Welcome to the second post in the series ‘More with Less’! This is a bonus installment as this series will usually run on the first Friday of the month. But I am so excited to get it going I want to lay some more foundation before we jump into the practical aspects of living more with less. If you missed last week’s post ‘More with Less: My journey with money’ I suggest you read it first before diving into today’s post.
For most of my life I thought money was meant to buy me stuff and allow me to have fun. Yes, it was also meant to pay mortgages and buy toilet paper but those were definitely secondary. Oh man, was I wrong! When God made it clear that I needed to become frugal and recognize my dependency on him the biggest change hasn’t come in my spending habits, though the change there was pretty drastic. The biggest change is how I think about money. It is no longer the ticket to fulfilling my wants and desires; it is a tool used to enable me to live the life God calls me to, one of abundance with fewer possessions. I’ve slowly come to understand the purposes of money and as I do I found the freedom and joy I didn’t experienced when I used money only to please myself.
The 4 purposes of money
1. Money is to teach us our dependence on God
As I shared in ‘My journey with money’, we’ve lived on a small income since we got married. While it is hard and I sometimes pray that Ryan will miraculously land a job that would put us in the ‘comfortable’ category I am loosing hope that God is going to answer that prayer. Instead God is showing us that he is sufficient, that he will meet our needs and we don’t need to worry about it. I often feel like ‘the lilies of the field’ as somehow there is always enough in our modest bank account. Especially in this season of paying Ryan’s tuition I am daily aware of our dependency on God’s provision. Through this I’m learning to put my trust in God and recognize his authority in my life and that my value and security does not come from financial stability and the things I own. Instead it comes from a loving savior who lovingly forms me into his image.
2. Money is to provide for our needs
This one’s pretty obvious. Because we’re not self-sufficient we need to pay other people to do things for us. I don’t grow food (yet), I can’t perform surgery or run the government. So I pay other people to do it for me. In a way it shows us we need each other so we’d better get along and treat everyone how we should.
3. Money is to be given generously
When we give our money generously we recognize our money is not our own and it forces us to turn our gaze outward and recognize our money is not solely meant to benefit us. I’m going to write a whole post on this so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail right now but I do believe that giving generously gives us a healthy outlook as we save money and seek to live more with less.
4. Money is to be enjoyed
This is the purpose of money we get excited about, right? Material things can give us joy and we have to pay for many memorable activities (like travel, restaurants, special events). And this is okay. It’s good to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Even on a limited income it’s important to have fun and allow for some indulgences that are still within your means. We can get into deep water fast when we overdo it in this area so moderation, whatever it looks like for you, is always necessary.
One non-purpose of money
1. Money is not meant to be a source of stress, conflict or general distress.
When we spend within our means, give to others and recognize God as our provider we can walk in joy, freedom and true security.
In the next installment of ‘More with Less’ on March 7th I’ll share a practical way to save money. I hope to see you there!