A few years ago I was sojourning with a large group of fellow Bible students, and we stumbled upon the cutest little Greek boy playing some music with his little accordion. He was adorable in his tiny little traditional Greek suit. He was probably 5 years old. At that time, Greece was going through a major recession and many locals came out to the streets to beg for us to come into their businesses. As we were adoring this little boy’s sweet music he suddenly stopped when he spotted us and started running towards us. I saw this as my cue to walk away knowing what was to come next. He started to run up to my friends with his little hand outstretched before him yelling, “money, money, money!” Let me tell you, he was persistent – stomping his feet, pointing at the girls’ wallets, and chanting the single English word he knew until he got what he wanted, then ran away.
Money, money, money. Is there any way we can go about our day without acknowledging our need for money? This is something the Lord has heavily put on my heart to write, as the Holy Spirit has revealed first to myself my need for God’s help to handle my finances. Through this disciplinary process, the Lord has helped me conquer many victories over debt, lack of giving, and the balance of saving and spending what has been given to me. I cannot promise you an easy step system or quick fix to your financial problems; yet I can guarantee that the Lord cares about your needs, and through this process He will draw closer to you as you draw near to Him.
Here’s some take-away lessons that the Lord has taught me over the past few years. Trust me, He still is teaching me how to handle my finances – it’s a never ending learning process! Remember, being a Christian is a life-long relationship starting here on earth then continuing into eternity! We will never stop learning from our Almighty Friend, and I’m okay with that!
- If you have debt/loans: Stop praying for huge checks with the exact amount to show up in your mailbox and start paying out of your own pocket now. The Lord is able to provide for you in any shape or form, but I believe through everything the Holy Spirit is seeking to fellowship with us, teach us, and reveal God’s power. Start with a prayer, and start making any sized payments that you can. Lean on God during your weak moments, and be honest about your concerns. God wants to reveal your vulnerability so He can exemplify His ability.
2. Start giving: God challenges us to test Him. Can anyone think of a test that God has ever failed? Me neither. Although money will be tighter as you pay rent, the bills, and your loans, God is able, friends.
3. Make some sacrifices: So this one was incredibly difficult for me at first. I live across the street from a mall, for goodness sake! I prayed and knew this was a bondage God wanted to conquer in my life so I stopped shopping, eating out, and said no to any social gatherings that required money. This decision was to the extreme on my part, but it pushed me to cling to my Heavenly Father like never before! I was so weak, you guys, at one point I kept saying to myself, “I just want to be a holding a shopping bag with new clothes.” This lesson was necessary at first to realize how much money I was throwing away each month and gave me a better vision to handle my income. I decided to give myself an allowance of $20 a week on the pleasures listed above to remain balanced.
4. Reward yourself: Knowing myself, I can push myself to the extremes if I get something I really want in the end. Once, I bought myself a plane ticket to see some of my best friends in Canada as my main motivator. What motivates you?
5. It’s okay to make mistakes: If you fail, don’t be so hard on yourself! Look at you, you’re making an effort to conquer your financial obstacles or seeking a way to glorify God with your money. Get back on your knees and pray to the Lord for strength and guidance. God will honor your efforts.
7. Make a savings account: Make one for whatever you’re saving up for and watch God multiply the fruit of your labor.
8. Praise God: Praise God for the income that you’re receiving presently. Be thankful for your wages and the blessing of even having a job!
9. Share with a friend: I asked many sweet friends to pray for me during this long yet rewarding process. This also creates accountability for yourself. Once, I sent a photo of my newest purchases that I was super excited about and a friend responded, “Aren’t you still saving to pay off your loans?” Guilty.
10. Don’t reject any blessings extended to you: For example, if your parents offer to help you out in any way to get back on your feet, to finish something, to better establish yourself so you can go out on your own, receive it with all thankfulness!
Lend to a friend in need, and remember to pay back those who have lent to you. If you are financially blessed, how are you glorifying God with it? It is written how money is the root of all evil, but it’s not a bad thing when it’s clear the Lord is continuing to bless you with it. Don’t feel guilty for your blessings, God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others. God wants to bless us! Casting all fear aside, press on towards the goal God has set out for your life. God doesn’t want us to worry, He wants us to trust in the One through whom all things are possible.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy, and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David.”
PC: @lauramalatesta via #tsbweekened