A Window To Our Hearts

“Few things in life reveal our hearts as do our attitude toward and the practice of giving away our money, especially when it comes to the poor.”  – C.S. Lewis

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Money: a great tool, a terrible God.

Money makes a great tool but it makes a terrible God; it can do nothing for your soul.

Scripture is clear that saving is wise and profitable. We should all be saving and a portion of your income should go into savings each month. Doing so will allow you to both build an emergency reserve and save for future, foreseeable expenses. This savings can protect but it does not provide protection. Do you see the difference? When difficulty comes, the money you have faithfully saved, because of scripture’s encouragement to do so, will be available for you to draw on. By God’s grace, you will have money to buy food during a job loss, money to replace the fridge, or money to buy someone in need a car but the money can only be exchanged for another consumer good or service. Your savings can neither prevent bad things from happening nor guarantee your safety when they do happen; moreover, your savings cannot buy mercy and forgiveness. The rich fools very life was demanded of him and his full barns proved empty.

The minute you trust your savings to be anything other than God’s resources, you remove Jesus from His throne and place a crown upon your savings account. When a hard time comes, God can provide in any manner he chooses. You may need the emergency reserve to provide for your family or you may need the emergency reserve to provide for another family.

This is God’s grace and only He deserves the glory.

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Teaching kids about money

How do we teach our kid about money?

There are as many answers to this as there are parents. However, no matter what you do or don’t teach your kids, they will surely learn one thing: your example.

When we as parents make decisions we need to think beyond the immediate. We need to first ask ourselves if the purchases we’re making (especially lifestyle choices – the houses we live in, the cars we drive) are an appropriate use of God’s resources that have been given to us. This is not to say you shouldn’t have a house over a certain square footage or an expensive car. It’s simply to say that all of these major purchases should be made prayerfully.

If you determine the purchase is appropriate through the lens of stewardship than you can ask yourself some follow up questions:

~ How will this purchase impact our family dynamic? (Will a bigger house cause our children to live more distant lives? Will dad need to work more? Will mom need to work?)

~ How will this purchase impact our children’s view of money? (Will a nicer car raise the level of expectation in our kids of what they should drive? Will our children see parents looking to be good stewards, or will it from their less mature standpoint, appear that we’re building up treasures on earth?)

~ How will this purchase impact our children’s future? (Will moving up to a bigger home increase our children’s expectation of what their home should look like when they’re older? Will it cause undue stress when a child and their future spouse is looking at homes to live in?)

As your children grow up, they’re watching what you do and what you say. They’re building out their framework and understanding of how the principles in the Bible relate to life on earth. They’re determining what it means to follow God by watching the two closest reflections of God (to them) work out their faith.

There are no easy answers. However, until you’ve asked these questions, or ones like it, and until you’ve found spousal agreement over it, don’t move forward.

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Financial Peace

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)

The birds of the air, all they do is harvest what has been provided for them. They don’t plant. They don’t gather. They don’t even save! And still, they’re not anxious.

Now, saving is wise when you’re saving for provision; however, the minute you start saving for “protection” you need to pray and ask God to show you that He alone is your protection – and this is where your true peace is found!

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Safety is not for sale

Pandora introduced a song to me that I would have never found on my own – thanks Pandora! The song is fitting for those of us walking through this world often looking for safety and peace in all the wrong places. Check out this great reminder:

Oh, this silly heart of mine
Looking for new things to buy nothing really satisfies
In the end …

Greed is making fools of us waging war; betraying trust
Empires only fade to dust In the end …

Safety is not for sale (you cannot buy peace of mind)
Earthly defenses fail (there’s nothing new under the sky)
Build your kingdom all your life then say goodbye
In the end …

Have I forgotten how to wait?
Providence won’t hesitate
Seldom early, never late
In the end …

Vanity, Vanity, don’t lie to me
Vanity, Vanity, you’re not fooling me

In The End by JJ Heller, video here

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For what are you striving?

I kept running around… in large circles or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my Belovedness. It was as if I kept refusing to hear the voice that speaks from the very depth of my being and says: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.” That voice has
always been there, but it seems that I was much more eager to listen to other, louder voices saying: “Prove that you are worth something; do something relevant, spectacular or powerful, and then you will earn the love you so desire.” Meanwhile, the soft, gentle voice that speaks in the silence and solitude of my heart remained unheard or, at least, unconvincing.

–Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

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Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

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