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Money seems to determine where we go, what we do, and who we know. The Bible tells us that money doesn't buy happiness, but clearly, it can buy things that bring us joy. Money enables us to give, experience new things in life, and live more comfortably to focus on our passions. So how can we appreciate the blessings of money and still acknowledge that our true source of happiness is not of this world? We can start by letting go of our guilt about money.
You might think you have the opposite problem because you spend too much on frivolous things. But that is often a symptom of guilt in itself. We are meant to use the fruits of our labor with intention, and when we think that means nothing "fun," then sometimes we give up and spend callously. Let's look at what the Bible says about money and its purpose beyond giving and saving.
A good general rule for our budgets is: give first, save second, and live on the rest. If you're thinking, "How will I know how to divide and manage that?" then you should start with a simple budget plan. Once you know how much you have to spend, the next step is to look at how you will spend it. Most of us go through periods of life where it's clear what we should spend on because we only have enough to cover the necessities. And no matter how little we have, our true riches lie in the grace we receive through Jesus. He offers us new hope, whether we are in wealth or hardship. When we work hard and have the blessing of a greater income, we shouldn't ignore the opportunities that money provides. It's smart and biblical to save for our futures, but some of us interpret that to mean we should hoard all our "extra" money. Well, I think that mentality is unhealthy to our mindset and can hold us back from using our money for God's will. So the next obvious option is to give the rest of our money away. Sometimes that is the right choice if God calls us to give in that way. However, the way we give is not always monetary. The Bible tells us all to give from our earnings, but He may also call us to spend some of our money on other things that will help us grow.
You might wonder, how is a leisure activity or a new computer a "godly" purchase? Even if that computer is purely for personal use, it could make it easier for you to learn and connect with the world. That fun event could open doors to deep connections and help you let go of stress. We know we shouldn't spend money on things that are addictive and harmful because, in the long run, they won't lift our spirits or point to our purpose. And when we wrap our lives around keeping our money close, that can become an addiction of its own. God wants us to enjoy life, and it's not about selfishness when our aim is for His glory.
"Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil - this is a gift of God." - Ecclesiastes 5:19
The Bible tells us, "do not store up treasures on earth" because God knows we are prone to distraction by achievement. We may spend too much money or too little when our eyes are on worldly prizes. Whether we overspend on meaningless items or save every penny for a distant future, we don't know when we could lose it all. The one thing we do know is that we are here to spread the light of Jesus. The way we do that is in our individual decisions. The next time you have money left in your budget, ask yourself, "how can I use this to follow Jesus in my authentic way?" Maybe there's a project you want to contribute to or a place you want to explore to know the world better. Maybe it's something smaller, like a nice dinner with a friend or a new book. A great way to narrow things down is to write a list of wants and their reason. If the reason moves you forward or enriches your daily life, that purchase may be a good investment. Follow up those convictions with prayer. If God leads you to give more of your money to others, you will find contentment with less for yourself. If He leads you to save more for a specific goal, you will find peace in patience. What matters is that we don't base our decisions on fear; we have freedom when we base them on faith and wisdom.
"Keep your lives free from love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.