“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Money. I am little obsessed with it. The obsession isn’t about greed or lust, it is more how does God want me to use it. I feel at times that I am not being a good steward of money. I am talking about those spur of the moment purchases…Like going to Starbucks. Or that area by the check stand where you think “sure I totally need AA batteries, Kleenex and Reese’s peanut butter cups”. I see you Target’s popcorn and Icee combo. Get in my belly! (I think I need to stay away from Target for a while.) I pass by Old Navy and think sure I need another tee-shirt and jeans. Then I wonder, why can’t I afford new windows, give money to charity or have money to grow our savings or fund my Roth IRA.
I did have the sense to take a course by financial adviser, Dave Ramsey, called Financial Peace University. It did teach me some things, but I didn’t apply every principle. We use a credit card (okay we shuffle between 4 of them) but we pay off their balances every month. So I assumed, that I was being responsible. Sure paying them off is being responsible, but having no money left over to do good is not great either.
I read a very popular book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. It was amazing, weird and truly life changing. I am always looking to minimize and not be wasteful. Yet, I have that problem at Target, where I am buying more than I should because it is cheap, on sale or that I am bored. Marie Kondo has some interesting ways of dealing with clutter. A couple of tidbits are she wants you to talk to the things you want to get rid of and tell them they served you well and to choose things that spark joy. That statement, “spark joy”. That is the life changing statement for me. I cringe thinking of buying things that a really expensive, even if they are great quality. But when you think about it, if you keep buying cheap things to replace the other cheap things, it doesn’t save you anything and just adds more to the landfills. I realized that statement of “choosing things to spark joy” is very similar to 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” as well as the above stated verse in Matthew.
There was a recent occurrence that gave God a chance to speak those verses into my life. Usually when I am in the car driving, I listen to Air One, a Christian music station. They have great music and d.j.s. They also are very encouraging and uplifting. They do not have commercials to pay their bills, it is listener driven. They have a couple of fund raising efforts a year to keep the station going. When that time of year comes and they are asking people to commit to supporting their station. I admit I want to change the channel. But Ryan Seacrest in annoying and partly responsible for the visibility of The Kardashians. Therefore, I listen through those donation requests hoping a song comes on. I think to myself, “how can I give more, when I need to take care of my household?” But I was listening one morning during their pledge drive and this time I felt the Holy Spirit say, “doesn’t this spark joy in your life?” I love how God can turn any situation to be meaningful in our lives. Of course, it gives me joy. It give me more joy than a coconut chai tea. More than something in that dollar bin that will break in a couple of weeks.
So, I called and made a pledge. I pledged $20/month to their radio station. This became a catalyst for making better choices and to be a better steward of the money God has blessed us with. I put a note in my wallet that has the question, “Will it spark joy?” It is a reminder that I can invest in people who are in need , to save for the rainy day fund, necessary home improvements, or college tuition for our daughter instead of making a wrong purchase.
Dave Ramsey said something that was so hilarious and truthful that takes away the desire of wanting more stuff. “You never see a U-Haul truck following a hearse.” You just can’t take it with you. Do you want your loved ones to deal with all of your junk when you are gone? I sure do not! Create a better legacy. There is always someone who needs to be invested in.
Lesson Learned: Create a legacy that reflects Jesus and use your income for what sparks joy.
“Dear Heavenly Father, help me be a good steward of what money you bless me with. Remind me to make wise choices. I ask for a healthy perspective on money and to show me where you want me to spend money and when to save. Remove those fleshly desires of buying things I do not need. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”