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 Matter

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 famous.
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. 3:8).
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.”  more...


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