We are in the middle of a four-part sermon series on how to experience financial freedom, and today we are going to look at the third principle: learning to spend money wisely. Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.” Financial freedom doesn’t require great wealth, but rather the proper management of whatever assets and funds you do possess. That is financial faithfulness.
Jesus once told a parable about a businessman who went on a journey and entrusted his estate with his servants. The idea was for them to run the business wisely in their master’s absence. And of course, when he got back, there would be an accounting. In this parable, the master represents Jesus, and the servants represent us. The point of the parable is to remind us that one day he will return, and we will be evaluated and judged according to how well we have managed his resources. He will want to know…
 Did you earn money honestly?  Did you spend money wisely?  Did you give money generously?  Did you invest money carefully?
The Bible calls those who manage their money God’s way “good stewards.” A good steward is someone that uses money wisely and who desires to please God. As a good steward, you need to be faithful, whether God has given you a lot or a little to manage (Luke 16:10-12). There are several reasons that wise spending seems hard.  Initially, it seems difficult simply because you are more familiar with doing things your way than you are with doing things God’s way. New things always start out difficult and awkward.  Next, wise spending is hard because it takes time to make a budget. In fact, most people resist doing so. Even if you resist making a budget, however, remember: you already have a budget! You just don’t know what that budget is and where your money is going. A budget you know about is always better than a budget you don’t know about.  A third reason wise spending is difficult is because it requires you to put off immediate gratification spending.
If you want to follow God’s guidelines, consider these principles as you prepare your monthly budget.  Spend less than you earn (Proverbs 21:20). One of God’s principles is not to spend all the money that you have. Spending everything you earn makes it impossible to save or ever have anything extra to invest carefully. You must learn to live within your income. If your income suddenly changes, say it goes down, you must make commensurate cuts in your spending. It’s not rocket science, but it is advice that is widely ignored.  Take care of necessities (1 Timothy 5:8). In other words, take care of your family by providing for their basic needs. Necessities include food, clothing, shelter and basic transportation. The Bible makes clear that God considers meeting these needs for your family very important.  Pay your taxes (Romans 13:7). This verse answers the question as to whether or not God wants you to pay your taxes. He does. You don’t need to pay more than the government says you owe, but you do need to pay what you owe.  Practice prompt payments (Proverbs 3:28). Don’t use money that you have committed for services already rendered to pay for other things that you want. That money has already been spent. Are you quick to pay your bills and debts? If not, you are violating this Biblical principle and it will eventually catch up with you. It is the law of sowing and reaping. Whatever you sow, you will surely reap!  Eliminate Debt (Proverbs 22:7). The Bible says that the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. You have a Biblical obligation to pay your debts. Foolish spending usually involves both self-indulgence and poor planning; both are indications that you are not following God’s plan.
If left unchecked, these foolish decisions will eventually lead to financial slavery, the evidence of which are things like: overdue bills, revolving debt, bondage to lenders, property decay, family poverty, worry, and depression. Even though starting out God’s way may seem hard, financial slavery is much, much worse. Although the path of wise spending starts out hard, it does become easier as you consistently follow God’s principles. The benefits of wise spending will be that your needs will be met and you will have extra to give and eventually invest. As you continue on the path of wise spending, not only will it become easier; you will ultimately experience financial freedom.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Spend less than you earn.
- Take care of necessities.
- Pay your taxes.
- Practice prompt payments.
- Eliminate debt.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)