A new year is coming quickly upon us, and 1/1 is the best day of the year to begin a new budget. Why? Because it is a fresh start. Whatever you spent in previous months is irrelevant, because the new year is, well, new. You haven’t spent a dime in 2014 yet!
So, before 2014 begins, let’s prayerfully make a plan for how to spend all of those dimes. Joe McGee and Dave Ramsey say that either you tell your money where to go or it ends up telling you where to go. The idea of a budget is to realize that you’re spending a finite amount of money that does not belong to you. You need to take control over which direction it goes. But first, why?
- Stewards of God’s stuff: The most important part is that we are stewards of God’s property. It’s not ours…everything we manage belongs to God. Think of the parable of the talents…when you waste money you’re wasting His money.
- Fences: Another nice concept is the idea of boundaries or fences. We need to set boundaries with our time, boundaries with our relationships, and boundaries with our money. It comes back to moderation. I can spend a little bit of time watching TV and it’s not a problem, but if I spend 50 hours a week watching TV I’m probably going to create a problem. Similarly, if I spend more than I make I will have a problem before too long. Budgeting helps you to set boundaries to keep things from getting out of control.
- Growth: Remember, money does not grow on trees, but like trees, money takes a long time to grow. So, if you’re going to retire someday you’d better start soon. If you’re going to build a house next year you better start today. If I’m going to send 4 kids to college I’d better start saving yesterday. None of those things will happen if we don’t set a budget and stick to it. That money will not just magically pile up unless you plan for its pileup by deciding not to spend it on other stuff first.
- Priority Support: Sometimes I get in the mindset that spending money is a bad thing. It’s not. (Remember, I’m stingy.) Spending money on the wrong things is a bad thing. Or maybe a better way to put it: spending money on things that don’t meet our goals or that don’t meet our values? That’s a bad thing.
- It’s a Tool: Last, money is a tool. We will talk about this more in the future, but money is a tool and it should be used to fulfill your purpose. Use your money to carry out your agenda, your master plan, your vision, your quest for world domination! It’s no more moral than a shovel or a hammer…you will need all of these tools to do what you are supposed to do.
Summary: Self-Control and Self-Denial
Money is just one more opportunity that you can practice self-control and self-denial. Do you have what it takes to exercise self-control with your money? Quick warning: Jesus says that if He can’t trust you with money He probably can’t trust you with more important things. (Luke 16:11)
Stay tuned over the next couple weeks for more posts that provide more practical advice. In the meantime, please let us know…what do you want to hear about? What questions do you have? What insights do you have to share? What practical tips can you give me? What profound revelations can you provide?
Let’s make 2014 a year where we take our money management to a whole new level!
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)
We can make our plans,but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds
Proverbs 27:23 (NIV)