Saving money is vital, especially in these current economic times. We live on a budget and I am always looking for a super-saver deal. I hardly ever buy clothes unless they are on sale and I love to save. But saving money should not be our end goal. As Christ's followers, we're called to fall in step to His ideals, not the almighty dollar. We're living this life for more than a "stable" retirement or a "secure" savings account--nothing is secure but our relationship with Him. Giving and sharing should just be part of our lifestyles, whether we feel like we can afford it or not. The Bible commands us to practice hospitality and give. I think God knew how counter-cultural and unnatural this would feel. After all, we are all about self-preservation. But He also knew how imperative it is to our faith, vertically depending on Him, and outwardly expressing grace to others. "Freely you have received; freely give" (NIV Matt 10:8).
I've seen people squirrel money away, stingy in mind, heart, and hand, and sadly dejected and worrisome. And I've seen other people, with little to keep them from going into the red, reserve their funds and give out of the abundance of their hearts, though no abundance in their wallets remains. Joy surely follows one but not the other.
Proverbs 11:24 says "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want" (ESV).
I'm not advocating carelessness or free abandon with price tags. God calls us to work hard and use our money wisely. But, we work for a purpose, we save for a purpose, and we look for an eternal gain, not an earthly one. "but the righteous gives and does not hold back" (ESV Prov 21:26).
After reading Isaiah 58 this morning, God confirmed in my heart what I was feeling. These words are truth and we need to abide by them. After all, He knows. He knows our weaknesses, our struggles, and our desires to hold on. But true faith, love, and light are grown as we release to the Only One who can hold all things together for us. So, let's take our funds, conserve and steward, yes, but so that we can give and release to others. Let's take our hands and turn them up and out.
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.