Truly Life: Part 2
How did you do this past week? Did you begin practicing the commands from Paul? If you are like me, there is a good chance you forgot the charge the minute you closed your browser. If you need a refresher or were unable to join us last week, take a minute to read Part 1 of this discussion.
In short, we are looking at practical ways to deal with being rich. Don’t think you are off the hook if you have deemed yourself “poor.” We have already established all of us are rich. Allowing the truths from 1 Timothy 6 to sink in will give a good foundation for the rest of this discussion.
We need money to live and function in this world. Unless you want to go to jail for stealing, we must use our own money to make purchases. Obviously. Money in and of itself is not wrong and is a crucial component to taking care of ourselves and our families. But how do we determine how to spend money? Here are seven things to consider:
- Let the truth in God’s Word reshape your view of money. Your belief about money and therefore your actions with money will either be defined by God or the world; there are no other options. Invest in what the Bible teaches about money and let God shape your beliefs. This takes continual investment. Go to God’s word for truth.
- Is this a need or a want? We have all been guilty of standing in a closet full of clothes, just short of throwing a tantrum, declaring, “I have nothing to wear!” Do you really have nothing to wear? If this were the case we would be having an entirely different discussion. Before going to the mall or the internet or wherever else you purchase common items, decide if this is a need or want. I would say about 90% of the time our purchases are wants. That is not to say the item should be rejected but it helps us keep our emotions about the purchase in perspective.
- Just because an item is on sale does not mean you need to buy it. Thanks, Dad. Dare I say we have all been here as well? You are looking at a product that is fine but the minute you find out it is on sale, you cannot live without it! You need it. I refer you to point number two.
- Coupons often lead to spending more. Why do you think manufacturers offer coupons in the first place? It’s definitely not out of generosity! They know that most of the time, people who have coupons will spend more. If you are using a coupon on an item unneeded prior to discovering the coupon, you are not saving money. Enough said.
- Better is not always better. Culturally, we define bigger as better and newer as better. We have bought the idea that with each season of life we need a bigger home, better cars, nicer clothes, etc. (again, I refer you to point number two). Better may be staying right where you are, not buying that bigger house, enjoying a stay-cation, placing more value on people instead of things. We have travelled to many places, some of the most memorable being to France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. A European vacation is considered one of the top vacations to experience. Granted, it was incredible! But one of my all-time favorite vacations was at a Bed & Breakfast in the town next door. Evaluate what you have come to believe is better.
- Define whose money you are spending. At initial glance this may sound like I’m advocating separate bank accounts with clear boundaries on who gets to spend what. Wrong “whose”. What I mean is that we are only stewards of God’s money. Everything we have comes from him. Not only will this lead to wiser spending but when we realize we are children of the One who invented money in the first place and whose funds are unlimited, suddenly we have more than enough.
- Contentment is key to reigning in spending. When we find true contentment, everything surrounding money changes. Our emotions are in check because we are happy with what we have. We have more free time because we are not spending worthless hours shopping for things we do not need. We have more energy because we are not consumed with focusing on what others have. We experience peace because we are…well, content.
As we wrap up our chat from the past couple weeks, what is really the point of having the right view of money and possessions? What is the reason the Bible tells us how to handle a desire for money and possessions? I would say Paul sums it up quite nicely: “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (v 19)
Life that is truly life. Now there is something worth buying in to.