This week Joe and I are talking about the biblical principles we’ve used as we learned to manage money together. The first of those is giving to God first and having a heart of generosity with what we have been given. Now it’s always easier to look ahead into the next tax bracket and say, yeah, once we have more, we’ll implement that. But giving isn’t a numbers issue, it’s a heart issue. How tightly are we holding on to what we have? Do we have MINE written in black permanent markers across every dollar bill?
When we started giving from what we had, even when it wasn’t much… it really did become a lifestyle. And better yet, our giving became a source of great joy. It’s the last thing we want to cut back on when it’s time to re-look at the budget. It cultivates a heart of gratitude and helps us to focus on God’s priorities, not just ours.
The other way we can honor God with our money is looking at every dollar as a gift from Him, instead of looking at money as I, me, MINE! In our marriage, that means also approaching our finances with mutual ownership and responsibility. Joe and I always looked at every paycheck as “ours”, even for the 20+ years of our marriage where my income was zero. This was the provision God had given us, regardless of who “worked” for it. And, we both were responsible for the wise stewardship of it: being creative in making it stretch and learning to cultivate a heart of contentment. This wasn’t easy, because money reveals the motivations of our hearts, and our hearts are not always in the right place. But by working as a team and compromising on our personal wants, God did make that money stretch in miraculous ways.