The Secret of Abundance
Money. It seems that nobody ever has enough. And yet, God has promised to supply our needs. What's wrong? The key is that we fail to discern between our needs and our wants. Most people confuse the two, and never find contentment. They conclude that in order to have “enough” they must increase their income. However, I have found that, in most cases, it is much better to reduce expenses. A dollar saved is worth far more than a dollar earned due to the impact of the graduated income tax. If we are working diligently and faithfully, it is quite likely that we really do have enough; we just need to know how to live within our means. In the end, it is as simple as this: If we spend more than we make, we will end up in debt. If we spend less than we make, we will end up with a surplus. A surplus is simply having more than we need, and that is really what abundance is. Here are some ideas we have used in our family over the years. They work.
First, every financial counselor I have ever read has recommended cutting up credit cards. Unless you pay your bills in full every month, you should not have credit cards at all. If you pay your bills in full, but find that every month is a strain, get rid of your credit cards. Simply not using credit cards will cause you to cut down on your spending. It is one of the simplest and most effective tools for getting expenses under control. Try it for a year, and you will be amazed at the difference it makes to your financial position.
Second, never buy a depreciating item on time. This is especially true for cars and major appliances. Save in advance to buy these items rather than borrowing and paying interest on them. Paying interest means that Kingdom money is simply being handed over to the banks where it will not be used for the Lord. It is a waste. Using this approach may mean doing without for a while. It may mean buying an old clunker and keeping it together by prayer. In the long run this will pay off handsomely because you will have saved all of that interest you were going to pay to the bank. In fact, in the meantime, you will have earned interest from the bank. The Bible says that the “borrower is the servant of the lender” (Prov. 22:7), I would rather have the bank be my servant than the other way around.
Third, cut out the little things which are nice to have but are totally unnecessary: cable television, lunch out, dinners at fancy restaurants, hockey tickets, etc. While there is nothing wrong with any of these, and they are to be enjoyed if you can afford them; too many people enjoy them who cannot afford them. It may even mean cutting out piano lessons or ballet for a year. While these are sacrifices, they can make the difference between being able to afford the important things in life - like a good Christian education - or not.
Fourth, buy cheap. Buy food in bulk and use coupons like crazy. Shopping at wholesale and outlet stores will save you a bundle, as will buying a side of beef for the freezer. Hit second-hand stores for clothing. You’ll save hundreds of dollars and experience the thrill of a good find.
Fifth, tithe. Giving generously to others is one of the surest ways I know, to see God's financial blessing in your life. Malachi 3:10 is the only place in Scripture where God invites us to put Him to the test. He promises that if we give 10% He will pour out His blessings on us. I personally believe that tithing includes giving not only to your local church, but also to Christian missions, friends in need, crisis pregnancy centers, Christian schools, etc. Tithing (10%) is the minimum giving required of the Lord, but it is a gift and should not be confused with tuition which is a fee for service. I also believe that 10% is simply a starting point to learn the principle of generosity and trusting the Lord. We should seek to give much more than this as God prospers us.
A secret to receiving God’s blessings? Give to God.
The secret to abundance? Spend less than you make. I guarantee it will work.