Tuesday, November 18, 2014
On a Budget
My husband Dan and I are a rather frugal couple. I know he may say that this statement is only half true (you can guess what the half that he thinks is not true is…get it?) But, honestly, for the most part, I think it is true.
We try to make conscientious and sensible choices when it comes to spending money. Like, for instance, we have never bought a brand-new car. And I don’t think we ever will. We never did, because we could never afford it before. And we never will, because now it is a matter of principle. We just don’t think it is a smart thing to do.
And that’s when it hit me.
Is our frugality a form of pride?
Are we becoming frugal snubs? Do we look down on people who make different choices? Do we think we are so much better because we live on a budget and we save money? Are we cultivating a spending sensibility that borders on idolatry?
I would like to think that the answer to all those questions is a firm NO…but I am not sure…the reason I am not sure is precisely what has prompted this meditation.
We are to examine ourselves more than once in a while. We are to look at the intentions behind our actions. We are to ask God to search us and test all our ways and show us if there is fault in them so He can, in turn, change things around and make us holy. Therefore, even the things we do which are good need to be put to the test.
That is why today I come with a desire for Christ to cleanse my intentions in the area of money. It is such a fragile and highly corruptible field. It could so very easily invade our soul and take up the throne. It could so quickly occupy all of our thoughts…regardless of whether we have a lot or we don’t have any…thinking about money issues is pervasive and corrosive. Regardless of whether we are doing the right thing with money…it could pretty easily get turned into something twisted. For instance, focusing too much on being frugal is still focusing too much on money! So where is the balance?
I believe the balance is in the intentions behind our choices.
What motivates me to make the choices I make? Any choices? Am I motivated by a sincere desire to give God the glory as I am a good administrator of the riches He has so generously placed in my hands? Or am I motivated by pride? I want to make choices that honor God. I praise Him that He has turned Dan into an amazingly good steward of all He has given to us, and that He has given me a spirit of frugality which I never really had before (and that He has helped me accept the dreaded budget – though I still fight it once in a while : ). But I pray that He also gives us a desire to share His riches with those who need it and that He helps us be cheerful givers…that all we do is in His precious name and for His honor.
It is, therefore, a matter of intentionality. I want to intentionally make the best choices for His Glory. I know I am going to fail more often than not, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I also know that He will show me the way. His way may still not lead us toward buying a brand new car or to a budget free life, but I pray it leads us to being more intentional about extending grace to those around us...for grace never needs to be on a budget!