Out of the abundance of the checkbook, the heart spends.
Or something like that.
It’s true. If you’re interested if knowing what is important to me, a look at my checkbook register would be a great starting point. It is hard to argue with facts. If my spending on dining out exceeds my charitable contributions, that says something. Is it definitive? No. Is it objective? Yes.
Dollars are a limited resource; there are only so many to go ’round. When you spend one on a candy bar, that’s one you can’t spend on a book. And since we only have so many to spend, it stands to reason that we would prioritize our spending? Making the house payment should be a higher priority than upgrading to the deluxe cable package.
But here’s the thing: It’s not our money, anyway!
It’s God’s money, and we’re stewards of it. So I should probably ask Him about my little house payment vs. cable dilemma.
Of course, the matter of financial stewardship is near and dear to us here at Practical-Stewardship.com. It is very fitting that our look at the devotional questions from Oxford’s Holy Club would take us here, too. So, here’s question #11.
Do I pray about the money I spend?
Excellent stewardship requires wisdom, and (true) wisdom requires prayer. Therefore, excellent stewardship requires prayer.
For my part, I am weak in this area. By God’s grace we have been able to develop some relatively-healthy spending habits over the years. And that’s good. But good habits breed independence. For me, that can look like a prayer-less bill-paying session, or a strictly rational purchase, without praying about it. I tend to seek God’s direction on big things, but the little things – the more mundane ones – far outnumber the biggies. And I tend to default to mere human reason in my decision making unless I work not to.
That’s not to say that faithfulness in this area requires that each leaf of lettuce gets its own prayer before I buy it. But I must have an ongoing spirit of prayerfulness regarding our finances and be regularly seeking God’s direction in money matters.
Reading your Bible out of habit is good. Reading your Bible out of love for God’s Word and from a voracious spiritual appetite is better. Likewise, thriftiness is good. But thriftiness from an awareness that the money you’re spending is not your own, and that you are a steward of something that has been entrusted to you is better.
But where do these differences come from? They come from God. He grants wisdom (1 Kings 4:29; James 1:5). Christ holds the universe together and owns it all (Col. 1:15-20). So our stuff is not our stuff; it’s His. This includes money.
Praying regularly about spending money reorients and realigns perspective.
So what about you? Do you pray about the money you spend? How does this impact your spending?