God has really been putting on my heart the need to be a good steward of my life. Specifically in four areas... Finances, Time, Gifts/Abilities, and Our Bodies. Over the next few days, I will be sharing what God has put on my heart in each of these areas.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (New King James Version)Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
God expects us to give the first 10% of whatever we earn, and He rewards us when we do. However, being a good steward with our finances goes beyond that. We are supposed to be smart with the way we handle our money. We need to seek God before we make a purchase, any purchase. We need to Praise God for the provision he supplies us with. We need to look for opportunities that we can bless others with our finances. We can't do that if we are living beyond our means, and barely making ends meet.
Before we purchase, we need to pray. April is an expensive month for our family. Easter is in April, both of our kids birthdays are in April, our house insurance is due in April, Jason's truck insurance is due in April, and of course, taxes are due in April. As you can probably guess, we are very cautious on what money we spend in April. I homeschool our children, and the curriculum we use always has a 20% off sale in April. I really felt God leading me to take advantage of this opportunity, and order next year's curriculum. Jason and I discussed it, and I told him that there would be other sales during the summer. However, the 20% is only offered in April. Jason felt like it would be wise to make the purchase when we could save the most.
At the end of March, I went online and placed the desired curriculum for both kids in the "cart." I wanted to see just how much we were talking about and figure out what my savings would be. You see, I was still debating the logic of an added expense in a month that already had so many. I got the figure, and just left the items in the cart. I really didn't know if they would save the items, but they did. The next day, I received an email from the company asking if I needed any help with the items I had left in my cart. I just ignored it. The following day, I received an email letting me know they would ship for free if I went ahead and purchased the items in my cart. This was the last day of March. I figured they were trying to get me to purchase before the sale started. Once again, I ignored the email.
On April 1, God impressed upon me the need to make the purchase. He was providing all our needs, and I needed to trust Him with that. So, I made the purchase. Not only did I get the 20% off, they honored the free shipping also. It was a great savings, as a matter of fact, I almost got Erin's curriculum for free. Not only did I save on the curriculum, God took care of our taxes, and our remodeling business had the best month so far this year. I truly believe, that because I was a good steward with the purchase I made, God blessed us beyond measure during what could have been a financially stressed month.
Another way that we can be good stewards with our finances, is to not be wasteful. I use liquid fabric softner in my laundry. The dispenser that came on my machine never worked well, and left a mess, so I never use it. I would try to listen for the rinse cycle to start, and then add the fabric softner. Often, I would miss this cycle, and therefore have to run the rinse cycle twice. God really convicted me on how wasteful this is in the course of a month. So, I simply bought a fabric softner ball that I drop in when I start the wash. I could tell a difference on our water bill the first month. Other little things like turning off lights, eating leftovers, checking the thermostat, eating out less, the list goes on and on ... anything that can be done to eliminate waste is being a good steward with our finances.
Being a good steward with our finances will require us to do things opposite of what the world suggests. Whether you are living on a tight budget, or you are living well within your means, God expects us to be a good steward with our finances.