God knows we can’t fulfill his plan unless our financial needs are met. If we do the work he calls us to, there’s no time to worry. Budget your money, save, serve, and live by faith.
Whatever ministries God has given to you, doing them is a full-time job.
How to make a budget
Making a budget is natural for me. I can do a great job of stretching the income. But I’ve learned that there is a second step in financial management that I ignored much of my life, yet this second step is even more important than budgeting. The second step is living by faith. These two steps should be combined.
It is simple to make a budget. Add together all the income you expect each month. Then you add together all your monthly bills and living expenses. Minimize the first total and maximize the second. For example, if you expect to bring home a total of between $1200 and$1500, go with the $1200 figure. If a utility bill usually runs between $90 and $125 this time of year, go with $125. This way you are prepared for the worst scenario and if the best happens you can rejoice.
Your tithe should be at the top of your budget. Don’t cheat God. Next should be the most important things, such as house payment or rent, car payment, etc. Grocery allowances, clothing expenses, gasoline for car, etc can usually be slimmed down if necessary. Include a small pleasure item or two, but nothing extravagant if your income does not allow it.
Throw your credit cards away if you cannot use them responsibly. That means using them only for things that must be ordered by credit card such as online purchases, purchasing no more than what you have money to cover, and paying the bill each month before interest fees are added. One or two credit card should be sufficient for the above needs. Choose cards that offer reward points that you can use.
How to save money
Savings are easier if they are automatically deducted from your check into a credit union if this is possible at your place of work. Have a special account for emergencies. You may also want to open an account to save for a family vacation, a special project, Christmas, children’s education, etc. If your employer offers a matching retirement savings plan, maximize your deductions into it if you can. Seek investment help from trusted a trusted adviser, especially during times of economic crisis.
Tell yourself that you can only put in, you cannot take out. Make it a challenge to see how much you can save. Even small amounts can add up quickly. $10 plus $2 still equals $12, even with no interest. If your employer is matching $2 as well, it equals $14. Except in emergencies, your savings accounts are off limits except for their intended use. Make removing money for emeregencies a last resort.
How to live by faith
Even with the best management, there is not enough money to cover everything. That is where the second step comes in. Over and over the Scriptures teach that God will take care of his children if they live for him. One of the most important places to apply our faith is in the matter of finances. If we are worried about finances, we will not be free to be all God has called us to be.
God knows that. So he has arranged things so we don’t have to worry. But we are so busy worrying and trying to figure out how we can make more money that we don’t have time to do the work God has called us to do.
The wonderful thing I’ve discovered is that God will always take care of his servants. God has given each of us work to do. That work may include learning to be the best wife we can be, raising our children for him, witnessing of his goodness to our community, teaching a Sunday School class, keeping the nursery at church, doing an excellent job for our employer even if we don’t get recognized for it, or spending hours in intercessory prayer.
How to stop worrying
Whatever ministries God has given to you, doing them is a full-time job. If you do them as God has called you to do them, you will not have time to worry. Worry takes time away from God’s work.
Oh, you may spend 24 hours a day being a wife. But how much time do you spend working toward being the wife God has called you to be, actively with your mind? Or do you put your mind to worrying about how you are going to pay the bills (or fretting over what your husband has/has not done). I’ve learned if I will actively with my mind concentrate on being what God wants me to be, I have no time left over for fretting about anything.
So that leaves me with one alternative when it comes to finances. I must trust God for what I don’t have time to worry about. This does not excuse us from making a budget and sticking to it. We can’t expect God to bless us if we spend our money unwisely. But we are not to fret if we find there is not enough money to cover the budget.
God instructed the priests to carry the ark of the covenant into the water as they marched toward the promised land. He promised to part the water as they stepped into it
“Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD — the Lord of all the earth — set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap'” (Joshua 39-13 NIV).
Here is what happened when the priests started walking into the water (which was at flood stage and flowing swiftly, and could pull them into the current and drown them if they stepped into it.)
“Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” (Joshua 315-17 NIV).
God has promised to take care of your needs too. “So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 631-34 NIV).
Step into the water. God is not going to part the water until you do. But as you keep walking into the water that God has called you to enter, he will make a way for you to do what he has called you to do. God knows you cannot accomplish his will unless your financial needs are met.
If God is dealing with you about a certain amount he expects you to give as your tithe, and you are holding back because you feel there is not enough money to tithe, you are getting it backward. If you are busy about his work, giving him your time and money from the top instead of from the bottom, he will make sure your needs are met so you are free to do the work!
Sound impossible? It is. But God is master of the impossible. I challenge you to try it by faith. Stop worrying and start serving God.
Questions for thought
- How much time do you spend worrying?
- How much time do you spend doing the work God has called you to do?
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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted