Pinching Pennies From a Biblical Perspective
Money is an ironic topic. It evokes emotions, is absolutely necessary and the Bible has a lot to say about it. While I do not love or hate it, I have other strong emotions that surface when I focus on money – anxiety, fear, and determination.
My parents taught me how to manage money through the 10, 20, and 70 percent rule growing up. Ten percent to tithe, 20 percent to savings, and 70 percent spending or saving up for what I want or need to purchase. This principle works really well, but yet, as an adult, I struggle to meet the percentages and have clear, defined control of my money.
Like any family, my husband, three kids and I eat a lot of food. I prefer organic or whole foods over cheaper processed foods. We have two cars and a mortgage, which was cheaper than rent in our area. We don’t have cable, crazy cell phone plans or buy our kids candy, toys or books. We do however enjoy date night, daycare and a weekly fast food meal. And coffee, lots of coffee (which is written into our budget).
We are fairly typical. If you’re single or a married couple without kids, take away daycare and other “family” things. We are also typical in the fact that money is tight. Pinching pennies is necessary and I frequently ask, ‘where else can we cut back on spending’. See when our bank accounts get low, I start to have anxiety and panic about where money will come from. I become determined I’m missing something we’re spending excess money on, or something I could sell in my business to make more money.
Honestly, it’s exhausting and if you are like me, you want to honor God with your money and resources, not freak out every time bills come due. I look to the Bible for wisdom. The Proverbs 31 woman has great insight into how to make and use money. Proverbs 31:17-20, NIV, says,
“She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.”
As I have studied the Proverbs 31 woman through the writing of my book, I have seen a few things that I want to emulate and glean from her knowledge. In verses 17 through 19, she works heartily at what she sees is profitable. I have recently been struggling with creating some courses for my business, and my husband keeps asking me what is already profitable and if I can do more of that. He is right and as I continue to grow my courses, I am also looking to do more of the client work that is profitable. The Proverbs 31 woman’s example inspires us into action, to find what’s working and either do more of it if possible, or do what we do to the best of our abilities. As she found her trading profitable, she was not afraid of working.
Verse 20 reminds us that our money is so much more than something we use for ourselves. It can be used to provide for our family and for others in need. I find that when I am most worried about money, I tend to not want to give. While there are times when it makes sense to not give, I still want to remember that God has provided for me, so even if I can give $5, I give what I can. There are also times when it may be necessary to accept money or help. It is hard to accept the fact that we need help, but just as God has asked us to give, he has also provided for us. His provisions are, as Matthew 6, verses 31 and 32, NIV, say, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” In my heart, I know that these words are true. I want to believe them in my head, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard! This is where prayer is so important as we ask God to help us believe when he says he’ll provide and he knows what it is that we need.
Pinching pennies can be a negative saying, however, when we take care of what we are given, and use it wisely and prayerfully, it says in the Bible, we will be rewarded. In Christian circles, this is often called stewardship. When we take care of the money God has so graciously given and use it to the best of our abilities, we are applying stewardship.
My heart in stewarding whatever money we have, whether a little or a lot, is to question if God is glorified in the way the money is being spent. His glory, him being honored by my use of money can create new freedom in how I view money. Anxiety around money does not have to be present in my life, or yours, because I am giving money as worship.
Whether we give our money to church, the grocery store, or Target, our heart’s attitude is important. We can pinch our pennies with closed, angry and anxious fists, or we can steward our money with open hands, allowing for freedom and thankful to exist while we spend and save to the glory of God. The Proverbs 31 woman has been praised by many for her wisdom. Later in Proverbs chapter 31, verse 25 NIV, it says that she can laugh at the days to come. Will you join me in praying and letting go of anxiety surrounding money? Let’s be women who are so thankful we can steward money for God as we intentionally and thoughtfully take care of what has been given to us.
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