If you have money it can be used to get the things you desire and it seems the more money you have, the more you spend. I have often quoted this:
You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.Winston Churchill
So what are you most focused on: Making a living or making a life?
Deep within most Christians, there is a desire to please God, but we typically do not relate pleasing God with money? My initial thought about pleasing God is considering my behaviour, just doing what is good and saying what uplifts others. I desire to please God in every area of my life and especially with my use of money.
In a recent blog, I referenced the key to pleasing God being faith and the Bible makes this so plain: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Some might look at this and ask: What does that have to do with how I use money? A great question. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the faith chapter, which reviews many of the faith heroes and how they invested their lives. They looked to something better, something invisible (requiring faith to see it), something eternal.
The first example given is Abel, who made an offering to God, which was acceptable because it involved faith on his part (see Hebrews 11:4). The point being that he gave first without knowing if there would be a second-born or a third-born. Compare this to his brother Cain; his offering was in the course of time and was rejected. The difference: Abel’s offering involved faith and Cain’s lacked faith and was rejected by God. It seems that Cain only gave when he saw the supply of his crops, or when he could afford to give (in the course of time). I am challenged when I think about this because it causes me to question my own financial priorities. Do I give in the course of time, when I have enough, or is giving a top priority?
One point that is easily overlooked is that Abel “still speaks through his faith.” In other words, his offering in faith is talking to us if we will listen. What, then, is being said? Could it possibly have anything to do with our use of money today?
Think about how you can use money:
- To Live – Probably the greatest priority and where the majority of a person’s or couple’s money goes is toward lifestyle. Often when a raise or bonus comes, an increase in lifestyle is the result!
- To Give – in my experience, I have found that giving is probably the last on the list of priorities, especially when a person is starting out, with so many other financial commitments.
- Owe (debt) – using debt to purchase a home or car is often a priority, which creates an obligation to repay. In a sense, debt is really an extension of lifestyle (when we don’t have enough money we borrow to get the things we desire). Maintaining a good credit score is important so on-time repayment becomes a definite priority.
- Owe (taxes) – Most have taxes withheld from their pay, so in that sense the government makes taxes the top priority.
- Grow – Saving money can be a challenge and people often consider a mortgage (debt) a forced savings plan, but saving little by little is one of the secrets to wealth.
Is it possible that Abel is “still speaking” about our priorities in this life and that in order please God, faith must be a priority in all our dealings, especially in our financial dealings? It is imperative that we set priorities around how we use money.
Here’s a question to consider: Are these priorities around money sequential or simultaneous? It would be nice to see them in a neat order of 1-5 and always keep the proper order, but the truth is these uses of money pull us in different directions daily, often shifting these priorities. We want to give more and save more but the amount we have to pay in tax and debt or just our chosen lifestyle hinders us from reaching these goals.
Please take a few moments to consider your financial priorities. Does your faith and pleasing God fit into your spending decisions? Could your financial priorities use some adjustments?