Purses with Holes
Haggai 1:5b-6, “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (NIV)
For a long time, I believed that stuff could make me happy. I fell victim to the “never enough” mentality that is prevalent in our culture. I wanted more, more, more. If I got the outfit, I had to have the shoes. If I got the shoes, I had to have the earrings, and on it went. It was never-ending and left my soul exhausted. It was like being in a revolving door but never finding the entrance. I was looking for happiness in all the wrong places, accepting the world’s solutions to a spiritual condition.
My husband had the same condition, unfortunately. He also believed that the right name brand and the right purchases would somehow lead us down the road to happiness. We were a dangerous duo as we indulged in foolish purchases we couldn’t afford and sank deeper into debt. One time I remember deciding to decorate our bathroom in a “golf” theme. In order to get all the right accessories, we headed to a department store and bought a decorative trashcan that cost $25. For a trashcan! On credit!
Today’s verse from Haggai says to give careful thought to our actions. This was truly our first step in digging out of debt. We had to step back from the situation and assess how we got there. We had to look at our attitudes about material things and examine the condition of our hearts. We had to learn from God where true joy and peace can be found. We had to stop believing the lie that things would make us happy, and embrace the truth of what storing up treasure in heaven (Matthew ) really means.
Then we had to assess how to get out of debt. We had to set measurable objectives to knock out our debt piece-by-piece. Dave Ramsey says you have to get intense about becoming debt-free. We had to get to a place of willingness to let go of our pride and our expectations. We had to be willing to do whatever it took for as long as it took. Digging out of debt had to be about complete surrender and committed sacrifice, or it never would have worked.
We had to stop putting our money in purses with holes. We had to let go of the mentality of “never enough” and say to God, “You are enough.” Our journey to debt-free living has been as much a spiritual journey as a financial one. It has allowed us to be more unified as a couple on a lot of levels. Once you learn how to talk about money, you find other conversations are much easier as well.
Was it easy? No. Was it quick? No. And yet, it has resulted in blessings we could not have imagined. If you are in debt and want out of the “never enough” mentality, I urge you to stop putting your treasure in purses with holes. Seek help from organizations like Crown Financial, or Dave Ramsey’s organization included in the resource section below. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life.
Dear Lord, I know I need Your help to stop spending and to place my treasure with You. Please help me to be mindful of Your ways and to be wise in all my financial decisions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
For help getting out of debt, visit the Dave Ramsey organization online.
Five Star Living on a Two Star Budget by Feinberg and Gillespie
What actions can you take that will change your financial outlook? Write down three things you can do and make an effort to actually do them in the next few days. This may mean calling a financial counselor, reading verses on money, or cutting up your credit cards.
Are you are in a good place with your finances?
If so, is there someone in your life that could benefit from your wise counsel? Pray that God would give you the opportunity to reach out to them in a non-threatening way.
Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Proverbs 23:4-5, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Monday, 26 February 2007.