Google “money” and “stress” and you’ll come across 107,000,000 hits that will tell you what you already know. Many people struggle with anxiety because of how they view, understand, or use their money.
Jesus is blunt when he tells us that we can’t serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). He helps understand that where are money goes, we’ll find our heart (Matthew 6:19). This means that we’re invested (not just financially, but emotionally) wherever we funnel our money. You’ve probably already discovered…
“When money is your master, stress is not far behind.”
Ironically, Jesus goes on to tell us NOT TO WORRY about what we eat or wear, because there is more to life than money (Matthew 6:25-33). Jesus is clearly not instructing us to avoid money since there’s a need to earn it and use it to not only survive but create meaningful and purposeful lives. Unfortunately, culture usually shapes us to use money in a way that leads to worry. It looks something like:
Culturally-shaped Money Habits
Christ-shaped Money Habits
Jesus calls us to a new priority when he tells us not to worry. “Seek my kingdom and righteousness first,” Jesus says, and you’ll notice that worry drops! There’s more to that statement than money, but since he referred to money potentially being our master in the larger context, I want to suggest he invites us to flip our money habits.
How you manage the rest of your money will take wisdom, but you’ll fall short without this first habit of giving. Flipping our money habits demonstrates that we are less dependant on money and more dependant on God and his wisdom. So consider this…
“The habit of giving will break the habit of worry.”
GIVING AS PROPORTIONATE
This isn’t a law, but we do see the pattern continue in the life of Jesus and the early church. Choose a % of your income and give it away. As followers of Jesus, we believe that the scriptures lead us a to a principle developed over years of shaping God’s people where 10% has become the clearest way to put giving first – giving your “first fruits” of your income to fuel God’s local mission. Proportionate giving helps you prioritize your giving and truly flip the way our culture manages money.
GIVING AS PRACTICE
If habits reveal what’s in our heart, than make your giving a priority practice in your life. Here’s some ideas on how to make giving a habit:
- Write your donation check the Sunday after payday
- Choose who/what will get a % of your income tax return before you use the rest
- Sign up for Pre-Authorized Debit to make giving automatic
- Donate on the last day or Sunday of the month to reflect the previous month’s pay.
Paul helped the Corinthian church with this in the 1st century by encouraging them to put aside a portion of their income every week, so when it was time to give, it was ready.
GIVING AS POSTURE
Some habits need changing, but most of our habits reveal what’s in our heart. The habit of giving isn’t just a practice, and not merely proportionate to your income. It’s an act of worship and part of our discipleship.
“Offer your lives as living sacrifices” (Rom. 12:1) or “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart” (Col. 3:23)
To do something from our heart reflects what we worship. When you drop a check into the offering box, press send on an online donation, or notice the donation that automatically came out of your bank account don’t just make it a transaction – offer it up in worship. Consider it an act of worship. Pause to surrender all your life to God. Slow down and thank God for all his provision. Pray for the best use and impact of those funds.
There is something beautiful on the other side of trusting God… and something powerfully different about our lives when we live with an open hand instead of a closed fist (feel that stress?).
MAKE GIVING A HABIT!
Seek first God’s kingdom and fuel his mission with the first fruits of your income. Don’t stop there… let this habit spill over into other parts of your life and relationships. Then trust God to give you the necessary wisdom to manage the rest of the income he provided for you.
If you’re decided on this, check out our generosity page to make a next step.
If you need help processing this step or help in managing your budget with wisdom and sensitivity, contact us.