In this day and age, we spend, spend, spend. Why? Do we really think that the more we spend money, the better we'll feel? If it does make us feel good, it's only temporary. Our over-stuffed closets and garages bear witness to how quickly those things lose their emotional luster. What a waste!
But what ARE we expected to spend money on?
Giving to the work of the Lord
Because it is God who provides what we have, then it only follows that we should do with it what He wants. One of the best ways to show Him your thankfulness is to spend money on the work of the Lord. Proverbs 3:9 says, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops". This means that giving to the Lord's work should be a priority. If your heart isn't into it, pray that it will be. Stepping out in faith in this area is very fulfilling in ways you can't fathom. It must be experienced to be understood.
Of course, there are many ways to give. You should give to your church to keep that ministry alive and running smoothly. You could also fund your own ministry opportunities as a way of doing your part. There are numerous charities that perform ministries that you may have a heart for, but simply cannot be involved with for one reason or another. If God has laid that ministry on your heart but you can't become directly involved, spend your money there. It is needed. And what a blessing it is to see those ministries grow and thrive and fulfill God's purposes!
Providing for the needs of your household
Okay, so this is a no-brainer! You have to pay your mortgage or rent, buy the groceries, pay your utilities, keep everyone clothed. No-kidding!
Surprisingly enough, there are people who are so self-absorbed, they don't take care of these things, even for their own children! I have known of husbands who make a lot of money, but expect their at-home wives and children to live on next to nothing, while they spend money on cars and personal vacations! Dirty, worn-out clothes and Top Ramen for the family, steak and fancy cars for the dad. Unbelievable!
I Timothy 5:8 says, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Basic needs simply must be met. Period. End of story.
If you've used credit cards or loans to get you through some tough times, to pay for a car or remodel the kitchen, or to help your child pay for college, it's imperative that you spend money on repaying those debts and free yourself of the encumbrance. As Proverbs 22:7b states, "the borrower is servant to the lender." Isn't that the truth!
It's too easy to get caught in the current mentality that debt is how you pay for things --- It's a part of life. WRONG! Borrowing money to pay for things you really don't need is like a sickness in our society. You don't have to have it now! And once you go into debt for those things, it becomes a vicious cycle. You're no longer in control of your own life. Someone else owns you. That's why we call it Financial Bondage.
Repay those debts. Even if it means you have to "dig ditches until midnight" (as Dave Ramsey puts it) to do it. Gain your freedom once again!
Giving to the needs of others
There are periods when friends or loved ones fall on hard times and simply cannot make ends meet. How good it feels to step in and help! Just knowing you can be a blessing to others is its own reward. When it's up close and personal, you get to see how wise it was for you to spend money on benefiting someone special.
The flipside is, of course, that "someday" when it's YOU who falls on hard times. That's a time when you learn to trust the Lord, you grow, and you find out how much others in your life care about you when they give to your need. It's a blessing to them to give to you, just as it's a blessing for you to give to others when they have a need. That's just how it works.
Proverbs 14:31 says, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
Developing a savings plan
Sometimes, spending money on a savings plan seems so out of reach. We've got so many bills to pay, our paycheck barely stretches across the day-to-day expenses.
The reason most people don't even begin a savings plan is because they think they have to set aside a huge chunk of money in order to make any progress. But this simply isn't so. Even a mere $10 a month will turn into money you'll need in the future that you wouldn't otherwise have. Proverbs even says so. Take a look:
"Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow." (13:11) If God says it works, believe it!
How you spend money determines how you save money.
How you spend money is also the key to achieving other critical goals and attaining a sense of fulfillment in your life. Let's make sure you get it right!
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