Growing up, our family was not wealthy by any means.
My father was a full time pastor (and later a seminary professor) who had taken on the call of Christ with the understanding that our finances would be meager but adequate. A rare dinner out meant that my sister and I would get a hamburger (no cheese), water, and split a fry at McDonalds. I had never been to a sit down restaurant until I met my husband. My mom would pray on her way to the grocery store for marked down meat so that she could contribute something other than her usual meatless dishes to the church potluck. We drank powdered milk. My sister and I never ate school lunches. We only shopped at Goodwill for our clothing. We had one Mazda GLC 2 door hatchback (only) for years. We did not have the finances in those early years to be in sports or extra curricular activities. Our vacations were stay-cations or camping trips at the local lake. My mom was a genius at frugality and my father has incredible wisdom when it comes to a Biblical management of finances. We did not use credit cards, paid cash for our cars, and had no outstanding debt (save a home loan). We tithed consistently and my parents gave over and above the tithe to any who would have need.
I am so thankful for my upbringing. I have learned much about how to be responsible with money. My parents have modeled godly habits and practices to us. I can stretch a little into a lot and I have found it a fun hobby to see how much I can save at the store. I am able to wallpaper, paint, sew, cook, and bargain shop. We, too, have managed to stay out of debt the entirety of our marriage However, living in that environment of frugality does not automatically mean that I have had a completely healthy view of money. Yes, I know that everything belongs to the Lord. Yes, I understand that the love of money is the root of all evil. Yes, I know that I need to be a good steward of everything that God has given me. But, it has only been in the last few years that I have been able to develop an attitude of healthy detachment toward money.
Sometimes, being devoid of things makes you hold onto them all the more once you actually have them.
Sometimes, your first inclination is not to let someone else have the leftovers or the hand me downs.
Sometimes, trying to live frugally means you think about money more often than you should.
Lack of material things is the opposite of wealth, but both can lead to the same outcome…an unhealthy attachment to money. Rich people are concerned about money, but so too are the poor and the frugal.
I remember my sister sharing with me, as a returning missionary from Africa, some exhortational words her mentor gave her. “As missionaries (ministers of Christ), we will not allow ‘poor talk’”. My sister was bemoaning the fact that they could not afford all of the dinners out that they would be having with supporters on their furlough.
“Eat dinner beforehand, and then, when you go out, order a coke and tell them you have already eaten”, she calmly suggested. “No poor talk”.
Meaning, do not let money be the reason you do not do ministry, the topic of your conversation, or a reason for people to feel sorry for you. (Disclaimer: there are appropriate times and places to share your financial struggles and as a body of Christ we want to bear that burden with one another, but that is different than “poor talk”). Be free from the power of money. Detach yourself from it. Open your hands so that you are free to give to those around you, even in your poverty. The best way to do that is to look for ways to give.
As Christians, even when times are tough (especially when times are tough), or even if we are frugal, we should be the first to lavish love on others in whatever way we can. We should be looking for ways to give to the Lord through our finances, our resources, and our relationships. We are wealthy people in Christ Jesus and we should live in such a way that we rejoice in that factwithout calling attention to our financial status, whatever it may be.
Money will come and money will go. It’s just money. What lasts forever is the Lord and His Kingdom. He will be faithful to provide much for those who love Him and follow His commands.
No poor talk. A healthy detachment.
Lord, break all ties of attachment to money in my heart. You will take care of me and I am rich in you. Thank you for all that you have given us by the gracious power of your hand. May my own frugality not be a license to dwell on money more than I should. Help me to give more often than I receive. Help me to focus on your kingdom business first and I will watch you adorn me in a life more beautiful than the birds of the air or the lilies of the field. Thank you for your amazing blessings. In His name, Amen.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:23-25.
By Joy Dombrow, www.joydombrow.blogspot.com