Kristen Lindsey's blog
challenges one to consider this compelling question:
Will a man rob God to
buy a car?
The Wise Shopper: How You Are Spending Your Money Does
By Kristen Lindsey
All it took for me was to go on my first missions trip to another country to
realize that I spent too much money on buying things that I didn’t need:
The brown purse. The little black purse. The big white purse. Black heels.
Black casual boots. Black dressy boots. Black flats. And the list goes on. I
quickly realized during my first trip to Mexico that my life was cluttered
with stuff. What did I have to show for the money God had given me? Purchase
after purchase after purchase of stuff.
Americans are notoriously known to spend lots of
money on purchasing stuff—clothes, electronics, cars, toys, and accessories,
just to name a few. With recent job cuts and losses, foreclosures on homes,
the decline in the stock market, and the generally hard economic times,
Americans of a younger generation have been forced to think before purchasing.
But the Bible has always had a lot to say about
money and what we do with it. Christians shouldn’t need the decline in the
economy to get us to think before we buy. Perhaps it is difficult for us to
live within our means and to honor God with our money when some popular
television preachers and evangelists are living the life of the rich and
Is buying stuff a
bad thing? A sin? Not necessarily. But it can become sin if
purchasing lots of stuff means robbing God of His tithes and offerings and us
our responsibility of helping the poor. God spoke to the Israelites through
the prophet Malachi and said, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. ‘But you
ask, “How do we rob you?” ‘In tithes and offerings’ ” (Mal.
We often forget that it is not our money, but
rather it is God’s money that He has given us of which to be stewards.
Proverbs 3:9–10 tells us, “Honor the Lord
with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will
be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
“Firstfruits” implies that the whole belongs to
God. Because it all belongs to Him, we are to give Him the first and the best.
Honoring God with our wealth results in worship of Him and blessing for us.
The following are
questions to ask ourselves before making purchases that go well beyond our
necessities. The questions are designed to help us be good
stewards of the money God has given us, to honor God with our wealth, and to
be a good witness to others in how we spend our money.
1. Can I afford it?
Does it fit into my budget?
Oftentimes, we buy things that we cannot afford.
We find ourselves in this situation because we have not planned accordingly.
We may be impulsive shoppers, or we may be feel-good shoppers who purchase
something based on how we think it will make us feel. This results in paying
more for an item or items than we have in our bank accounts. When we spend
more money than we have, we are more susceptible to not give to the church,
give to missions, and give to meeting the needs of people around us.
Therefore, we too can rob God of the tithes and contributions by purchasing
outside our means.
2. Will I be making
sacrifices in order to buy this item? Will I be sacrificing my offerings to
God to make this purchase?
If buying an item means taking away money you
need to pay for necessities, such as food, bills, gas, and debt, then do not
buy it. If buying an item means not giving your tithe or offerings to the
church that month, then you are putting your own selfish desires ahead of your
worship of God.
If your loyalties lie stronger to having things
of this world than to giving to the church and to God’s work around the world
and if you are willing to compromise on giving to God so that you can buy the
nicest car or the latest gadget, then the question is no longer who are you
worshipping, but what are you worshipping.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two
masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted
to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
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