Your Concerns About Money

coffee29.jpgMoney.  We all deal with it almost daily.
 

  • We make money.
  • We spend money.
  • We save money.
  • We invest money.
  • We save money.
  • We owe others money.

Whether single or married, we deal with money.  We have checking accounts.  We have debit cards.  We visit ATM machines.  We pay bills.

 
I need your help.  I am reflecting on our use of money as Christians.  Specifically, I am thinking of how we handle our personal finances.  Right now, I am trying to get a grasp on some of the challenges we face and difficulties we are experiencing.  Some of this concern comes out of the on-going conversations in churches about personal debt, standard of living choices, etc.    

 
(Every year about this time, I start thinking about the messages I need to prepare for our church for the next school year.  Of course, some of that thinking ends up on this blog.)

 
I realize that our experiences differ from place to place.  But, I want to ask you to think about your own life, as well as what you hear among friends and co-workers.  Please reflect for a moment on the following questions.  Your comments will be very helpful to me.
 

What are some of the challenges that families face with their finances?  What do many people seem to be doing well (in terms of dealing with money as Christ-followers)?  What concerns you?  What mistakes do many of us seem to be making?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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16 thoughts on “Your Concerns About Money

  1. Finances are a subject that I have been reading a lot about lately.  I have been working through Dave Ramsey’s "Total Money Makeover".  It is a great book on how to get out of debt and how to control your finances.  My wife and I don’t have kids, but I remember growing up hearing my parents discuss how they are going to purchase us kids the things we need.  Some families just have to have the best products.  I have seen families stick very strictly to budgets and have been very successful with their money.  Student loans and credit cards concern me, so my wife and I are working very hard to get debt paid off.  I feel that credit cards are mistakes we make all too often, unless we can completely pay them off at the end of each month.  I think we have to be careful with what we go into debt for and why.  We need to be disciplined to give our first fruits to God and use the money he has blessed us with for Him.

  2. Lack of patience compounds problems with money.  If Jesus points us to the lillies of the field and the birds of the air why are we so worried? Our market driven culture teaches us to grasp our security now.  If there is something "needed", go get it.  Use a credit card even if there are no additional monies anytime in the future.  We lack a since of stillness in knowing that God is and that he will never leave or forsake us.  We need more patience for God’s will to fruit.  In our finances that is.  He has a plan, but we seem to want to help him along the way, maybe with a VISA. 

  3. Jim
    You know this is something that I am very passionate about.  Once I came to the realization that none of the money that we make is ours, but God’s alone, it gives you a different perspective on how you handle your finances. It is our job to manage this money for Him in a way that he is ultimately praised.

  4. Jim, this is one tough subject.  So much of our thinking has been shaped by Shane Claiborne’s Irrestistable Revolution and Ron Sider’s questions of rich and poor. 
     
    One of my struggles currently is this –our Churches are so focused on teaching money management classes like Crown and FPU that we seem to be neglectful of other aspects of how we use our money.  I do think these classes are helpful to get people out of debt, however I am not so big on the aspects of accumulation though.   It seems a little more biblical to me for us to share more and pool our resources to address the needs of the world.  I am growing increasingly less comfortable with the idea of wealth accumulation.
     

  5. Chris,I applaud you and your wife in your desire not to get tied up in debt in these early stages of your marriage.  I know far too many families where debt has been a constant theme for many years because of earlier mistakes.As you suggest in your comment, this is much more than financial management but speaks to our relationship to God.I appreciate you and have such good memories of your being here. 

  6. Daniel,You allude to something that I think is so important.  Every day we are bombarded by messages that say, "You must have this now in order to be happy."  These messages are everywhere and are very seductive. 

  7. Many of the mistakes I have seen re: money are largely due to the fact that most people in our culture (including in our churches) have a problem with delayed gratification.  I want what I want and I want it now!  As disciples of Christ, we are called to die to self.  Today’s "Christians" come nowhere near taking that call seriously, in my opinion.

  8. Phillip,I am so glad that you commented on this post.  I do know that you are very passionate about this.  One of your finest traits is you willingness to listen, learn, and grow.  You have done very well.By the way– I love the way you phrased your last sentence:It is our job to manage this money for Him in a way that he is ultimately praised.

  9. Arelene,You are so right.  This is one tough subject.  You make some very good points regarding wealth accumulation and our need to have a vision of money that sees our ministry to the world.Perhaps one of the best things to happen in many of these churches is to help prevent some from keeping trapped in personal debt and to help other families who are in bondage due to their debt.But I go back to your first statement.  This is a very difficult subject.   Thanks. 

  10. Connie,Good point.  A reminder that how we handle money can not be divorced from discipleship.  Thanks.

  11. Jim I always lov reading your blog.
    It is definately on of my favorites.
    Right now my wife is getting her degree in accounting and will graduate in December and will have enough hours to set for the CPA the following semester.  So our finances will be in great shape when she graduates.  Right now I am needing assistance with my medical fund.  If anyone would like to donate to my medical you can do so through People’s State Bank, Rocksprings Tx, 78880.  It would be greatly appreciated as I have large amounts of medical bills and prescriptions that cost several hundred a month.  I don’t want to be rude or sound arrogant at all. I love all people and am doing what I can do to work and minister to a small congregation. A wonderful congregation that has been patient and has helped me heal.  The congregation that I minister to is a loving family of Christians just limited in funds.  I do have a church and individual help but could definately use more until my wife graduates.  Jim I hope you understand.  Your blog has been such an encouragement and blessing to my life.  You are in my thoughts and prayers often. I bring you before God asking that he bless your life in every aspect especailly your ministry.  I hope you have a blessed weekend brother.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  12. I believe what Jesus says in Luke 12:22-31 covers every problem we shall ever have. This is what I believe, not necessarily what i do. I, like most, have money problems. I trust God to bring me to the place where the love of money has no control over me.
    Jesus said several times, ask the Father what you will in My Name and He will do it. If this is true, and I believe everything in the Bible is, then why are preacher’s, televangelist, radio stations and the like steadily asking for money. Do they not understand or believe God will take care of them? If you need money to fund your ministry or to do something righteous, then God will give it.   Jesus says so in the Gospels. 
    I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, spoken to us by God’s Holy prophets. God doesn’t lie, because He’s not a man, so who are we to say otherwise?
    I enjoy what I’ve read of your blog Jim, keep it up. God bless you.
    servant21
     

  13. Kinney,Thanks very much.  It sounds like you have quite a bit on you, regarding these ongoing medical bills, etc.  I am thankful for the work that your wife has done in college toward working as a CPA.I am glad that you read this blog and comment regularly.

  14. Servant 21,Good to hear from you.  I am glad you read this blog.  Thanks for this comment reminding us all of God’s care and work in our lives.

  15. What concerns you?  What mistakes do many of us seem to be making?
    I think our natural human tendency is to buy according to the max we (think) can afford instead of buying what we need or can be content with….We stretch it to the max especially in the early years…..We are often wrong in our thinking…..
    Example:  What is the most car I can buy without going under?  The most house?  The most TV?  The most furniture…etc….We buy according to the raise we think we are going to get…..