I thought up a bunch of click-bait-style titles for today’s post. “What I Learned from Below the Poverty Line” or “Three Cheers for No Income” certainly grab the eye. But they’re bad titles, as most click-bait titles are, because they exaggerate a point just for attention.
If you hadn’t heard, poverty sucks. Not having enough to get by is one of the worst feelings of dread and stress that we can experience in our modern world. This post is not about poverty. But it is about not having an income.
My wife and I started our own small business in January 2018. Weekend Panda makes games and apps, currently just for mobile but we might be branching out soon (that’s another post, though). It has been such a joy to work side by side one another for the past year and a half.
The biggest challenge is that it isn’t financially sustainable.
Our best-producing game, Corgis vs. Kittens, has netted a total of about $380 since its release. As you may be aware, that is not enough to live on. We went in expecting a slow start, of course, because that’s how small business works. We had savings set aside specifically to survive the early, lean going.
Now savings have essentially run out, and it’s time for me to find work to shore things up until we can (hopefully) make Weekend Panda a stable source of income. (That, too, is another post.)
I found something remarkable when budgets turned super-tight, though: I cared about things more. What previously had been an attitude of use-and-throw-away transformed into a dedication to be a better steward.
It’s a small example, but I just finished spending ten or fifteen minutes washing a garden shovel in hot soapy water. I scrubbed from the pole handle to all the little bends of metal at the bottom. I thought I was dirty before, but deep-cleaning a shovel really covers you in mud. At any rate, when I was done I stepped back and looked at this sparkling clean tool that look almost new again.
I never took the time before to take care of things I knew were easily replaceable. And some might say that 15 minutes could have been better spent applying to jobs or doing art for the next game, but I’m not so sure. Along with the shovel being cleaned, I also felt better. I felt like my time hadn’t been wasted, and saw a sense of what Good Stewardship really brings with it.
Whether you have a faith background and believe God has made us stewards of this planet or you just see the simple truth of Earth needing taken care of, stewardship is an important thing. In most affluent countries today we’re insanely blessed to be able to go buy a new shovel if ours wears out. Or five shovels, or a whole garage of shovels. Something that happens then, for me at least, is we can forget the value of good stewardship. I have gone through many shovels in my lifetime, and some were thrown away not because they stopped being useful but because I wanted one that was less rusty and worn. But the reason it was rusty and worn was because I had left it out in the yard all winter, or even just a few afternoons in the summer rain.
I don’t know if there’s some grand point to this post, but I did want to share the fulfillment I’ve found in learning to be a better steward of what I have. I did so because of necessity, but I’m hopeful I can hold onto this even after finding a new job and/or building Weekend Panda into something sustainable. I feel a tug deep within when taking care of what I have. It’s a good feeling to not only be responsible about these worldly objects, but also extremely thankful for them.