It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
These two proverbs are I think important when considering the use of money and, actually, the importance of saving it and “being smart” with it.
However, one could easily go to far with this, and save money with only his/herself and his own life in mind.
1 Timothy 6:10
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
When I was in this hyper-saving, can’t-spend-a-penny-outside-my-budget mindset, I thought I was pretty awesome. I thought the amount I had in my savings was a virtuous thing. I thought I was better off than someone who spent a ton of money. Now, I didn’t think these things consciously, but they were definitely beliefs in my subconscious.
Now, reflecting on what I actually believe to be true, and praying about it, I have learned a few things.
Budgeting is important, but it’s not everything. As those proverbs state, wisdom with money is certainly important, because I don’t want to spend it all on myself. A lack of a plan with money is not what I’m called to. But an inability to go out with a friend for coffee who is having a really hard time because I “went over my coffee” budget is not necessary. If that friend really wants Starbucks, I can afford a couple dollars for a coffee– and even think about treating her of course! If this becomes excessive, I may think about inviting that friend for at-home coffee instead, but it doesn’t need to be so wound up in “my budget.” That is where I’m convinced of my conviction that it becomes selfless saving.
It is always better to give than to receive. Jesus Himself says this. And a giver is who Jesus is. And since really recognizing this is as Truth, this importance of giving– I’ve experienced such freedom with money.
Obviously, I’m not going to give all of my money away! Part of the calling I have with money in the society we live is to look after myself, paying bills, and even understanding when I’m meant to bless myself with that money. But knowing that I am blessing myself because I’m honouring God when I bless others with money– also recognizing the privilege it is, but that it’s not everything, is man-made, and temporary– is important.
All things belong to God– including “my” money. It isn’t really mine if everything under Heaven is God’s.
There is a common saying along the lines of “you earned it!” But I would urge you to think critically about everything you hear. As a Christian, I think about this in light of Scripture. My life story, actually, is that I am undeserving of any of the blessings graciously bestowed upon me– it is entirely because of Jesus that I have this life. This is my core belief. And so, when I work, and receive money for that work, I didn’t “earn” it or deserve it as much as I was given it as part of duty: working for the glory of God. And so, I come under Him with my money.
I had an experience in church a few months ago in which I heard God’s voice so clearly.
I don’t experience His audible voice very often, but He was incredibly clear to me about an amount of money I had in my bag that I was called to give to the church that day.
I was tight for money for the month based on the arbitrary budget I had in my head, and going over that budget would usually cause me stress.
Rather, I was overcome by Jesus’ love and very easily gave that money up. I have already watched Him tangibly bless and multiply it, as He promises to.
Since then, I have learned that it’s ok for me to like budgeting. It’s actually a blessing that I enjoy saving. But the Holy Spirit will always speak about generosity, and when He does, it’s always for all good that I listen.
There is also always room, and in Christ, I am literally, actually, truly free from the law. I have learned my fair share about the destruction strict rules can wreak on a person.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Above all, I pray my treasure is in Jesus Christ, and that my heart, then, is fixed on serving Him.