Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
As of June 15, 2008, the National Debt is $9.4 trillion. In 2006, the government spent $406 billion on interest payments. What would happen if we were not spending more money than we were bringing in? How much better could we spend $406 billion than simply making interest payments? Now think personally for a minute. The average household has somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 worth of credit card debt. Which means on average, around $1,500 is spent annually on paying interest. This is not even counting the mortgage, school loans, or car loans. Why do we feel it so necessary to live a lifestyle that requires more money than we earn? It sounds like a dead end proposition to me!
Those who know much about me know that I’m frugal. I keep the AC set high during the summer and the heat set low during the winter. I do most of my shopping at the very upscale store called Goodwill. The deals you can find are amazing. But even there, I’m required to spend money, and generally speaking, I hate spending money. I don’t know why exactly, but I usually weigh each dollar I spend and determine if IT, whatever IT is, is worth my money. There’s nothing I hate more than throwing money away, which is what I consider paying interest. But, I have found myself in that position lately. After leaving one ministry position and relocating to Nashville to begin working on the Threads team, buying a new house and all that comes with starting over in a new city, I see that interest payment each month and I hate it. My wife and I have established a plan to get rid of that unwanted houseguest in a few months, but until then, I’m paying what Dave Ramsey calls “stupid tax.” Wouldn’t life be simpler if we didn’t have the pressure to live above our means? Where does that pressure come from, and why have we simply given in to it? How much more money could we use to help those in need if we were not sending so much to credit companies?
This week, let’s examine our use of money. How well do you use the resources God has given you? I desperately want to be a good steward of all He has given me. I don’t want to waste money when there are people hurting all around the world and a few dollars can literally save a life. Children die every day in third world nations due to the lack of $1 worth of medicine. Money can’t solve all the problems around the world, but it can certainly help with a bunch. Take inventory this week where your money goes. Keep a little notebook with you and write down every dollar you spend. Take a look at your budget and put each expenditure into similar categories. The old saying about seeing where a man’s heart is by looking at his checkbook is very true. Challenge your class to closely examine their spending habits this week. Let’s all look for ways we can tighten up and do more with what God has given us. The early church paints a beautiful picture of the church using all its resources to help each other. I want to be more like that! It is going to mean a few changes in my lifestyle. It’s going to cause me to go against the current consumerism of our culture. But ultimately I would much rather spend money showing someone God’s love for them than I would to hang another shirt in my closet.
Proverbs 23:4-5 definitely hit home this week. Chasing “financial richness” is like chasing an eagle into the sky. We’ll never have “enough” money to satisfy us, so let’s place our focus somewhere else! What are you doing in your life to spend money wisely? Share your thoughts on this lesson and our use of money as we all seek to honor God in every area of our lives, even the financial part.