(Originally written in November 2005)
I was watching a news program yesterday that was talking about the Christmas shopping season. They mentioned a few items from the Neiman Marcus catalog for the rich of the rich, like a $75,000 handbag and a diamond-covered iPod case of which I don’t remember the cost. When I hear about those kinds of things, I just can’t understand why anyone would want to spend that much money on such frivolous items.
Actually, frivolous or not, I don’t see why anyone would want to live such a life of luxury when they could simply live comfortably and give the rest of their money to charity. It makes me sad to think of all the people in the world, especially children, living in terrible poverty while people here are spending money on luxury items.
And it’s not just the rich. Look at the average American with their big cars, cell phones, and sipping their Starbucks coffee everyday. Sadly, take a look at your average American Christian and you see much the same. Not that I’m advocating a life of poverty nor can I say that I don’t have “nice things”, but there should be a limit. If we can cut back here and there, we can devote more of our income to giving.
About a year ago I came to the realization that by living more frugally I could give more. Often times this doesn’t mean missing out on items, but simply shopping for the best deals. It takes some time, but is so worth it.
Other times it’s important to decide if the price you are paying for an item or service is really necessary. If you can stop buying coffee everyday at Starbucks and make it at home instead, you could save yourself $10 per week that could go to missions. Isn’t $10 per week to the work of God a better feeling than the fleeting pleasure of a cappuccino?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:19-21
It’s important that we are good stewards with the money that the Lord has given us. Even if you are already tithing on your income, don’t think the remaining 90% is yours to do with as you will. Try cutting costs where you can to free up more money to give. Don’t base your comfort on the things of this world. The real comfort is yet to come!
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2Cor 9:6