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Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.  The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.
“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.” ~ Genesis 41:25-33

As the recession in our country marches on, many people are frustrated at having to cut back on their lavish lifestyles.  Every day you read stories on the internet about people mourning the loss of all their “I wants” as they chase after the kind of lifestyles that only celebrities can afford to have.  I know and understand that for some families the recession has brought very serious hardship, in ways that feel crushingly insurmountable.  But I also get tired of people, like one blog I read today, who complain that their new job added so much stress they just “have” to get a weekly massage and take more vacations.  Somehow, this doesn’t seem like a real complaint to me.

Which is why I found it very refreshing to read a comment on the same blog, talking about this passage from Genesis.  The man commenting said he didn’t really have much faith, but this story had stuck with him from childhood.  It taught him the importance of being careful with your money when you have a lot, so that when times get hard, you don’t have to make too many radical changes to your spending habits.  You’ll already have practice planning and budgeting.

I had never applied this particular passage to personal finance, but it totally makes sense.  We have no idea if the well-paying job will last forever.  We can’t see around corners to know if we’ll need to tighten the budget belt very soon.  But if we practice being discerning and wise with our money, when times do get difficult, we will have habits that will benefit us greatly.