As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19
Our family finds itself in the final stretch of my wife finishing up nursing school. With the demands of studying, night classes, and clinical hours, I’ve had to fill in the gap of being Mr. Mom on occasion. I’ve learned to cook (at least make things edible), clean, organize, homework routines, and shuttling the girls to and from school activities.
Other than being fluent in the communication skills needed to communicate and understand middle school girls, the thing I struggle with the most is keeping them occupied and entertained on the weekends without shelling out big bucks.
My go-to routine is camping out at Barnes & Nobles while they window shop around Mayfaire, a shopping center in town. Every single time we do this, I catch a glimpse into how they both handle their money. Our oldest (Madison) is a saver. She’s an expert at pinching pennies. So much so, I’m fully confident that she still has money left on gift cards she received years ago. On the other hand, Paige, my youngest, is the spender in the family. Money burns a hole through her pocket. She can’t spend her cash quick enough.
I’ve had to reign both of them in from their extremes. While I teach Paige the difference between a want and a need, I have to instill in Madison that there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something you enjoy with money you worked hard to earn. For both, I remind them that their hearts grow when they are generous and to have eyes to look for small ways they can help others.
I tell you this story because this week at church we began a series on finances, stewardship and the power of generosity. No doubt this a touchy subject, one most of us want to avoid (including yours truly). But, it’s impossible to come to grips with the circumstances facing us financially, if our natural reaction is to stick our head in the sand or cover our eyes.
Total transformation rarely happens in any area of life instantly, especially our finances. But, over time, with intention, focus, and a willingness to be curious and take steps of faith, change is indeed possible.
What that looks like for each of us will vary. For some of us, it might involve hitting the pause button before a purchase and asking ourselves is the item a want or a need. For others, it could mean creating a budget, looking for ways to scale back, giving for the first time, asking for help, or saving more and spending less.
Yet, there are two steps we can ALL take. First, we display courage by being brutally honest with ourselves and exploring what our money says about our faith and who and what we look to for security and contentment. Secondly, and most important, we pray for eyes to see the needs around us and respond with generosity. Today, take a step today towards financial freedom and developing a generous heart.
- What does the way you handle your finances say about your faith?
- Would you describe yourself as a spender or saver? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
God, let me take the steps You lay before me that lead me to a life of generosity. Help me to see places where my heart is greedy, fearful, or discontent. Allow me to trust In You as my provider and my source of hope. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.