1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
When we are more eager for money than we are for Jesus we will wander from our faith and inherit “many griefs.” The original Greek word refers to "pain of body and mind; to have sorrow."
The more debt we incur the more our lives are determined ahead of time. When we go into debt it means we're pledged to pay for a certain period of time into the future. Our time is determined ahead of time and our options are limited. Debt forces us to decline the options God brings our way.
Money is the number 1 conflict issue in marriage. Second is sex and third is family relationships, especially with in-laws. We have to get money right in order to grow healthy marriages and strong friendships.
My wife and I made a couple of commitments early on in marriage that I think have made a difference:
1. She takes care of the books. This is important - really important. For one thing I'm not very good at math!! She has done a great job navigating our financial journey.
2. Tithe first. We are committed to giving 10% and more to Kingdom ministry. It's the minimum God expects of us. We put 10% into the local church and then give on top of that to things like building campaigns, the Live Simply Project, missionary support and more.
3. Buy used cars. 90% of the cars we've ever bought have been used. We don't care what color they are, what kind of seats they have, whether or not they have bells and whistles. We care about safety and gas mileage. We know if we spend less on cars we'll have more to spend on other things, including the surprises God might bring our way.
4. Pay cash as often as possible. We've loved the invention of the debit card. We can keep better track of our spending but also not make it a credit card purchase. We've also finally gotten to the point of being able to pay cash for cars.
5. Pay off credit cards each month. We're not into carrying credit card debt. One of the ways we limit this is to follow rule: always walk away before a big purchase, take time to think. We try not to buy on impulse.
6. Save. After we tithe we save, we pay ourselves. A good rule of thumb we've tried - but not always been able to do - is 10% tithe - 10% savings - 80% spending. As we age and have more spendable income we plan to increase the first two.
Money is a tool provided by God to sustain our lives and build His Kingdom. Use it well and life can flourish. It's not a matter of how much you have but what you do with what you have. How are you doing?