Gratitude Day 422
Fri., Mar. 13, 2020
Hebrew 13:5: Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
There’s this little endorphin rush that comes over me right before I click “submit” on my laptop.
It doesn’t happen when I’m buying a plane ticket. Or completing an online survey.
It happens when I file our annual taxes.
It happened again this week. I must admit … it feels SO GOOD when I know they are off my desk and into that ambiguous black hole of the U.S. Treasury. A sense of accomplishment, as well as relief, makes me feel like I’ve lost at least 10 pounds.
If only the scale would read this.
Seriously, it is one job that I LOVE to complete. Probably because I know it will be another 12 months before I’ll have to tackle it again.
Truthfully, it’s not actually completing the taxes that takes the most time for me. It’s getting everything in order BEFORE I log into the online site where I file our taxes. And every year after I file, I promise myself to be more diligent about working on tracking things throughout the year and not waiting until its time to file our taxes.
Let’s see how well I do with this in 2020.
I know talking about finances may seem a little, well, crazy here. But why not? It seems most of us won’t be attending a sporting event, concert or gathering with any significant amount of people for the next couple of weeks. Think of all those hours you would have invested into watching basketball during March Madness. What will you do?
Maybe, just maybe, you might find a couple minutes or two to rethink how you and your family look at money. Finances. Resources.
Every time I review our finances, I quickly see that money and finances are just as much of my spiritual journey as prayer and worship. Yep, that’s right. Seriously. Sometimes, do we spend MORE time focusing on money than some of the other significant spiritual areas of our lives? As much as we would like to keep money and our spiritual lives separate, let’s be real. It’s impossible.
So today, I’m going to share just a few thoughts of how I embrace money, finances alongside of my faith. These principles have been developed over years but ones that Hubby Rick and I embrace as we ponder the resources available to us.
- We believe everything we have is on loan to us from God. Seriously. Everything. I often say “my car” or “my house” or “my laptop” but here’s the deal. These, and everything else you put “my” in front of us is really God’s. All these things are simply on loan to you from God. Yep, this includes your children, your spouse, your relationships.
We hang onto “our” stuff so tightly sometimes. When I began to see that this “stuff” is really God’s and I’m entrusted to use it for the glory and honor of God’s kingdom, my mindset shifted. I began to ask myself, “How can I leverage what God has entrusted me with for the glory and honor of God’s kingdom … and not just for myself?”
This helps keeps things in perspective for me. Think of something you are entrusted with that you truly value. It’s something you treat and handle very carefully. In reality, everything you have is this special and important to God because God has made them available for you to use. When I see what I have as God’s, then it’s not just important to me; it’s important to God. I’m invited to be a good steward with all that God has entrusted me with: things, money, people and time. It is my responsibility to treat everything within my grasp well because it’s all part of what God has created.
Shifting perspective has allowed me to hold a little less tightly to “things.” If I have something that would benefit another member of God’s family, then I pray I let it go and allow it to bless someone else.
- My role with all of the money, finances, possessions and resources God has entrusted me with is to be a great steward. My job is to treat these resources well. Honor God in how I use them.
Sometimes, we feel that God hasn’t entrusted us with as much as we need or deserve. I encourage us to shift our focus from what we feel we should have to making sure we do a great job of managing what we have!
- Share a portion of your loan from God back into God’s kingdom. REGULARLY. Contrary to popular belief, I discovered it was easier to begin doing this when my resources were MORE limited than waiting until I felt I could “afford” it. Choose what your portion will be and make it consistent. What should that portion be? I think this is something you take up and work out with God. Yes, the biblical recommendation is 10%. For some people, 10% may feel like it’s too much. For others, 10% is not near enough.
- Be clear with yourself and your family about what you “need” versus what you “want.” We often identify something as a “need” when truthfully, it’s more of a want. Yes, we need certain things. But sometimes the amount of what we think we “need” crosses over into the “want” category.
Hubby Rick and I are blessed in that we can fulfill many of our “wants.” Do we fill a “want” as soon as we dream it up? Part of the journey is discovering how to accomplish a “want” while still honoring the previously mentioned points. When we wait, sometimes these “wants” disappear. More than once, we’ve been thankful we waited before acting upon an apparent “want” at the time.
- Track your financial status monthly. While I’m not always good at doing the detail work monthly, I do keep a running Excel spreadsheet that tracks a big-picture outlook of our finances. This includes our available cash, savings, retirement, and other income sources. For an honest picture of resources, it must also include outstanding debt.
I have kept this information in an Excel spreadsheet for years. This helps us see other times when the investments we are entrusted with took a hit, just like what happened this week. A long-term snapshot reminds us that markets go up and down … and will continue to do this in the future.
We set a goal to be debt free by a certain time which was a great motivator in how we viewed resources. As our resource picture changes, it gives us an opportunity to be creative and reprioritize what is most important to us.
- Be satisfied with what you have. Hubby Rick and I know we aren’t rich. We are also acutely aware that we have been entrusted with more resources than about 90% of the world’s population. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, encouraged people to embrace resources and money this way: earn all you can, save all you can and give away all you can. His words have encouraged us to not focus on just one of these three areas but to challenge ourselves to be good stewards in all three areas.
So, pause for a minute or two. What principles or priorities do you and your family embrace when it comes to resources, finances and money? How does your attitude in these areas coincide with your spiritual journey? Are the two compatible?
Honestly, clicking “submit” when filing our taxes isn’t the only moment I get an endorphin rush when dealing with our finances. Those times when I feel we got it right? This is just as exhilarating for me. I pray you experience this as well in how you manage the resources entrusted with you along your spiritual journey.
For finding gratitude daily, I am grateful.
Dear God – It really is a privilege to be entrusted with resources within Your kingdom. Help me develop an understanding of how these resources fit into Your kingdom and how I can be a great steward of them. May I be inspired to earn well, save well and give well. Amen.
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