“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
The other day my eyes caught sight of my garbage can and I was reminded of a Biblical truth. That may seem strange, but I was admiring my simple, black garbage can. My husband had just gone out and bought it for our family. It was the perfect size and had no extravagant parts that would break with five people in the house who aren’t the easiest on garbage cans. You see, our previous garbage can with the fancier foot pedal and flip-up top had broken a while back and we had been using it like that for a few weeks because, honestly, I was too cheap to go out and replace it. The Biblical truth I’m learning from my garbage can is this: Bigger, brighter, more expensive isn’t always better.
Sometimes I think we can spend all our time rushing around trying to own the latest and greatest gadgets, either to keep up with everyone else, impress our friends, or just because they glitter and look awesome. However, if we’re on a tight budget, we have to ask ourselves this: Is that new gadget really worth the time and money that will be involved if and/or when it breaks? I was talking with a friend the other day and couldn’t believe how much it cost to replace the on/off switch on her cell phone. I have no idea if it would cost significantly less for a cheaper phone, but I was shocked. In addition, what about the fancy car where everything is digital and high tech? I can only imagine the price tag that comes with that when one piece of equipment fails.
God talks a lot in the Bible about being content with what you have, that all blessings come from Him, and also about spending wisely – how we spend our time, our talents, and our income. If we’re living an obedient life and God has richly blessed us, there’s nothing wrong with going out and enjoying something bigger, better, and brighter once in a while. However, if our lifestyle doesn’t measure up to God’s standards, then maybe it’s time to readjust our priorities.
There are many standards that God gives to us regarding money but I’m only going to touch on three today. The first way of using our money is to help out those around us. When we see a need and we’re capable of filling it, God wants us to help out. Deuteronomy 24:19 says, “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (NIV). We may not harvest fields in 2013, but there are many ways we can practice this principle. Giving away our children’s outgrown clothes to a single parent, making an extra meal for someone who is sick, financially supporting a foster care agency in the community, or buying presents at Christmastime for families who are having financial hardships.
The second guideline God gives to us regards leaving an inheritance for our children and their children and so on. Proverbs 13:22 tells us, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” (NIV). I don’t think God is only referring to monetary inheritance here, but as I spoke about above, God instructs us on how to spend not just our money but our time and our talents. As nice as it is to leave a monetary inheritance for our children and their children, it’s even better to leave a spiritual legacy of faithfulness to our families, serving in our community and churches, and helping out those less fortunate than us, piggybacking on the guideline we talked about above.
Now, I’m not suggesting we deprive ourselves of all fun. I Timothy 6:17 talks about that very thing. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (NIV).
When we have lined our spending up with God’s principles and guidelines (taken care of our debt, helped out those in need, and are working on leaving an inheritance for the future of our family), it’s nice to save some money and spend it on something we’re going to enjoy.
The purpose of this post is just to remind us all to take a few minutes and explore the reason behind our decisions. Before purchasing something on the high end, are we considering our expenses and how they line up with our income, the need versus want factor of our desired purchase, and the why behind it – is it to impress others, to keep up with our friends, or just because it’s something we have always wanted? When our priorities and most importantly our heart is where God wants it, then we can feel free to indulge ourselves once in a while guilt free, which is much better than cringing every time the mail comes for fear of the credit card statement.
All this because I was admiring our less involved, simple garbage can.
Copyright 2013: Cheri Swalwell