Now that our student loans are paid off, I’ve noticed myself get a little more apathetic in how I spend money. It’s a small thing, but this week I purchased organic (aka more expensive) chicken that’s now past the expiration date and spoiled. While it’s “only” $9 wasted, it’s a simple example of poor stewardship. I’ve noticed similar examples over the last year since we’ve loosened up on our budget.
With this in mind, today I want to discuss my view on the strategy of budgeting even when you don’t “need” to budget. Perhaps you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, or you like where you sit financially. However, I’m convinced having a vision and plan for your spending along with a budget to track your goals can save tons of money and foster healthy stewardship.
Disclaimer: my emphasis in this post is on the ability to be more generous financially when we follow a budget and pursue stewardship. You can use these ideas to help meet other financial goals, as well.
Regardless of your financial circumstance, I think it honors God when we seek to steward our resources well. For Christ-followers, we know our home is not on earth. Instead, we’re called to prepare for our eternal Home while we’re here (Mt. 6:19-21).
I believe as Christians we should have a vision for the finances God entrusts to us. If we know there’s numerous ministries, believers, and non-believers in need, what if we budget so we have more left over to give? Or, better yet, what if instead of thinking in terms of “left over,” we intentionally plan our budget to create margin to give more?
Take groceries for example. I know from experience, a simple budget of setting goals for how much you want to spend/month and then tracking your progress can easily save a family of two $60-100/month. Think about how far $60-$100/month could go towards giving.
I love Compassion International’s ministry of sponsoring children and families to release them from poverty in Jesus’ name. Check out the story, below, and some of the options you could support through this ministry alone:
- Sponsor a Child: $38/month
- Bibles: $10/child
- Water Wells: $34/child
- Food for Malnourished Child: $16
- Help Babies and Moms Survive: $48/month
A joyful announcement turns into near tragedy as a mother grapples with rejection.
The story above is an incredible example of how our resources can change lives. Because someone was generous, the lives of an entire family were changed both physically and spiritually.
You can easily apply this example to several spending categories. Think about how much is spent on clothes and outward appearance. Decorating a home, the house itself, the car we drive, and on and on. I think it can be unhealthy to spend without a plan and/or discipline, or getting too caught up in what we want or feel pressured to have by our culture.
I think stewardship is having a vision for our money and how else it could be used. We live in a industry where billions of dollars are spent annually to make us spend more. If we don’t have a vision, I can guarantee we’re being taken advantage of and the industry is winning. Agree?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy many things I don’t “need,” but I want to be intentional about the root of why and how much I’m spending. Is it to impress someone? Overindulgence? Insecurities? Pride? Or is it really a treat that I’ll enjoy with good motives and a healthy perspective? This looks different for everyone and it’s all about the heart.
I think my main battle is living in America where it’s so unusual to live with these types of thoughts and questions. We need each other to strengthen and encourage one another to live differently. God’s called us to be the Body of Christ for a reason.
For my family, I hope our lives look different 5, 15, 40 years from now in the way we view God’s resources and our purpose on earth. I hope by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that we’re so in love with Jesus, and passionate for others to know Him, that we’re continually transformed in the way we steward God’s resources.
Lastly, I hope this post doesn’t point you to legalism, a moral approach that’s more about “I must give or God will be mad at or punish me” mentality. My desire is for us to be so in love with Jesus that we can’t help but want to be more intentional with this life.
Even as I wrote this post I was convicted of my own tendencies towards legalism. It’s easy to get caught up in what I think is good stewardship for myself and others. I constantly need God’s grace and help to renew my mind and heart in this area.
More to come on topics like this, but I hope this is a good reminder on the importance of stewardship and how it can change our lives…and the lives of others.
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Peace and love to you!