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Keep God First
Think how many taboos are associated with money. It’s rude to ask someone how much they make or how much they give. People are reluctant to talk about how they spend their money. It seems we can converse about any topic with greater ease than we can talk about money. (And maybe sex but I’m thinking it’s becoming easier to talk about sex than than it is money.)
We wonder what other people think about our money usage. Do they judge us for how we spend it? Do they think we’re saving enough? Do they realize how tight our money is? And we wonder about their money. How much money do they make? How can they afford to buy ______________ when I can’t? Do they have to go deep into debt to afford their lifestyle? Am I doing this money thing all wrong?
There is so much we need to learn about money: making it, giving it away, spending it, and saving it. How much is enough? What is too much? What is too little? We really do need to be talking to one another more about this topic. Parents need to be teaching their children and older adults need to sharing what they’ve learned through the years with young adults.
The Bible is full of instruction about money. Jesus’ word of warning in the sermon on the mount is the foundation of everything else taught in Scripture on the subject: Keep God first. If God is not first, the temptation will be to look to money to provide all you need for life. When that happens, Mammon sits on the throne of your heart and you will follow his orders. His orders are, “Don’t be content with with you have, get more, bigger, better, and flashier.”
Keeping God first means putting money in it’s proper place. I have found two practices help me avoid Mammon’s deceitful traps:
- Consistent, Percentage Giving to Church. No matter how much or how little we earned Liz and I were determined to give at least 10% to church. We made it a point to not live in debt and to never have a higher standard of living than we could afford. These things have helped us be able to keep our commitment to give. Some years we struggled to get by and had to do without a number of things that others enjoyed, but this was one decision we never reconsidered. Consistent giving is a real kick in the teeth to Mammon and I believe also lays up treasure in heaven.
- Simplicity as a Lifestyle Choice. While we do not live as simplistic as many, we have sought to live a rather simple lifestyle. We do more repairing than replacing and try to not let our identity be found in our possessions. We pay cash for our purchases and prefer to save up for more expensive items rather than get caught in the “buy now, pay later” trap. Learning to be content with what we have and not buying every upgrade just because it’s available is a way to resist Mammon and let him know you’re not falling for his lies.
Put God first in your life and then seek to learn how to use your money in a way that pleases God. Keep God first!