Our theme for this month: “A New Year, A New Beginning”
Our Bible verse for today: “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Let’s do a better job of managing our money.”
When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions in an effort to improve some aspect of our lives, there will be more resolutions made about diet and exercise than any other subject. That’s the number one subject for New Year’s resolutions. But the second most common resolution is usually about money. People resolve to be better money managers, to pay off bills, to increase savings, to reduce expenses by downsizing, and much more. This tends to be the case because by and large, the average American is not a good money manager.
Although we live in the most affluent society on earth, and although middle-class Americans have the highest standard of living of any middle-class in the world, most of us are not satisfied with what we have and we’re constantly yearning to have something more, something bigger, something better. And as a result, we live beyond our means. We spend too much, we buy things we don’t have the money for, and we end up getting ourselves into deep debt.
What we’re supposed to do is live below our means. In other words, whatever your current income is, structure your lifestyle so that your living expenses are comfortably less than your income. That means the home you live in, the car you drive, the luxuries you treat yourself to, all add up to less than your income. That way each month you always have a little bit more than you need. And, don’t buy things you don’t actually have the money for. Instead, save for what you want and buy the thing when you have the cash to pay for it. But, that’s not how most Americans live. Instead, the average American spends more than they earn and they live in deep debt.
The Bible teaches that money is neutral. It’s just a tool that’s necessary for living, and it comes to us as a gift from God. But like every other gift we receive from God, we are to use it wisely and we are to be good stewards of it. Interestingly, there are few subjects the Bible teaches more about than money and possessions:
Nearly half of the parables Jesus taught had to do with money and possessions.
Almost 25% of all the words Jesus spoke had to do with some form of stewardship.
1 out of 10 verses in the Gospels deal with money.
And although I haven’t counted them myself, I have heard and read numerous times that more than 2,000 Bible verses pertain in some manner to tithing, money, or possessions – more than twice as many as prayer and faith combined.
Since how we handle our money is obviously important to God; and since it is the second most common category of New Year’s resolutions; and since it’s an area of life where most of us need to be doing a better job; we will spend the next few days considering it.