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Spend less this Christmas

Save money, tithe and let Santa do the rest.  |  Caitlin Gaines/THE CHIMES

 

The Ten Commandments of Financial Stability

  1. Work hard—Proverbs 28:19

  2. Do not covet—Exodus 20:17

  3. Do not impulse spend—Isaiah 55:2

  4. Create a budget—Proverbs 21:5

  5. Honor God First—Proverbs 3:9-10

    1. Give Him the firstfruits of your labors

    2. God can do more with 90 percent than we can with 100 percent

  6. Pay yourself second

    1. Tithe 10 percent

    2. Save 10 percent

    3. Keep 80 percent

  7. Minimize debt—Proverbs 22:7

  8. Seek wise counsel—Proverbs 20:18

  9. Leave a legacy—Luke 12:20

  10. Trust God—Phil 4:19

Stepping into the holiday season, the financial vice around our throats seems to tighten. As a college student no longer living with our families for a majority of the year, we desire to give back and give gifts. However, this often seems impossible. Some of us—with a part time job—have bills to pay, groceries to buy, and gas and financial aid payment plans to attend to. There remains little money left to think about giving to each member of the family, let alone pay the bills on time. Saving and financial plans seem like things of the future. However, my pastor Gene Appel addressed the congregation stressing the importance of just that. He wished someone had given him a financial plan when he was in his twenties. He suggests we spend, invest and tithe with what the Bible has to say in mind. If he had realized the importance of the Bible’s financial plan earlier, Gene said he would have avoided much of the monetary-related stress of his late twenties and thirties.

TITHE TAKES TRUST

The meat of his sermon discussed the importance of tithing. To the sceptic Christian, this seems like the outline motivated to increase funds coming into the church. It seems like a church might be looking for some new lights or a fresh paint job on the kid’s nursery. When it comes to tithing, these remain possibilities. However, what is important to recognize about the call that God has placed on our lives to give freely, is the trust factor. There is a need for trust: of the people asking for the money, handling the money and receiving the money—that all will do so honestly.

The act of tithing itself can only come from a faithful heart: that God will provide for you in the uncertainty of losing 10 percent of your monthly income. Appel addressed this concern in his sermon, saying that when honoring God with our firstfruits, we are able to test him. We can say, “Okay, Lord. I am following your call to give, and I am taking a risk and trusting you. Provide for me.” Such a bold statement is frightening. However, in Malachi 3:10 the Lord states:

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

LIVE ABUNDANTLY IN THE 80 PERCENT

This is not the prosperity gospel. This is the promise of the Lord, saying He will bless those who place Him first—with their hearts, with their money and with their lives—because their hearts align with His. In this holiday season, be encouraged as you think on what ways you are being called to give. Tithe first. Save next. Then, relish in the abundance with which God has blessed you. How much more can God bless others with our 80 percent than we can use 100 percent selfishly.

 

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