The last two weeks we have been exploring the topic “Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity.” We’ve looked at how the American Dream has shifted over the last several decades. It once was the dream of each generation to leave behind a better world and lifestyle for those that followed. That dream was pursued through self sacrifice, self denial, delayed gratification, hard work, and saving. At some point it began to change, as the world pressed in and insisted that we should have what we want when we want it, whether we can afford it or not. Simultaneously our culture began to teach us that we should want much more than we presently have. The consequence has been a move toward larger houses, more stuff, and a rapidly increasing debt load that threatens to undo us. The American Dream has become somewhat of a nightmare.
We talked about the higher purpose that we have as followers of Christ: the purpose of loving God with heart, mind, soul, and strength; loving neighbor as ourselves, and making the kingdom of God real and visible on earth. All decisions we make, in all areas of our lives, including our finances, are meant to be subservient to that purpose. Every decision, including those related to our money, is a spiritual decision.
The Bible teaches us an appropriate approach to managing our money. This approach leads us to adopt six principles that can enable us to handle our finances more faithfully and wisely:
- Paying our tithes and offerings to God first
- Creating a budget and tracking our expenses
- Simplifying our lifestyle and living below our means
- Establishing an emergency fund so we do not need to use credit in emergency situations
- Paying off our credit cards
- Practicing long term savings and investing habits
If you were in worship you received these principles on a plastic cling that you can affix to a mirror or any slick surface. It includes key Bible verses that support each principle.
Next Sunday join us as we look at number 3 in depth: simplifying our lifestyle, and learning to live with contentment for all we have already been given.
God cares about every area of our lives, even our finances. Maybe especially our finances, since it tends to be of great importance to us. And Christ who loves us with a love that will never let us go will, if we allow it, reach into our hearts and remove from us the desire for all the “stuff” that can get between us and God. He is the great heart changer, and with his help, we can move toward a life of security and hope that are grounded not in what we have but in who we are in the eyes of our gracious and powerful God.
Blessings and Peace