Before we can really consider how to honor God with our money, we need to consider the purpose of money.
Money serves to make transactions easier. Without money, we would have to barter for the things we need and want. Work is a form of barter. I go to work for you and give up my free time. While I am at work, I accomplish the tasks you assign to me. In exchange for my time and labor, you pay me an agreed upon sum. Without money, I would have to trade my services to you for products or services that I need and that you could supply. Money makes the whole process much simpler than a bartering system.
Most of us work hard to earn our money. We want to get the most for our money. We use money to meet our needs and to make life easier and more enjoyable.
Isaiah 55:2 provides a good framework for money management. It says “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labors on what does not satisfy?
In this verse, bread signifies necessities of life–food, shelter, clothing, and other things we truly need. If we spend our money to buy the things we need, we feel satisfied and content. When we waste our money on things that we don’t need, we feel regret and discontent. All of us have purchased things we thought we really wanted, only to have them sit in a closet unused for years before we decided to get rid of them. Our natural tendency to purchase items we don’t need has led to the rise of yard sales and thrift stores.
I believe we would waste much less money if we would stop and ask ourselves two questions before making a purchase:
1) Do I truly need this item?
2) Am I willing to trade ______ hour(s) of my labor to obtain this item?
This week I encourage you to pause before making any discretionary purchases and consider these questions.