I was perusing the news on msn.com some time ago and saw a link that said, “Do you have a spending problem? Take the Savvy Spending quiz.” I guess I had too much time on my hands, so I thought I’d take a look at the quiz. Before I started, however, MoneyCentral at msn.com gave me their advice, which I’ll quote here:
“Spending money wisely is part science part art. Best case scenario: the ideal spender saves money off the top, covers his or her basic needs, stays out of debt, gives generously to charity, and gets real pleasure from planned prudent purchases.”
I was struck by what they put first, and what they put next to last: First, save for yourself; last, give generously. I didn’t bother finishing the quiz because I guess I don’t want to be a “savvy spender”—and neither should you.
To the financial advisors of this age, the advice that Scripture gives us on money must seem completely backwards. According to biblical economics, you can live better on 90% of your income than you can on 100%. That’s just weird isn’t it?
Listen to Paul’s perspective in 1 Tim. 6:6-8: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
John Stott used to tell the story of a vicar who was performing the memorial service for one of his parishioners who had died very wealthy. After the funeral, another member of the parish sidled up beside him and whispered, “So, how much did he leave behind?” To which the vicar replied, “All of it.”
The wise vicar understood that our lives are a pilgrimage from nakedness to nakedness. We leave this world with everything we brought with us—nothing. So, Paul’s advice in this passage: Be rich in good deeds, be generous, be willing to share, in so doing you’ll be storing up riches where it matters, and you’ll experience life in its fullest form (1 Tim. 6:18-19).
The conventional wisdom of this world is save for yourself first give to others last. Does that advice sound good to you? Does it make sense? Does that fit with the way you see things? I hope not. Because if the world fits, you’re the wrong size.