As a mom, I want my children to have a firm grasp on money as they grow. Of course I’m not speaking in the literal sense, with their fists clenching wads of bills; but rather the concepts and principles of the use of money, saving, spending, and good stewardship. As a Christian, what better place to get that guidance than the scripture? In a search through the Bible, I’ve found three basic purposes for money to teach to them—and share with you here.
1. To Provide Basic Needs
Amazingly, we only need a few items to maintain our lives—food, clothing, and shelter. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us not to worry about such things:
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. – Matthew 6:31-33
God makes no other such promises in the scripture. He never promises to provide us with a vehicle, a washing machine, or a cell phone. But by trusting him for our basic provisions, and praying for them daily, we come to deepen our love for and trust in the Lord. And then those extra things that we are able to purchase become blessings, not expectations.
Give us this day our daily bread. – Matthew 6:11
If we cultivate a sense of contentment in our lives, ceasing to strive for more and better and bigger, then we no longer feel a need to fill emotional voids with stuff. We will also quit expecting to have things that we really do not need.
By altering our expectations to include only the basic needs, then when God does provide other things for us, we grow a grateful heart and attitude toward Him and others in our lives. This new-found place is known as contentment.
Having food and raiment let us be therewith content. – 1 Timothy 6:8
2. To Give to Others
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. – Luke 6:38
I don’t need to expound on this. The principle of giving is throughout God’s word and ingrained in us from the time we are little children. Hopefully, giving to those less fortunate than ourselves is already a part of our lives. However, giving comes in two forms—from our abundance and sacrificially.
In 2 Corinthians 8, the church was encouraged to share out of their abundance “that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” Then we have the story of the poor widow who put two mites into the offering:
Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. –Matthew 12:43-44
The point of balance between giving from one’s abundance and giving sacrificially is something each person much find, through prayer, for themselves.
3. To Provide Direction
Often we are faced with a spending decision that brings turmoil. School starts soon and I don’t have all I need to pay for the first semester. Obviously, I need to take out a student loan, right? Maybe not. Maybe that lack of funds is an indication that I chose the wrong school. Or maybe it’s the wrong time to start school. Sometimes we go with the flow without truly seeking God’s will or direction for our lives. If we purpose not to use credit or go into debt, then God can use finances to guide us in our decision making.
Here’s another example. The engine blows in my car. I have $5,000 saved in my car fund. But the car that I think would be perfect is $7,000. I could put down $2,000 and finance the rest, pay it off in two years and use the other $5,000 I saved for something else. But I have to ask myself, “Is God trying to steer me to buy a $5,000 car?”
Maybe I don’t have a direct scripture for this principle; but there is “Owe no man anything, but to love one another” in Romans 13:8. If I purpose to live by this verse, God could use my funds, or lack thereof, to lead me in my purchasing decisions. And often this will be a test of my will and patience.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way…” – Psalm 37:7