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A Van with 800,000 Miles, Radical?

Posted on January 19, 2014

-Jeremy L. White

Whether through history or personally, you may have known people who are radicals – people who live much differently than the norm.


Radicals who live with a positive trait or vision can inspire us. They display a clear calling and conviction. We all can’t live like a radical. Or else, by definition, a norm is established and that person is no longer a radical. But we can learn from those who live radically.


I’ve been inspired by Mother Theresa’s dedication to helping the poor. I can see some benefits in the Amish people’s lifestyle of simplicity or David Thoreau’s appreciation of nature and a walk in the woods. Gary Morse, founder of the Men Who Win ministry, was radical with his devotion to reaching men.


From a financial standpoint, I like what Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so that you may someday live like no one else.” Here are some examples of financial radicals I have known of or known personally:

  • Jesse, a client, racked up 800,000 miles on his van. He didn’t want to buy new cars to watch them depreciate quickly. 
  • R.G. LeTourneau - the inventor of the most earth-moving equipment with 300 patents, this businessman was a devout tither. His radical approach was to tithe 90% of his profit and keep 10%.  Convinced he could not outgive God, he stated, "I shovel it out, and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel."
  • George Mueller – The British evangelist and operator of orphanages focused on seeking money through prayer alone. He actively shunned fund-raising activities yet cared for over 10,000 orphans during this life. His personal income, from unsolicited gifts rose from £151 in 1831 to more than £2,000 in 1870. However, he retained only around £300 a year for himself and his family while he gave the rest away to care for the orphans.
  • Kevin, a client, has stayed in the same house to continue reaching people for Christ in his neighborhood. Despite having an increase in income, adding five kids, and seeing a decline in his neighborhood, he has resisted the usual American trend of moving up in houses so that he can remain a witness where he is.

Jeremy L. White
Board Member
Men Who Win

(Editor's Note: Jeremy L. White is a Certified Public Accountant and has authored several books with Ron Blue regarding finances including Surviving Financial Meltdown, Your Kids Can Master Their Money and Faith-Based Family Finances.)

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