In a little over a week we will be having a workshop at our church to help us as members of this church be good stewards of what God has entrusted us with. It’s called the Good $esne workshop. As we are leading up to that, I’ve been wanting to help draw our attention to some of the things that the Bible teaches about how we handle money. That’s why I wrote the post “Whiteboard Money, it’s a heart issue” and “The #1 reason no one wants to hear the church talk about money.” If you didn’t read those, now would be a good time. Maybe…Possibly…
But today, I want to cover the most basic principle of budgeting. It’s not a phrase I came up with, it was Andy Stanley who coined the phrase. But the principle comes from the Bible. So, the principle of this is timeless. Are you ready for it?
Give 10%. Save 10%. Live off the rest.
Sounds so simple doesn’t it!? We are told throughout the Bible to give 10%. We see Abram doing it in Gen. 14, it’s written in the laws, Malachi, Jesus mentions it – it’s there people. Whether you like it or not. If you don’t like it, you might need to read the post linked above (The #1 reason…). I don’t want to try to cram it down your throats, but the bottom line is God gives you everything you have. And instead of asking the question why does God take 10%, maybe the question should be why does He let me keep 90%.
The tithe is the command with a test. God tells us to test Him in our tithing. That if we do this, God will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings on us until there is room for it all. That’s a test we all should be willing to take.
Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.
For all the verses that are in the Bible about tithing there are also those that talk about saving and planning for the future. Things happen. And you’re going to need money when they do. Credit cards are not a valid option (this is the topic for next week’s post on money). So, if you don’t want to have your world rocked every time something needs fixed, you’re going to need to save money.
So, you need to make it a habit to save 10% of your income for those expenses. You need to save 10% for when your car needs fixed, when your furnace goes out, when the roof starts to leak, when you have unexpected doctor bills, etc. If you make it a habit, when you need it you’ll have it. (Get it? Read the last sentence out loud.:)
Just like the ant, we are supposed to work hard to store up, especially during seasons of plenty so we have enough for the seasons when there isn’t plenty. Ants are busy all season long finding and storing up food. (If you want to hear more about this proverb, click here.) Ants are diligent and never cease to do the work of storing up food for the colony. When winter comes, there is no surprise. You don’t see ants running around like a chicken with the head chopped off because they didn’t work hard enough. You won’t find ants picketing the neighboring colony for taking their resources and redistributing them. They just get busy, doing what they need to store up what they need for winter.
That’s exactly what we need to do. We need to be diligent workers who do whatever we need to do to store up for the next season of life when we may not have as much money at our disposal.
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
observe its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
overseer, or ruler,
yet it prepares its food in the summer;
it gathers at the harvest what it will eat.
Give 10%. Save 10%. Live on the rest.
It’s not that complicated. We make it complicated because of our innate desire to compete with those around us. But we’ll talk more about that next week.
But, I’d be willing to bet that if you started doing this, your life would look a lot different 90 days from now. And next year, your life would be really different. And even better than that, if you start living like this, the lives of others will be better too. Because when you give back to God, that money does really good stuff for His kingdom and for His glory!