April 23, 2012
What My Checkbook Says About Me
"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty." Proverbs 11:24 (NIV 1984)
Imagine walking into church one day to discover all your financial information on display. Your check register is copied as a bulletin insert. Your bank statement is in the pastor's PowerPoint presentation and his message is based on how you spent your money last week. Some people would sprint out the back door, horrified at the thought of their spending habits being exposed!
The way we handle money - how we earn it, spend it and give it away - shows what's important to us. A peek inside our checkbooks will tell what we value.
In the early years of my marriage, our checkbook definitely revealed the truth about what I valued and trusted ... and it wasn't God. My husband wanted to give 10% of our income to the church, and I continually talked him out of it, bargaining the percentage down with the promise of increasing it over time.
My lack of faith (in God and my husband) screamed through the entries in my check register.
Years later, I finally gave in to my husband's repeated requests to tithe. Sadly, it wasn't with serene faith and confidence. Rather, I secretly believed I'd be able to say, "I told you so" once and for all.
Imagine my surprise when God proved Himself faithful in spite of my unfaithfulness.
I learned a life-changing lesson: God can be trusted. Listening to great sermons didn't teach me this. Hearing how God answered my friend's prayer didn't teach me this. I had to learn it for myself. And one of the best ways to experience God's trustworthiness is to trust Him with our money.
Though many of us are uncomfortable talking about money, the Bible has over 2,000 verses referring to it. God knows that how we manage this necessary part of life is important to being an effective Christian because we practice obedience in an area few see.
Holding on to our money with an open hand shows we trust God. He's given us everything we have: our health, our jobs, our homes and our financial resources. Giving back to Him shows we trust that His Word is true, and we trust God to provide for our needs.
At the very heart of the whole issue of giving money to God is whether or not He can be trusted. The answer is "yes!" God can be trusted! Today, through the grace of God, my checkbook lines up with my words.
Dear Lord, You are worthy of all my trust. Forgive the times I doubt You and choose to trust myself. Thank You for giving me another chance to obey Your request to give with a generous heart. Help me to be a woman who lives out her faith in her checkbook and with her words. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This devotion is adapted from the Bible study, 6 Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer. It's ideal for individual or small group use.
I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer
Learning to Live Financially Free by Marybeth Whalen
Reflect and Respond:
Why would obeying God with our money teach us to "put God first"?
Take a look at your bank statement or check register for the past few months. What do your spending habits (and what you don't spend money on) say about your values?
Deuteronomy 14:23b, "The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." (LB)
Malachi 3:10, "'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.'" (NIV)
© 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 23 April 2012.