Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘saving’

Saving Money to Save Others

Practicing Stewardship: Saving Money 

Now concerning the collection for the saints…on the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 1 Corinthians 19:1,2

There were great financial needs among the brethren in Jerusalem, and the apostle Paul was asking the saints in Galatia and Corinth (and perhaps elsewhere) to set aside savings that could be brought for the relief of others.

And this is one of the reasons we save – for others.

The discipline of saving is not merely for our temporal security, or our later self-indulgence. It is so that we can help those less fortunate.

As with all matters financial, it all boils down to a matter of the heart. Are we living in faith, with a God-first mentality? Are our fists tightly wrapped around OUR money, or do we hold it with a loose hand, ready to do good for others?

One of our great motivators to earn, and save, and invest, and give, is to honor God by helping others. After all, we serve a generous God – does a careless or stingy spirit represent Him to the world?

It is good to save for large purchases (Luke 14:28). To save for a rainy day (Proverbs 22:3). And, it is good to save in order to save others from want. Those motivations have the commendation of Scripture; and, to adapt a quote from Eric Lidell – when we save, we’ll feel His pleasure.

Read Full Post »

Practicing Stewardship: Saving Money 

lottery I am no fan of lotteries.

Think about it. What is the core of “lottery thinking”? Is it not, “I’m going to get rich quick, apart from hard work and God’s steady blessing”? “I’m going to strike it lucky”?

As the NY Lotto ads in recent years put it: “Hey – you never know!”

So – throw in some bucks and maybe tomorrow you’ll be filthy rich. Right? Easy-peasy.

What a crock. Anyone who runs a lottery knows this – the odds are never in YOUR favor. But that’s not even the main point.

Nowhere in the Scriptures does God encourage lottery thinking when it comes to work, earning, saving, and investing. Trust in God’s blessing – yes. Diligence – yes. Steady progress – yes (Proverbs 13:11). Throwing away money on million-to-one odds? I don’t see it.

We are stewards of every dollar we earn (or are given). Is God pleased when we sink any of it into get-rich-quick schemes? Are we not, in this case, guilty of loving money?

There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up. -Proverbs 21:20

Wisdom is in the path of careful stewardship of resources, not finding some shortcut to wealth. Do you have any idea how many of these get-rich-quick lottery winners end up losing it all? Easy come, easy go, when a spirit of wisdom and self-discipline are not joined to wealth.

And don’t buy the dodge that it’s all for a good cause, for the increase of some education budget or other. The means don’t justify the end.

Instead of being conformed to the world’s way of thinking, we do well to follow the perspectives Paul laid out in his first letter to Timothy, chapter 6:6-10

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Lottery thinking is rooted in discontent. Discontent with our daily provision, and discontent with God’s approved, and wise (and typically long-term), way of creating wealth.

Save your money, and save yourself the heartache of pinning your hopes on games of chance. Wealth minus wisdom is a pathway to poverty.

photo credit: Lisa Brewster via photopin cc

Read Full Post »

Practicing Stewardship: Saving Money *

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” Proverbs 13:22

Selfish people don’t think about the future. Godly people seek to make provision for both the current and future needs of their families.

One way that we do that is through responsible saving. Storing up, not out of a materialistic hoarding instinct, but in order to bless those we are responsible for – first and foremost, our families.

This mindset, of course, isn’t just for future generations – it’s for right now as well:

If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

Strong words. In the context, Paul is urging each family to take care of its own, lest the old or infirm become a burden on others. And in the broader context, it is clear that Paul is condemning a lifestyle of idleness and irresponsibility, which can only lead to further sin.

Now, let’s face it – many of us struggle to meet the weekly bills, let alone be able to set aside much of an inheritance. I don’t think we should wallow in guilt if we’re working hard, taking care of our family, and doing the best we can to live in a financially responsible way. The best inheritance we can give our children and grandchildren is a great example of godly diligence. But it’s not wrong – it’s good – to save up something for the welfare of our future generations. Who knows, but that the inheritance we leave behind may be invested by our children to bring forth a hundred- or a thousand-fold for the kingdom of God!

—–

* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 9, considering the role of prudently saving (though not hoarding) money. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

Read Full Post »

Practicing Stewardship: Saving Money *

If you think life is predictable, you probably haven’t lived long enough yet. Anyone out there had a nice, ever-growing, smooth path of uninterrupted financial prosperity?

I didn’t think so.

There are twists and turns. There are seasons of plenty, and seasons of want. There are droughts, storms, downsizings – there are both predictable and unpredictable periods of financial income.

I’ve been through most of those. Though not the “swimming in wealth” part. Still waiting on that one… :>}

So, what are we to do? Do we save up? Or just leave it all up to God and pretend that we have no responsibility to plan?

That approach can be made to sound like faith, but in fact, it’s a cop-out form of bad stewardship.

We saw from Proverbs chapter 6:6-11 that the lowly ant gathers and stores up provisions for times of want. This is contrasted with being an imprudent and lazy sluggard, and thereby suffering want.

I don’t think I want the following engraved on my tombstone: “Outworked by ants, he starved through stupidity.”

Similarly, from Proverbs 10:4,5 – Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.

It’s really not hard to figure out, by mere common observation, that there is a time of harvest, preceded by a time of preparation, and followed by a time of lack. And although most of us no longer live in an agrarian society, where such climate/weather patterns are regular, the principle is unchanged – we must be diligent to work and earn and save while we can, because it’s almost inevitable that there will be lean times.

Responsibly saving money is godly prudence, not lack of faith. God commends our careful and diligent saving, so that we can provide for ourselves, our families, and others in times of need. The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control, which extends to the way we handle money.

Nowhere in the Scriptures will you find God giving a command such as, “Spend without thought or self-discipline, and just trust me for the bad times!” That’s presumption, not faith.

The reality is, we’ll have financial dips in life, and so will others. The good steward has already made ready by setting funds aside.

Trust and work. Trust and earn. Trust and save.

—–

* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 9, considering the role of prudently saving (though not hoarding) money. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

Read Full Post »

Where Your Treasure Is…

Practicing Stewardship: Saving Money *

Jesus warned people against having their hearts “owned” by money – that is, money becomes your highest treasure, your chief pursuit:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

In other words, if you just live for this world – its goods and pleasures and treasures – you’re in deep trouble. Because you are worshipping an idol – “stuff.” And that stuff decays and goes away – just as you will.

Instead, we are to seek God first and foremost, and our treasure is to be His smile. We live to please Him, whether that brings us wealth, or poverty, on earth. Because earth-time is very short compared to eternity.

Our hearts are made to treasure God. We are degraded and foolish when we seek to store up – selfishly and faithlessly – this world’s goods. If you live for stuff, your religious “-ism” is materialism.

So – does that mean we should avoid the practice of saving money? In a word, no. It means we are to avoid worshipping and loving money.

But that doesn’t mean a believer is reckless about money. The Bible is clear that an essential part of good stewardship is the practice of saving. Saving is driven by a wise and prudent understanding of the reality of life.

Biblical Saving

Here’s the main thing at the foundation of all of our practice – are we saving? Or hoarding? Is all that we are, and all that we possess, surrendered to God? The Bible is very clear on this – we cannot love God and money. It’s either/or.

The selfish miser is bankrupt before God (hello, Ebenezer Scrooge!). God saves us, first of all, from our idolatry. Only then do we become able to save money responsibly, for the right reasons and right motives (which we’ll discuss in subsequent posts).

Where is your treasure? Your bank account and your attachment to “stuff” will tell me the story of where your heart truly is.

—–

* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 9, considering the role of prudently saving (though not hoarding) money. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

Read Full Post »