When it comes to the topic of witnessing, what are some of the first things that come to your mind? We typically think of missions, evangelism, training, and street preaching. These people and actions are usually confined to a limited number of people that actually “do” the witnessing. But what if I told you that EVERYONE is a witness? EVERYONE that is listening to this podcast right now is a witness!
Yes, we witness through various means and ways, but we would like to highlight our witnessing through our spending.
WHAT? Witness through spending? Yes, that is correct. We can, and do, witness to others through our spending. Let’s take a look at three key areas (and passages of Scripture) that speak specifically to the connection of our spending and our testimony.
TESTIMONY & SPENDING
- Pay to all you owe (Rom. 13:7a) “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed…”
- It is very clear that one is to pay their obligations and not ignore or renege on them. By doing this, the individual is upholding their “obligation,” their “pledge,” to another. By doing so, they speak well to their word and to their testimony!
- Let’s say it this way: We as believers ought to be timely and honorable with our financial obligations!
- Let your yes be yes (see Mt. 5:37)
- If you commit to a mortgage, make payment on time every time.
- If you commit to electric and/or cable internet/TV, make payment on time every time.
- Let your “yes” to accept and take advantage of a service be your “yes” to make payment.
- Walk in a worthy manner (Eph. 4:1) “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…”
- How does this passage connect my spending and my testimony?
- How we live our lives will either speak well of and draw people to God, or it could push them away from you and God.
- If we are reckless with our personal finances, it will not speak well of us or our Savior and His work in us!
- As it is written in the book of James, we need to not just be hearers of the Word, we need to also be doers. So let us commit to walk in ways that help draw people to the Lord, not push them away!
- How does this passage connect my spending and my testimony?
- Do all for the Glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
- In all that we do, even with our personal finances, we are to bring glory to God.
- How can we NOT bring glory to God in our spending? How could this tarnish our testimony of the Lord working in us to the people and world around us? A good example is NEEDLESS CONSUMER DEBT.
Our personal spending impacts our testimony. So, what would be some good points of application when it comes to this principle and priority of spending? First, we need to look at and understand what “necessity spending” is.
2 Kinds of Spending
- Financially Constrained
- Financially Comfortable
For Those Who Are Financially Constrained – Necessity Spending:
- Any and all NEEDED expenses to live and to take good and proper (not excessive) care of you and your family for today and for tomorrow! Included in necessity spending is also any debt repayment that you are obligated to pay.
- Examples of this would be:
- Rent or mortgage payments, all needed utilities and home maintenance, food, clothing, insurance (life, health, etc.), taxes, medical expenses, debt repayment, etc…
Needs vs. Wants:
- A need is something that a person must have in order to live. For example, we need to eat in order to live, so pack a lunch.
- A want is something that is ‘nice to have’. For example, we choose what we eat, but what we choose could be a “want” instead of a need. For example, choosing the $40 steak instead of a hamburger, does that make sense? Another good example of this is choosing to buy your lunch at work (WHICH IS MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE) rather than packing one to take.
- It is important to understand the difference between the two! Many people do not distinguish between needs and wants, and they let their desires drive their spending which almost always will lean toward the “want” category.
- In your budget it is here that you NEED to separate out your financial NEEDS from your financial WANTS.
- How do you do it? All spending should be put into one of the two categories, either a “need” or a “want.”
- Do you need it to live and provide for your family? If not, it may be more of a “want” than a need.
For Those Who Are Financially Comfortable – Purposeful Spending:
- Make your spending decisions glorify God.
- The danger is that money and possessions can seep into our hearts and control our lives. Don’t be possessed by your possessions.
- Your purchase decisions should not be about “keeping up with the Joneses.”
- Spending decisions need to be aligned with who you are and what God has called you to do/be.
Don’t be possessed by your possessions.
Considerations for Spending:
- Learn and know the difference between your needs and wants in your budget and AND in your spending!
- The Spending area of your budget, for the most part, is a static budget for the year. It is mostly locked in and pre-determined spending.
- Housing expenses shouldn’t exceed 25-30% of take-home pay. (Mortgage/rent, tax, insurance)
- Most bills are due on a monthly basis, so budget this category based on your recurring monthly expenses. Expenses that occur quarterly or annually should be planned for and budgeted each month.
- Debt payment obligations are included in this category. Be timely and honorable in your debt repayments. Work the debt snowball or pay off credit cards monthly.
- Overspending is a risk but it can be averted by understanding the difference between needs and wants.
Our Spending is an important part of our Testimony – Our Goal with financial stewardship is to Glorify God with all that we do. How we spend the money that God entrusts to us makes a bold statement of the God that we serve. As we submit our spending habits to the Word of God, we appear different to the world. We have an opportunity to let the light of Christ shine forth even through ordinary and mundane things like spending.
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