We are just a few days from the biggest candy exchange of the year when, on Halloween night, my little ones race home with great jubilation to see what they have collected during their trick-or-treating. In the midst of the excitement I am not sure what is more satisfying to them: dressing up and going door to door or the enjoyment of sweet candy that entices them to eat every last piece.
From one adult to another—I must admit, one of the small perks of being a parent is rummaging through their candy after the children are in bed. I would like to think that as an adult I have a little more self control and can set limits on how much candy I eat. I have no doubt that if given the chance without any parental supervision, the kids would go to town and devour all of their candy until they are sick.
Sometimes we are like kids on Halloween, wanting all the candy for ourselves. We don’t always know where to draw healthy boundaries in our lives. It is hard to find balance but scripture calls us to live holistically in God and part of that is recognizing the the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24:1). We are just stewards of everything he has created and entrusted to us. How often do we acknowledge that everything is really God’s? We hear pastors preach about stewardship and but how often do we take that message and apply it to the way we manage our finances?
I’m going to give you a little formula that will to solve all your financial problems.
Now that I have your attention, I would like for you to pray and start thinking about how you can turn the desires your the heart toward good stewardship by taking a few practical steps.
- My first challenge is for you to start working toward tithing 10 percent of your monthly income. The explanation for the ten percent figure is for another article and likely a sermon series but trust me that a powerful transformation occurs in us when we give the “first fruits” over to the Lord (Dt. 26:1-2). We cannot out give God.
- The second challenge is to set aside another 10 percent for health and personal care. You will know when it is the right moment to use your personal health funds.
- The final 10 percent is for savings. Set aside money for your future. And don’t touch it until later.
If you can do that and learn to live off of 70 percent of your monthly income you will worry less about your finances.
Honestly, there is nothing magical about this formula and you may think it is too simple. However, adapting your budget to this formula will reveal the desires of your heart and check your impulse to consume more than you need. Most of us are self-indulgent, myself included, like a little kid staring at a big bag of candy, unable to control the desire to consume more until we make ourselves sick. Many of us do not have a money problem. We have a spending problem. We need to carefully watch our hearts and not just our wallets.
Pray and ask God to show you how your desires may have led you away from good stewardship. See what the Lord reveals to you. Scarier than anything on Halloween is your first prayer asking the Lord to enter in to the messiest parts of your life and reveal whatever you have tried to keep for yourself when everything truly belongs to the Lord. Watch the transformation that he performs in your life as you draw healthy boundaries and honor God with everything he has placed in your care.
1 Chronicles 29:14 – Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.