this is not I wanna teach you how to do something. You know how to give. I wanna teach you how to be something. And the fact that everybody gives, masks the fact that very, very few of us are generous. And the reason we’re not generous isn’t because we’re not good people; it’s because no one ever taught us how to be generous.

So just, so you’ll know where we’re going with this. Generosity, when I say generosity, generosity is more than random acts of giving. And I’m all for random acts of giving. I hope for the rest of your life, there will be random acts of giving. A random act of giving is somebody says, “Hey, our neighbors are in trouble. They need… They have a need.” And you pull out your wallet. Random act of giving. Somebody in your kid’s school is going through a tough time and they’re raising money for him. Random act of giving.

But here’s the thing. And this is why this may be good timing. I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life just random acts of giving. I want you to learn how to be generous. So when I say generosity, when I say generous, what do I mean? So, here’s my really clunky definition that I totally made up. Okay? Here’s our definition. We’re gonna work off of today and next week. Generous is a premeditated… That means you have a plan. A premeditated, calculated…

That means you know the amount. Designated… That means you know where it’s going. Emancipation, which is my favorite word of the definition. That means we’re gonna set it free. We’re gonna set your money free. You’re gonna learn to set it free. Emancipation of personal financial assets. This is not a series about living a generous life with your time or your talent. This is all about your treasure. It’s learning to be generous with your money. Now, here’s what you know. We’re moving on. Persuasive people like me can get you to give and inspire you to give or even guilt you to give. And persuasive people who are in places of ministry can bribe you to give. Have you ever been bribed to give? If you give God $1, he’ll give you 10. That’s called a bribe, okay? And so…


Here’s the thing. Generous people do not need to be sold. Generous people don’t even need… Are never given to guilt. Okay? Generous people, they just live guilt-free when it comes to money because some of the things we’re gonna talk about in just a minute. Generous people go way beyond random acts of giving. And generous people can hear a pitch about a need and say, “You know what? I’m gonna say “No” to that.”

And there’s no guilt, because they have organized their entire world around generosity. It’s a completely different thing. They have a plan.

Now, here is something you’re not gonna believe, since it’s sort of a shock statement that I’m gonna spend the next 10 minutes trying to prove it to you, okay? Most Americans… Most Americans, 90% and don’t try to wiggle your way into the 10% because we’re… Most of us are in this 90% club. Most Americans feel financial pressure because they have never learned to be generous. Most Americans, most Westerners, Canadians, we feel financial pressure not because of a lack of money. We feel financial pressure, most of us, because we have never learned to be generous. Now, let me show you why I say that. If I could have your attention to screen number 2 for just a second, you should have been nervous when you got here today. And there were two screens on the platform. Okay.

The word that is most associated with the term, money and finance is the term that is most high, that is most associated with the word money or anything to do with finances as far as the average American is this word right here, “worry.” We worry. “Will we have enough to retire? Will I have enough to ever buy a ring? Will I ever be… Have enough money to buy a house? Will I ever have enough money to get rid of this stupid car? Will I, will I, will I?” Worry, worry, worry, worry. So most Americans, no matter how much money they have or how much wealth they have, at some level, they’re worried. In response to our worry, do you know what we do? We spend everything or more than we make.

Now, I just want you to think about the connection between these two things for just a second. “Oh, will I have enough? Will I have enough? Will I have enough? I know what I’ll do. I’ll spend everything that comes my way. Will I ever be able to move out of this house? Will I… I know what I’ll do. I’ll spend more than I make.” That’s what we do. And as a result, we end up with crazy debt, dumb debt, silly debt. Debt on things that, as soon as we bought it, the value goes down, and the price goes up. As we said last week, when you finance something, whether it’s a car or just something you’re carrying on credit card debt, the moment… The moment you take possession, the value goes down, and the price goes up. And then, consequently, we have no financial margin.

Well, if you have no financial margin, if you have no financial wiggle room, you have something to worry about. And so, what do we do as a result of our worry? We just spend as much that comes in or more. And then we have more debt, then we have no margin, and then we’re worried. And then, we spend everything that comes our way or more, and then we have more debt, round, and round, and round we go. This is the American way, when it comes to finances. But it’s worse than that. Think about this. Do you know what we worry about, if I could add a word? What we worry about when I say worry is, we really worry about future consumption. So, what do we do? We consume more than we can actually afford. And we end up with consumer debt. And then we have no margin for future consumption.

The thing that drives us, and what I wanna spend a few minutes trying to explain to the best of my ability, what drives us is a mindset. It’s a mindset. It’s a mindset that says, “If it comes to me, it’s for me. I gotta figure out how to take care of me.” Now, let me ask you a few questions. Don’t answer out loud. Don’t raise your hand. No elbows, no whispering, okay? Think about this. How much more money… How much more money would you need? How much more income would you need to stop spending everything you make or to stop spending more than you make? How much more, 10% more, 15% more, 20% more? What if you went to work tomorrow, and you got a 25% raise? Do you think you would go home and say to your roommate or go home and say to your husband or wife or your parent, “Hey, I got a 25% raise. Now, for sure I won’t be… I won’t overspend.

Because over time, hopefully, your income will increase. And as your income increases, guess what you do? You know this. You spend everything that comes in or more because this is not a money problem. This is a self-control issue. Let me ask you another question. How much more money would you need to make to quit using your credit card and carrying a balance? How much more money would you need to make to start paying cash for cars? How much more money would you need to make to quit leasing automobiles? How much money would you need to make to get completely out of debt and stay out of debt? 10% more? Nope. 15% more? Nope.

Do you think anybody is gonna go to work tomorrow and suddenly get a 25% raise, maybe get another job and get a 15% raise? The answer is way more money than you’re ever gonna get all at one time. So consequently, as your income goes up, so do your habits, your crazy habits. This is a contentment issue. It is not a money issue. Let me ask you a question, I got a third question. How much more money do you think you would need to make to be able to have and create financial margin? 10% more? If suddenly you had it, you got a 10% raise, would suddenly 10% more money start showing up in savings? 15% more, 20% more? The answer is, whatever your current habit is, it will continue as you get raises and as you make more money because this is not a money problem. This is a discipline problem. This is a discipline issue. Worry is not a money problem. Worry is a spiritual problem. When you read the New Testament about what Jesus said about worry, he did not say, “To overcome your worries, save more money. To overcome your worry, get out of debt.” He said, “The problem with… The reason you worry is because you have put your trust in riches, not in the one who richly provides. You have placed your trust in riches, not in the one who richly provides.” This is a spiritual issue now. Look up here, okay? This is crazy. If you wanna know what financial craziness is, this is financial crazy.

This is the crazy cycle. There is a different way to live. There is a better way to be crazy. So let me just summarize. More money, more money does not generate more self-control. More money does not generate more self-control. You know people who are extraordinarily rich who have done extraordinarily dumb things because they lacked self-control. More money does not result in more discipline and more money does not create more contentment. 

Generous people, people who have ordered their financial lives around generosity are not driven by this. They are not driven by what we call the consumption assumption. The consumption assumption is, if it comes to me, it is for me. And if I’m in a really good mood, or if that guy shows me enough sad pictures, I might take some of what I had decided to consume on me and I might give it to you. And if I feel guilty enough, I might give you some. And if it looks like everybody else is pulling out their wallet, I don’t wanna be left out, I’ll pull out mine. But I’m not gonna give you so much that it impacts my crazy lifestyle and my crazy approach to finances.

Now, if you’re a Christian, are you listening? Jesus called this, it’s a bad word… Greed. That’s what Jesus… That’s Jesus’ view of greed… Was the assumption that it’s all for my consumption. If your assumption is “If it comes to you it’s for you,” and if you’re a generous person, you’ll give some away, Jesus says you are greedy. And the problem with greed is you can’t see greed in the mirror because we don’t define it that way. I mean, when I say greedy, who do you think of? You think of some guy who’s stashed away in his basement counting his gold. Nobody does that. Some woman at home and she’s surrounded on her bed with her jewelry and her artwork and her stacks of cash and she’s just staring at it, just salivating.

No, nobody does that. That’s not greed. Greed is the person who has very little, who has a medium amount, and has a whole lot, who assumes it all belongs to them, for them. That’s what Jesus called greed. And do you know where greed leads? Greed always leads to worry and greed always leads to discontentment, no matter how many zeros you tack on. Here’s another thought. Think about this. Most financial worry, most financial tension, most financial grief, most financial angst, is the result of wanting what we can’t get, not needing what we don’t have. Most of your financial angst is not needing something, “I can’t get what I need”. Most of your angst, most of your tension, most of your “uhhhh”, most of your “uhhhh, zuu, zuu, fnnn”, it’s all about, you can’t get what you want, because you are living crazy. And even if you got it, you want the next one. It is the nature of the cycle.

There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just living according to the crazy cycle that’s driven by worry and leads every single time, to discontentment. Now, here’s the great thing. Learning to be generous, organizing your financial world around generosity crushes the consumption assumption. It gets you off the crazy cycle. It gets you out of this way of thinking that “if it comes to me, it’s for me. If it’s mine, it’s for me.” Learning to think differently. Next week I’m gonna give you a plan. Next week is gonna be so practical. Do not miss next week. You just can’t miss next week. But before we get to the practical side you’ve got to learn to think differently. And generous people think completely differently. They do not think according to this way of living.

They think in terms of “It’s not about my consumption. If it comes to me, it’s not necessarily for me”. They’re able to break through this whole Western, American, Canadian way of thinking, that it’s all about consumption.

So, one day, Jesus is walking along, turns to his guys and he gives them a parable. Now, a parable is a story that’s not true. So, this didn’t really happen. He made up a story in order to make a point. He made up some people in order to impact some real people. And he speaks to his audience and then he speaks through the ages to each of us and this is the parable. Most of you’ve probably heard this before, parts of this before. He turns to his audience and he says this, “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.” So even 2000 years ago the rich got richer. Jesus knew they would go “Yeah, that’s how it goes, the rich just get richer”.

A rich guy has like a bumper crop. He’s got more than he’s ever had before and he thought to himself, he thinks just like we think. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. I have so much stuff, I have to get a storage unit. I have so much stuff we need to finish the basement. I have so much stuff we need a bigger house, we need a second home. I’ve got so much stuff, what shall I do?” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do.” Look up here. Do you know what he did? He did exactly what he’d always done. “What shall I do? I have more than ever”. What did he do? Exactly what he’d always done. The more money you make doesn’t mean you will change anything. You will continue to do exactly what you are currently doing.

That’s why if you are in your 20s, if you can get this right now, when you have a whole lot more income, you will continue to do what you are currently doing and if you are currently doing the right thing, you win in the end. He did what he’d always done because he assumed what he had always assumed. If it comes to me, it’s for me. And the fact that he got more did not make him generous. It just made him richer. He said, “This is what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and I’ll build bigger ones and there I will store my surplus grain. I’ll save it now… ” I mean, this is how you think. Isn’t this what we think? “I’ll save it now to consume it later. I’ll save it now. If it came to me its for me. I’ll save it now and I’ll consume it later”. Right? Isn’t that what you do? Its what crazy people do. And I’ll say to myself… This is where it really gets crazy.

And I’ll say to myself, “Self, you have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry. I’m golden. I’m done.” And you know what’s fascinating about this? Many of you, many of you, many of us, many of us… If you’d gone back, 20 years ago, 30 years ago for some of you and somebody told you how much money you’d be making now, how much money you’d be making 20 years later, 30 years later, you would think, “Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine, if I’d be making that much money I would be done. I would be debt free. I would be worry free”. And you’re making that much money and you worry and you have debt and you’re still discontent. You know why? Because all through the years you have continued to do what you’ve always did.

But this guy’s like, “Oh man… ” He’s later on in life, he’s an older guy, so it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I am done. I have plenty to take care of me for all the years of my life”. But God said to him in the parable, “You fool!” You fool, not for being rich, for being confused. Because he assumed it was all consumable, disposable income. Imagine going to a third world country some places some of you’ve visited, some places I’ve visited, with a stack of cash, and say, “This is my six months disposable, consumable income.” I just dispose it and consume it. Even think about our terms.

No wonder we are so crazy, no wonder we are locked into this loop that always leads to worry and always results in discontent. And so, he assumed, “It’s for my disposing, it’s for my consumption.” But God said to him, “You fool.” Not because he was rich, because he was confused. This very night, this very night, your life will be demanded from you. Uh-oh, you got lots of stuff, you just don’t have lots of years. Uh-oh, you thought that stuff guaranteed you time. You thought that saving it up for you meant there would be some, you to use it. You thought you were gonna have enough time to consume everything you assumed was for you, but this night, your life is demanded of you.

Now, is everybody listening? Look up here. Then, in the parable, Jesus asked the guy a question. God asked the guy a question and asking the guy a question he asked you this question, he asked me this question. No matter how old you are, no matter how much you have, how little you have, here’s the question Jesus asked us through the parable. “Uh-oh, now your life has been demanded of you. Now, who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” And the answer is, somebody else. But not because he was generous, because he was dead.


He was consumable, and he was disposable, and now he’s gone. And all of that stuff he’d saved up for him to consume, someone else will consume. And then, Jesus… I love this. You should read at least the red letters in the New Testament, okay? If you’re not a Bible reader, at least read what Jesus said, okay? This is so brilliant. Jesus steps back out of the parable, and now he looks over the parable and he looks right into your eyes, and he looks right into my eyes, and right into your eyes, and right into your eyes, and right into your eyes, and right into your eyes. He looks right into your eyes and he says, “This is how it will be,” future tense, “This is how it will be,” future tense. This, what we just experienced together with this guy, this is how it will be. What is this? This is total loss.

You have nothing to show for everything that came your way because you consumed it all, or you hoarded it all for future consumption. You consumed it all or you hoarded it all for future consumption because you were worried, worried, worried about the future and yet somehow you were never, never, never content with what you had. Jesus says, I’m just telling you, “This is how it will be for whoever… This is how it will be, total loss. This is how it will be for whoever,” that’s me and that’s you, “stores up things for themselves but are not rich towards God.” You say, “What does rich towards God mean? Does that mean my time?” No, no, Jesus is very clear, read it for yourself. Rich towards God is giving your stuff away. He could not be any clearer. “How could I be rich towards you, is it my prayer life?” Nope. “Is it being at church every Sunday?” Nope. “Is it serving?” Nope.

I mean, that’s all good things, but if you wanna be rich towards me, the way Jesus says be rich towards me, you give stuff away. Well, how can that be rich towards you? Because, when you are rich towards the people I love the most you are rich towards me. Would you like to be rich towards me, your pastor? Just love my kids and my wife, that’s all I need. If you’re good for them, I’m good. In fact, I would rather you be rich towards them than me. That does more for me. Same for you as a parent, same for you as a grandparent, as a brother, an older brother, an older sister, an aunt or an uncle. Hey, if somebody loves the people you love, oh, it’s like loving you. Your heavenly father who needs nothing and owns everything says, “As you are rich towards others you are rich towards me.” Which Jesus defines as giving things away. Look at this. Generous people don’t assume it’s theirs to consume.

This is the fundamental, this is the fundamental issue. This is the epicenter, this is the cross hairs, this is the thing. Generous people, people who have organized their lives around generosity and people who begin to think generously, doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, this is a mindset. Generous people do not assume it is theirs to consume, and here’s what’s so brilliant about this teaching of Jesus, I mean, it’s just fascinating. Jesus… You gotta love this. Jesus defies, I love that word. Jesus defies our notion of ownership. Jesus just absolutely shreds our notion of ownership, and the way he defies our notion of ownership is he appeals to our common sense. Here’s this point, if it can be taken away, you never really owned it anyway. If it can be taken away, you never really owned it anyway.

If somebody else is going to possess it, you are not the owner, and if you cannot control, if you cannot control where it ultimately goes, you are managing temporarily, you don’t own it. 

That is how generous people think every single day, because it’s true. This is crazy, because the assumption behind this whole thing isn’t even true. Jesus’ point was simply this: “Since it’s all going to be taken away, why would you miss the opportunity to give it away? Since it’s all going to be taken away, why would you live your life like this? Since it’s all going to be taken away, why would you miss the opportunity to give it away?” You know what’s crazy? What’s crazy is this: It’s living like an owner and living like a consumer. What’s crazy is living your whole life like you own stuff and it’s yours to consume, because one is a myth. Ownership is a myth. And the other one always, always, always, always, add as many zeros as you want, always leads to discontentment every single time.

Now, my friends, some of you trust me, some of you have never met me before, some of you used to trust me till about 10 minutes ago, but would you…


I’m not asking you to do anything. I just want you to imagine what it would be like to live this way, and to think this way. Because generous people, generous people think like managers, not owners and consumers. Because, generous people know that ownership is really a myth, and consumption always leads to discontent and worry. So imagine, just for a week, just for a week, you don’t have to even tell anybody you’re doing this. I want you, just for a week, to try to the best of your ability, to think about your stuff differently. You don’t have to do anything. I’m not gonna ask you to give anything. I just want you to try, because next week I’m gonna be really practical. I’m gonna give you step by step. But here’s the thing: If you take next week seriously, but you don’t change your attitude and don’t change your thinking and don’t adjust your thinking away from this, this will take over.

Now, one thing real quick, whenever I talk about these kinds of things, eventually I either run into, get a text from, or an email from someone who sells cars. And they say, “Andy, you’re really hard on the auto industry.” So, all the auto industry people I wanna say something specifically to you for a second, okay?


Do not worry.


No one does what I tell them to do.


You are safe. And, the other thing I’ll say to you is this, even if everybody at all of our gatherings, and everybody watching online, and everybody who sees this on Your Move, even if they all do it, most Americans are clueless and they will continue to live like crazy people and you’re gonna be fine, okay?


The other thing I wanna say is if you live in an… If you work in an industry, if you work in an industry that generates income around charging interest and credit card and all those things, I have nothing against you. I think everybody should make as much money as they can possibly make as long as it’s legal. I really have no problem with that at all. But, I wanna invite those of you who work in those industries, even though you work in those industries to get off this stupid crazy cycle and at least, personally get your act together, okay? Because, there’s gonna be such a few, there’s gonna be so few of us who live like this, because when people hear what we’re doing, they’re gonna say, “You’re crazy.” And you can say, “No, let me show you what’s crazy. That, is crazy.” So, next week I’m going to give you the details. And you don’t need to stress out.

I just want you for a week to just think, every time, every time you have an opportunity to maybe give or share and that thing rises up into you like, “What if they break it, and what if they lose it, and what if I don’t get it back, and what if I don’t have enough?” That’s when you go, “Ah, there it is. Crazy me, thinking if I keep, if I hang onto this money I’m gonna quit worrying, that’s a joke. Here, you can have it. In fact, I’m gonna double it. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna prove to myself, “I’m not controlled by this.” Or when you look at your stuff, or you walk into your house, and you realize, “One day somebody’s gonna pack every bit of this up and give it away, sell it, trade it, break it, lose it, burn it”. Who knows what’s gonna happen to it? And you think to yourself, “What would it live… What would it look like?” And more importantly, “What would it feel like to live free, to live in light of the reality that you’re not an owner.”

And God… This is it and I’m done… And God has called you, and I believe created you, to be more than a consumer, and it happens when you begin to organize your life, not random acts of giving… All for it… When you organize and center your life around generosity you will be financially free and then, as God so blesses you, if God blesses you and adds a bunch of zeroes, you know what you’ll do? You’ll do what you’ve begun doing, and you may become generous, but you don’t have to do any of that. You can keep doing this if you want. You can keep doing this. You’ll always worry, you’ll always be discontent. I don’t want you to live this way. I don’t even think you want you to live this way and there is another way. There is a better way, there is a better way of crazy.