By simplicity, I don’t mean living on a commune eating home-grown vegetables while wearing out-of-date clothing. Here’s what I mean, an eternal perspective on my lifestyle that produces the discipline to live below my means. Being generous with our money assumes we have money to be generous with. There’s no way to have money to be generous with if I don’t live below my income.
This sounds very un-American. It is assumed in America that you will live at or above your means. And if you happen to have a lot of it, flaunt it. If you don’t have it, go in debt to act like you do. What happens is as personal income rises, we feel a cultural duty to increase our lifestyle to match it. But if we do that, there is little ability to give.
Write it down, if I am going to be rich toward heaven, I have to live below my means on earth. This is what I mean by simplicity. Let’s practice a magic word. No! The discipline to say no to things I legitimately can afford but if I purchase keep me from generous giving to God. Simplicity is a lifestyle. It’s a coupon clipping, savvy negotiating, responsibly saving, money conscious but not money loving kind of lifestyle.
Lots of unsaved people live this way because it’s just smart. Even atheists appreciate Dave Ramsey. Our motivation is different. I am doing this for God’s sake. I am doing this for kingdom purposes. I am living for the line not the dot.
I judge all things only by the price that they shall gain in eternity. –Wesley
To get practical, this means not making financial decisions that will keep me from generous giving to God. You may be here saying, “I’d like to be generous to God but I can’t, I don’t have any money. Sorry. After my mortgage payment, car payments, utility payments, payments on my credit card debt, cell phone and data plan payments, cable TV payments, high speed internet payments, health club payments, NetFlix payments, beauty salon, NFL TV package, I don’t have anything left for God! Is the problem that we don’t have money or that we don’t have self-control?
For most of us, we don’t need more money, we need less spending. Never make a significant financial decision without asking, How will this impact our giving? By asking that, you are really asking, how will this impact my eternity? What will this house payment or car payment or vacation or whatever do to our ability to be generous to God? Why is this important? Because of the way God views it.
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Mal. 3:8-10
In the eyes of God, not giving is robbing Him. God is not honored when He is the last thing on the priority list. Where should He be? What must He think of us when we are stingy toward Him and extravagant toward ourselves? How do we avoid getting ourselves in financial situations where we rob God? Simplify. There are complexities to this and we are going to come to different conclusions that we need to have grace toward one another for. The judgment day will reveal who lived wisely.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2010 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address (http://www.bethelweb.org/) on the copied resource.