Do you ever have a surplus? A bonus? An unexpected windfall? A raise? Do we make a plan for these funds? Or do they all get spent so fast (sometimes before they’ve actually come in) that a month later we can’t even remember what happened to the money?
When my husband and I were in debt,we always had a well-defined plan for windfalls: 10% tithe, 50% debt, the rest split between savings, spending and additional offerings. It was after we’d lived debt free which frees up money in and of itself, that the decisions became muddied.
People tend to think budgets are for people with restricted finances, but I believe a spending plan is even more important for those who have plenty. Revisiting the question, how much is enough? Setting a limit on spending when the world will always offer bigger, faster, better than HD, luxury items is a challenge. It’s one reason the Bible contains so many warnings about wealth.
Jesus looked at him an said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God? For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24-25)
We hear this scripture and think it sounds impossible for the rich man. But in the days when towns had walls and gates, the smaller opening in the large doors that could be opened just for a man to walk through were dubbed “the eye of the needle.” So it wasn’t impossible to get a camel through that opening, just extremely difficult.
Can we be content with a stow-and-go van purchased second-hand for a 1/3 of the price when the world tells us with a little financing we can afford the extended SUV with a premium package? When the bank runs the numbers and says we can easily buy a $250,000 house on a 30 year loan with a fixed 5% interest, do we shop for a $150,000 house that has just as many rooms and meets our needs?
If you have a shopping list, you can probably break it down by needs, wants and desires. We were running short with the transition out of army life, and for grocery shopping I got the ground beef (need) when the ground chuck (want) was healthier and the London broil (desire) was looking tempting. God doesn’t promise us everything we want.
We acknowledge and pray the verse “May God supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), and when our needs are supplied, we actually get lots of our wants, then we look to our desires. Are we looking to the needs of our local church? The poor and needy? The projects and missions we’ve always said we’d love to support? Do we put our money where our mouth is, or do we go upgrade our phone and complain about the new operating system?
These questions are for me as much as anyone. God has come through in a big way for us recently with regards to post-military finances. Asking God for direction and waiting for His answers is what I need to be doing with Ryan.
All these financial matters from A to Z of this series are not only issues of money, possessions, finances and attitudes. These are kingdom issues, areas to make decisions to build up treasures that God holds for us beyond “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
Do we want to do more for God? More for our savior Jesus Christ? More Spirit-lead?
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust true riches to you? (Luke 16:10-11)
Dear Lord, help us search your word and apply directions to become faithful in the little things. We don’t want to miss out on serving you with all we have and being entrusted with true riches.