My family’s budget is one of the last things I want to do every year, and thanks to my powers of procrastination it was just finished at the beginning of March. I’m glad it’s done though, because the usefulness of our money depends largely on how we view it and how we use it. This year, I wanted to make sure I was getting the most out of every dollar, and ended up asking four questions about my money.
1. Is my money a gift from God?
This first question is a reminder that any money I have is a gift from God, and this brings me to worship and gratitude. Worship, because it is ultimately God who provides, and gratitude, because he did not have to. Viewing money as a gift helps me to use my money with an “I get to do this” attitude, rather than an “I am entitled to this” attitude.
2. Is my money wise?
Jesus invites us not to worry because of the provision of God the Father. God also offers dozens of suggestions in scripture on how to use our money wisely, most notably in the book of Proverbs. This question leads me to think about how our income can remove our debt, be saved for emergencies, be better used by being wise about purchases, be invested for our long term goals, and serve an eternal purpose.
3. Is my money joyful?
One of the uses of wealth is to enjoy it. Do the members of my household have access to the money we need to relax and recreate? Are we bringing the best food to the party and the best gifts to our friends and family? Am I seeking opportunities to show hospitality (Romans 12:13)?
Using your money to create joy ultimately comes down to this question: Is my money being used to create relationships, or is it being spent only on myself?
4. Is my money eternal?
This may be the last question, but it is the most important one. If your money stops at wise and joyful, it is NOT eternal. This is why giving (often in scripture giving is off the top, and there is precedent of 10 percent) is so important. We can’t take our wealth with us when we die, and the things that we purchase in this life will rot and decay. God calls us to give, and by doing this He has given us an opportunity to put our money to work as a tool for people to see, encounter, and be transformed by Jesus Christ. My money can be used to see people live forever with Jesus in heaven.
To take it deeper, this is why my wife and I give to the local church. We want our money to be eternal, and God uses the local church to proclaim the Gospel in the world. We make sure our giving is:
Regular - Regularity invests my heart in what God is doing around me.
Sacrificial - Seeing people meet Jesus is worth the cost!
Joyful - Seeing my money be used to build the Kingdom of God literally brings me joy.
So as you look at your budget and how you spend your money, where do you see areas of improvement? Is your money a gift of God, seasoned with wisdom, used to build rest and relationship, and used for an eternal purpose?