As a high schooler, I was always drawn to the idea of saving. It gripped me. I loved the idea of small deposits growing to piles of money given enough time.
My obsession with saving changed, however, when another idea gripped me, that of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Introducing Jesus into my financial life was not easy. Although, Jesus said he would provide for me, my heart believed that my savings would be a better caretaker for me. However, with time, and the help of the Holy Spirit, my trust and affections were slowly redirected from my wallet to my Jesus.
During this struggle, I developed three important guidelines about money:
(1) Track monthly expenses
God cares about how I spend His money. At first, this was a scary thought for me. I assumed that if I showed God what I was doing with my money He would want me to give everything away to the poor and live off of rice, beans, and tuition payments. But, God is such a kind Father. He simply wants to be a part of my financial life. By bringing a monthly report to God on how I spent His money, I brought more of myself to God, which enriched my walk with Him.
(2) Pray a few days before you make purchases above $50.
My most impulsive buy during college was a Handspring PDA device (a digital calendar). I remember watching another student quickly jot down their grocery list on the compact device and I just had to get it! Never mind that it was essentially a $150 notepad.
A lot of debt is acquired because of impulsive buying. The average consumer sees more than 3,000 commercial messages each day. Instead of always reacting to the siren song of our culture, I learned to proactively bring my consumer desires to the Lord. I have avoided having credit card payments or car payments because of this rule.
If you think you might need to acquire debt for an important consumer purchase (e.g., car, computer, clothing), ask the Lord to provide another means. As I did this in college, the very presence of Jesus would quench my thirsty soul, making my consumer need feel less urgent. As my urgency lessoned, I would have the patience to seek out cheaper versions of what I wanted through the use of my existing resource network of family, friends, church, and even Craigslist.
(3) Give with little
In college, I was terrified that my love for saving would rob me of an intimate and dependent relationship with Jesus. For this reason, I made it a rule to always give out of my income. Even if what I received was little, or if I had debts to pay, I was giving if I was receiving.
I always felt a great weight lifted off of my shoulders when I would respond to God’s generosity with a generosity of my own. It awakened me to the truth that God is a generous father and I am an orphaned child who is loved and cared for deeply.
If you would like to seek out further resources about integrating your daily financial life with your relationship with Jesus, please see the few options listed below.
- Take the Biola 3-unit elective class, open to all majors, BUSN 243, Fundamentals of Financial Planning
- Read the following books on personal finance:
- God and Money; Cortines and Baumer
- Money, Possessions, and Eternity; Randy Alcorn
- Master Your Money, Ron Blue
- Financial Peace, Dave Ramsey
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