by Mark Jones
I think I’m a pretty smart person and shopper, and I’m always on the lookout for good value for my money. I also like to think of myself as a shrewd steward. Sometimes these ways of viewing myself conflict with each other.
When I’m looking for good value for my money, typically I’m looking for what’s in my best interest. After all, who else is going to look out for me? I do many of the things I’ve been taught, read about, or seen others do including comparison shopping, belonging to warehouse clubs, shopping online, and even recently using my phone to compare prices. All this to say, I’m trying to practice “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
At times, however, I find that this focus and mentality leads me to think of “me” just a little too much. I have also grown to learn and believe that God owns it all, and I’m just a steward (manager) of what he has provided me. If it really isn’t mine in the first place, then my focus on trying to figure out what is best for me might just lead me to compromise my other belief that I’m just a manager of what God has provided.
Since I was a child, I have been a member of a credit union as my family had discovered the value of members helping other members. When I went to college, I joined ECCU, which was 28 years ago. After college, I worked in regular banks before coming to work at ECCU, and I certainly can see a huge difference in perspective. At the banks where I worked, increasing shareholder value or the bottom line was the more important financial objective. It wasn’t that we didn’t care about our customers; it was that we served them so we could make a bigger profit. In a sense, it was like asking, “What’s in it for me?” first, before trying to take care of the customers.
Since coming to ECCU as an employee, I have never looked back on my days of working for a bank. Not that those banks are bad, they aren’t; but my world view of money is better served within the structure of a credit union. You see, at ECCU every member is an equal owner, and our structure forces us to only serve other evangelical Christian individuals, churches, schools and parachurch organizations.
In Acts, we read about the first Christians, who really practiced community and in doing so sold everything they had to ensure that the community was taken care of. While we certainly don’t live in that type of environment today, I fully believe being a part of a credit union, especially ECCU, allows me to help accomplish something that is bigger than me and support the evangelical Christian community. It isn’t about “what’s in it for me?”, but rather just one person trying to use God’s resources in a way that can advance the kingdom for his glory. That’s what ECCU is all about to me. It is all of us coming together, getting something of value for ourselves but also partnering with others to accomplish something much bigger than we could ever do by ourselves; and certainly something that could never happen if I only dealt with a bank.
So, why is it important for people like you and me to come together under the umbrella of ECCU and help serve over 3,000 ministries that impact the world for Christ, keeping our funds on deposit to help make that happen? For me, one big reason is that it helps me be the shrewd steward I long to be.