Where bigger is better, and more is king, how can we truly be content? As I type this article, it is early September and we are quickly barreling into the holiday season. Doesn’t it seem like stores begin promoting their holiday products earlier each and every year? Theoretically, we are still in summer, but already shelves are covered with pumpkin-spiced everything, signifying the seasonal craze of fall. Social media voraciously vies for our attention and money, artfully displaying the latest trends. Buy this! You need that! When you get the next new thing, you will “feel” so happy and accomplished.
In radical contrast, Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Money is great. There is nothing inherently wrong with it. Theologically speaking, money is “amoral”—completely neutral. What matters is how and why we use it. In the right hands, money meets needs, provides blessings, and propels ideas forward. But when we look to money for happiness or security, we are asking money to provide something far more lofty than it was meant to be.
In the same way, possessions are great. There is nothing wrong with them. We can have and enjoy them, and not all possessions need to be practical—they can be fun and even expensive. But if we are continually on a conquest for the next bigger and better thing, we have been deceived. The hunt inevitably leaves us empty and disappointed.
The More Beautiful Story
Pastor Mike often says, “Let me tell you the more beautiful story.” The more beautiful story in Hebrews 13:5 is “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Money comes and goes, even when we do everything correctly. The new house, car, or gadget becomes old and boring. Thirty years of meticulous investing can be wiped out overnight; homes can be foreclosed and prized cars repossessed. But even through those gut-wrenching moments, Jesus will always be there. He wants us to rest in that fact. He wants us to find security in Him. He wants to be first in our lives, not second or third behind our conquests and achievements.
As we move into the holiday season, I challenge you to examine your heart. How are you going to handle your purchase decisions? Do you have a plan? Have you set your priorities? Do you know your goals? Have you considered your boundaries?
Whether you are getting out of debt or are completely debt-free, leading into this season, strategize:
- Write down your goals and revisit them often—weekly or even daily if you need to.
- Set your priorities as they pertain to your goals.
- Make a budget! Spending money is not the enemy. Spending money without a plan, however, is foolish.
- Learn to be content.
Pray and ask Jesus to show you what He wants you to do with your finances. Remember, “your” money is actually His. We simply have the privilege of stewarding what ultimately belongs to God. How do we grow as faithful stewards?
First and foremost, get your financial house in order. Get out of debt, save for an emergency fund, and pay off your home. Financial Peace University is a great tool to teach you how to do this. As you order your finances, prioritize investing in God’s Kingdom. I often say, “If you want to get out of debt, tithe.” It is completely counterintuitive, which is why I can comfortably come before you and challenge you to do it.
When you put Jesus first in your life, everything else is reprioritized. Peace comes from God, not from stuff. Praying for you as we enter into this holiday season.