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Pointers along the way #198

Frugality is out of date!
- Jacob Ninan

Look around and we will find everywhere a trend for more glamour and glitter. Packaging ordinary items with fancy appearance is one of the secrets of the marketing world. Fully functional gadgets, cars and houses are exchanged for fancier versions. It's no wonder expenditure keeps going up! At the same time millions are suffering from famine and ill health, and millions of middle-class people are running out of money in the second or third week of the month! Yet, if one talks about cutting down expenses or being careful with spending, he will be viewed as someone who has come from the middle ages!

What should be our attitude to this, as those who know the Lord? Can we take the attitude that the money is ours (after we have given to the Lord) and we can spend it the way we like, as long as it is not for sinful things? Should we just be thankful that God has given us many things to enjoy (1Ti.6:17)? How much should we care about our being our brother's keepers?

Jesus mentioned about spending money as a testing ground for Him to see if we could be entrusted with spiritual valuables (Lk.16:11). We may not normally realise there is a connection between the two unless someone points this out to us. But we also have examples of people who started their ministry with great anointing and as their lifestyles have become extravagant lost out on anointing even though they retain the form (2Ti.3:5).

The second point is that even after having given to God the remaining money is not ours (Lk.16:12)! God did not assert this standard in the Old Testament, where the tithe was all that was demanded from people. But now after having been bought with His blood, our bodies, time, money, and abilities belong entirely to the Lord (Ac.20:28;1Co.6:20;Re.5:9). Faithfulness with money means spending it according to the will of God, for the glory of His name (1Co.10:31).

Each of has been given different amounts of money, and God looks at how we spend it (Mt.25:15). We are not talking of asceticism, community sharing, or insisting on same standards for everyone, but of each one spending with a good attitude in submission to God. If we examine ourselves we may find that we can avoid certain expenses or manage with less. Instead of trying to be legalistic about this, let us just ask ourselves some questions when we are thinking of spending money for something.

1. Do I need it?

2. Can I manage without it?

3. Can I afford it?

4. Is it a righteous transaction?

5. How will it affect my Christian testimony?

6. How will it be as an example for others?

7. Would I like to do something better with this money?

8. Can I do with a cheaper option?

9. Should I give the money instead to someone who needs it?

10. Will I have enough money left for unexpected needs?

11. What do experienced Christians think about this?

12. Should I spend it now or wait till I am clearer?

13. What do I sense God is trying to tell me?