September 9 I Wednesday
2 Corinthians 2
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
—1 Timothy 6:17
The Bible has about 500 verses in the New Testament that deal specifically with faith and prayer. But we will find about 2,000 verses––four times as many––that have to do with the wise usage of money and possessions. Our first and foremost obligation with our money is to God, secondly to the poor and thirdly, we have an obligation to good sense. By good sense, we are to live within our means.
We need to live wisely. I often tell my children, “If you earn a dollar and you spend 99 cents, you will be happy. If you earn a dollar and you spend 101 cents, you will be miserable. One dollar, 99 cents equals happiness. One dollar, 101 cents equals misery.” It is simply the basic law of economics.
We are obligated before God to live wisely, live with good sense and live within our means, not letting any debt remain outstanding. We make it a policy in our house never to spend without the cash or resources to spend it. We do not go into debt. I never loan my kids in advance for anything because if I do, I will teach them a bad habit. Instead, I tell them, “No, you will have to earn this. Just keep earning and you will get it eventually.” They would retort and say, “Yes, but if you let me borrow it, I could get it now. I will pay you back after.” Then I tell them, “If I do that, I may be teaching you to grow up thinking you can have anything now when you cannot have everything instantaneously. You will have to wait.” As Christians the only debt we should have is a debt of love, as Romans 13:8 tells us, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
All of us have money; some have a lot and others have little. But our source of happiness has nothing to do with how much we have. Paul tells us, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13). We can have a lot and be wise and we can have little and be wise. May we share the same contentment as Paul and live within our means.
Prayer: Dear Gracious God, thank You for giving me everything that I have. Whether plenty or little, it is by Your grace that I receive it. Help me to live within my means. Praise You!