Monday, March 19, 2012

Money Monday: God's Standards

On Money Monday I share ways I'm learning to save, make and or spend money wisely.

With this being the season of Lent, and the focus being on spiritual things more so now, I began to wonder how necessary thinking about money and spending really is to the Christian life. Maybe I'm just wanting to learn about finances and all because I'm obsessed with living comfortably and having all that I want some day. While that may be true (And God help me let go!), my initial thoughts about the need to be a good steward of our money were confirmed this morning.

I was looking at an Orthodox overview of the ten commandments - a tool for preparing for confession. It asks various questions in relation to each commandment. For the eighth commandment, "You shall not steal." there were some questions that made God's standards obvious to me: Have I paid my debts? Was I living within my income, and not wastefully and extravagantly? Have I given to charitable causes in proportion to my means?

These points validate what I had already thought about God's standards with money. This article also gave some good points. Below are the standards I want to adopt for our family:

1. Everything is God's and from God. We need to hold our money and possessions with open hands, accepting and letting go as God brings or takes away.
2. God wants us to live debt-free. I will have a whole post on this next week.
3. We need to live within our means. Just because we want something doesn't mean we should buy it, even if we have the money. Maybe we can't really afford to spend that money on a "want" rather than a "need." Also, maybe we won't have the money for the costs related to the wanted object (like higher insurance with a new car).
4. We need to be giving with our money. This one is tricky because then one asks, "How much?" I will explore this in another post - it is something that I often ponder about.
5. Make careful decisions with how money is used. It's important to pray about financial matters, big purchases, or business endeavors. It's important to not be impulsive or indulgent (although I feel there can be some (planned) room for this. I know sometimes I feel suffocated by all the "don'ts/can'ts".)

The conclusion of the article I mentioned above summarizes the goal:

"He [God] has clear ideas of how He wants His people to function and to make use of His possessions—ideas that result in financial freedom for His people, if they are followed step by step."

To have financial freedom is what my husband and I want for us and our family... the ability to have and use money in a way that does not control us, but simply provides for us and others in a way that glorifies God.

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