Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cost, Value, and Christian Education

Cost, Value, and Christian Education

Around the age of 10, I spotted it. A sophisticated flashlight that I thought was the neatest thing ever. It was a door-crashing deal at bargain store that nearly sold out immediately. I think I got one of the last on the shelf and felt myself fortunate in my timing. I bought it. With much anticipation, I packed it along with my other items on a family trip. It brilliantly lit my pathway for all of 3 minutes before it broke. Since it was a promotional item, there were no returns. I was in the dark, out my hard earned paper route money. Life lesson learned.

Since then, more than once I have stood at a checkout counter and decided to abandon a purchase after thinking through its financial implications. Other times, I have wished I had reconsidered a purchase longer when, like a dishwasher I own, items break and become unusable 6 weeks after their
warranty period is over. Sometimes, I’ve regretted my choice to pass by what would have been a
great purchase.

A campfire or coffee table discussion will flush out the fact that everyone has a story like this in their
life. Why do these things bother us so much? I would suggest that they irk us as they do because we
feel the cost of things was out of alignment with value. When we see great value in the product or ser
vice we celebrate, when we feel like there is low value we grumble and complain.

Sometimes we need to compare our situation with the alternative. We don’t love paying what we feel
are really high prices for hydro, water, or natural gas. But do we really want to make candles, dig a
well, and stack wood? An investment opportunity comes our way and we hesitate, but perhaps the
missed opportunity cost is too big to pass by?

Over the weekend I noticed an exceptional editorial discussing these questions of value, opportunity,
and trust as they relate to Christian Education and its cost. I encourage you to spend just a few
minutes to read through Dave Koetje’s article and see if it might help you along the financial pathway your family is on. I trust that even if you don’t fully agree with all of it, that it will challenge and invigorate you as it did me. SJ

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