June 27, 2008
Show Me the Money
“Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!”
Psalm 119:36 (NLT)
Of all the furniture I purchased early in my marriage, I have only one piece left: an antique oak china cabinet.
I hold on to it because it represents many of my life’s values, especially those relating to financial matters.
When it came time for my husband and me to “set up house,” we had no money for lamps, end tables, pictures, or rugs. We had to make a plan. What would we purchase first? How much would we pay? What was necessary? What was not? When could we even make the purchases? We had no money!
First we both had to find jobs, go to work, pay the necessary bills, save a bit, and pile up a few dollars for the items on our list. Let me add that giving to our church and charities fit into our financial plans also.
Putting our heads together, we made a list of necessary items. We prioritized and estimated costs. Then we wrote how long it would take to save until we could purchase the washer, table, couch, lamp, or sound system.
As we plotted our course and followed the path that first year, we laid down a foundation for future financial strategies, procedures we’ve consistently practiced throughout our marriage.
So what does the china cabinet have to do with my financial values?
The bottom line for our financial strategy became, “show me the money.” If we didn’t have the money in hand – the actual cash – we could not seal the deal.
One day while browsing antique shops with friends I spotted an antique cabinet I liked. Once I saw it, I found it hard to move on. Of course the price tag depressed me. I had no money to show. Later that night I told my husband about it. He shook his head. It wasn’t on the list.
So, do I ever get to buy the things I want? Of course! I remind myself of our family agreement: Show me the money.
SHOW – Has the store’s SHOW case or marketing techniques tempted me?
Rule #1 Never make unplanned purchases, even if you’re thinking, “I have been on the lookout for this.” If that is the case, it should be on your list.
ME- Is this about ME or the best interests of the family or community?
Rule #2 God didn’t give us money just to make us feel good. When it comes to money topics in the Bible, money is used for things like personal care, giving to others, and paying taxes.
THE – What is THE purpose for the purchase?
Rule #3 Treat money as if it were a serious tool to be used for the following: glorifying God, providing for the family, and serving others.
MONEY- Do I have the MONEY for this? If not, what can I do to get the money?
Rule #4 This rule is so simple it hurts. When there is no money, there is no shopping.
So how did I end up with the antique oak china cabinet? Because I had not spotted a table (we ate off a card table and camping chairs for many months), we agreed to slip the cabinet onto the list, replacing the kitchen table and chairs. Each week I set aside $10. Eventually I returned to the antique store, gave the owner the cash, and loaded up what is now one of our family heirlooms - the little chest that taught me the value of financial planning.
Dear Father, everything I have is Yours. Help me to use it wisely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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If you struggle financially, consider looking at your past six month’s spending habits. Track and categorize your expenditures. You may be amazed how much money you spend frivolously that could be saved for important purchases.
Does window shopping or catalog browsing tempt me?
Do I need to give up those pastimes?
How much money could I give to my church or non-profit organizations if I curbed my spending habits?
Proverbs 21:20, “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.” (NLT)
Matthew 6:24, “You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.” (MSG)
© 2008 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 27 June 2008.