My 2 Cents Family Finances-Doing it God’s Way

By Bob and Donna Benson
Our society is in a tailspin of over spending and debt. Christian families are no better in this than nonChristian families. We spend more than we make trying to keep up with the Jones. This is NOT God’s best for us. It is time for Christians to live God’s way…debt free. Jesus paid all our debts to set us free. Why are we are enslaving ourselves to credit cards, auto loans, and high mortgages? This is no way for Christians to live! “We need to live like no one else, so that later we can live like no one else.” We must remember that the world and everything in it belongs to the Lord. We are stewards of God’s money. A steward was a manager who took care of the Master’s property. He was the overseer who managed the farms, fields, vineyards, house, and gardens; he was not the owner. His responsibility was to see that the money and properties were cared for and produced the income needed to support the Master, his household, and those who worked for the Master. WE ARE SIMPLY STEWARDS OF GOD’S PROPERTY AND MONEY. How are you doing as a steward of the money and property God has put in your care?

Matthew 25:13-30 ( KJV) 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. 14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' 21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' 23 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 24 Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' 26 But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap

where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
This story is not exactly about debt and savings, but it tells us that God expects us to take care of what he gives us. He expects us to be a good steward, pay for the necessary things in our lives, and invest the rest. Have you ever considered that maybe you do not have much because you are not a good steward? Could it be that God cannot give you more because you do not take care of what he has given you in a responsible way?

Proverbs 22:7 (AMP) 7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant(slave) to the lender.
When we charge up our credit cards, we are borrowing against our future. We are saying that we want this thing…clothes, TV, video game, whatever it might be. It is so important that we are willing to give our future dollars, plus interest, for instant gratification. God does not mind us having the things that make our life easier, he wants us to enjoy life, but He does not want us to go into debt to get them. More importantly, when we are in debt we become a slave to those we owe! God is a very good God. He could demand that you give everything to him…he does not. However, he does ask you to give ten percent back to him for his work. How are you doing in this area? Not so good? Tithing is one of the “bad” words to many Christians. My question is why? God created everything and everything belongs to him. Why do we begrudge giving a small amount back to God. The men and women who God has called to serve and minister to his people need support. We are supposed to give it to them! Established in the Old Testament, the people gave 10% of their “first fruits(income).” We should be giving to our local church family first! When God places on our hearts to give more, offerings and alms come after the tithe. We challenge you to step out in faith and begin to give! Support of our local pastor and monthly church expenses are vital to the survival of our local church. Yet did you know only 3% of people who attend church nationwide tithe? We challenge you to make our local church family part of the exception. We need to support our church and pastor! How do we live within our incomes and still give? We write up a budget! We will admit that we have not always lived on a budget. We allowed our credit cards to get out of hand. However, we now live on a budget and it has allowed us to track where our money goes and how much goes where. It will not be long before we owe nothing outside of our home. When we get to this goal, we will increase our savings and work on paying off our home. Dave Ramsey has a program we feel is very good for all Christians. It is his quote at the beginning of this article. “Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else.” In other words, get rid of all

your credit cards, live on a budget, and payoff your debt. Then you can save and have enough to live well and have those things you have always wanted without debt. You will be able to pay cash. Dave has a 7-step plan for financial security. They are as follows: 1. Put $500-1000 into a savings account for emergencies. Do this first and do it as quickly as possible. Have a garage sale or get an extra job- whatever it takes to get this done. 2. Snowball debt. Set up your budget. Be realistic. Pay all essential expenses first. Tithe, housing, electric, heat, food, clothing, gas (to get back and forth to work), auto insurance, phone. (Please note that the tithe is first. Again, this is 10% of your income and should be given to the church family you belong to.) All other money goes to paying off everything except your house. 3. Put 3 to 6 months of monthly expenses into a money market fund. This is a fully funded emergency fund. This money should be put in a mutual fund (they receive higher interest). 4. 15% goes into a retirement fund. 5. Money should be set aside for your children’s college education. 6. Pay off your house. 7. Invest your money in good mutual funds, real estate, etc. *Please note that 4, 5, 6 are done at the same time. Dave Ramsey has several books and CDs that go into this more thoroughly. We have his material and believe it is a very good program. If there is enough interest, we will lead a class using Dave’s material. Please let us know if that would interest you. If a class will not work for you, please let us know and we will help in whatever way we can. In closing, Jesus has set us free! Let us be free indeed! If we live our lives carefully and spend our money carefully, we will be able to do what God wants, when God wants, and how God wants!