“Wisdom plans…knowing God can bless a mess, but normally blesses a plan.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 6, 2023
The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. Matthew 25:16
Money manages people or people manage money. It is a productive servant, but a dreadful master. Thus, a financial plan is necessary to organize assets around a system to spend, give and save. Simple processes offer checks and balances to keep the checkbook balanced, avoid debt, pay taxes, stay accountable to not overspend, be generous, and prepare not to presume on the future. Our Heavenly Father entrusts us with His material blessings to be wise managers.
Perhaps you start by recording all your expenditures over a month. Watch closely how much it takes you to live, and save receipts from everything: coffee, gasoline, books, magazines, food, eating out, medical, house, and car repair. Store the amount of the receipts on a budgeting app or spreadsheet. This discipline to details gives you a realistic understanding of what it costs to live. You may discover the need to designate more funds to areas that are subtle spending costs.
“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer” (Proverbs 30:24-25).
Like the tiny ant, we are extremely wise to define our needs and prepare a financial plan to facilitate good outcomes. For example, God expects and blesses generosity. Giving marks mature followers of Jesus. So, maybe start by giving 10% of your income before taxes to the Lord’s work. Save 5% in a short-term contingency account and 5% for long-term savings. Now you are positioned to spend responsibly after investing in what’s most important. Wisdom plans…knowing God can bless a mess, but normally blesses a plan.
I admire C.S. Lewis’s honesty in swaying back and forth between depending on God and not finances, and the fear of not having enough…such freedom for all of us to live in the tension, “One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God… I’m a panic-y person about money myself (which is a most shameful confession and a thing dead against Our Lord’s words) and poverty frightens me more than anything else except large spiders and the tops of cliffs: one is sometimes even tempted to say that if God wanted us to live like the lilies of the field, He might have given us an organism more like theirs! But of course, He is right. And when you meet anyone who does live like the lilies, one sees that He is.”
Above all, be prayerful and nimble in your approach to financial planning. Make sure the plan serves your priorities, if it doesn’t, modify the plan to meet your needs. Every season is different, so be aware of how you must adjust. For example, you may have to choose between private education now for your child or a college fund for later. Don’t put unrealistic pressure on your family to do both if it erases your financial margin or dips into debt. A financial plan is a freedom from stuff in trusting the Lord’s provision.
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).
Heavenly Father, lead me by Your Spirit to plan and manage well Your material blessings, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider an online course in biblical financial management like Compass.
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