When I was growing up I was fortunate that my Dad taught me about how to manage my finances and honouring God with my finances. He taught me about being generous and supportive of God’s work, helping those in need and giving on biblical principles.
When I received my first pay packet Dad helped me to allocate my wages. God first, then paying for my “keep” to Mum and Dad, saving a bit and spending a bit. I was living at home so didn’t have any other expenses back then. Dad always encouraged a balance of saving and spending. He wasn’t against credit cards but he would always say that you shouldn’t overstretch yourself. If you couldn’t afford something straight away then wait and save for it. If you still wanted it by the time you’d saved for it then great, but otherwise it might have been an impulse buy, you were saved from.
Money was often tight in our house growing up and we certainly weren’t well off but we weren’t poor either. We always had food on the table. We lived with my Nan for a while when we didn’t have a house but we still had a roof over our heads. Quite often I couldn’t go on school trips because we didn’t have the money for luxuries. I didn’t go to University when the opportunity came because I needed to get a job at 18. My dad worked shifts in a factory and if there was no overtime then money was very tight but Dad was always generous with what little there was. He believed that God would always provide and God certainly did provide for our needs.
When the time came for me to have my own home and be responsible for a household budget then Dad’s financial advice was something I relied on. I remember that as I advanced in my career as a lawyer (God blessed me indeed to be able to qualify as a lawyer which is a testimony for another day) and my salary increased, there was a temptation to cut back on my giving. Ridiculous really as I was better off than I had ever been but the temptation was there. In having more than I had ever dreamed possible there was a subtle trap of wanting to give less out of my increase…..the very increase God had blessed me with.
I remember a specific time when the Lord taught me to trust Him with our finances. I had qualified as a lawyer and then a year later became pregnant with our first child. Maternity pay was not as generous then as it is now and we were concerned how we would manage to pay our mortgage, bills etc, without my salary. We were arranging overdraft facilities and loans to see us through this time. It was then that I felt prompted by the Lord to give 3 amounts of money to 3 different Christian ministries. It was a large amount and more than I had ever given before but I felt this conviction in my heart that this was what the Lord wanted.
I prayed and asked the Lord that if I was right then my husband would agree straight away. My husband wasn’t a Christian so this was going to be a big ask. I can recall so clearly being really nervous asking my husband. I plucked up courage and asked and he said yes, straight away. I thought he hadn’t heard me so asked him again and again, he said yes. I was amazed and so thankful because I believe the Lord had prepared his heart.
So, I gave the gifts and it was only months later that I realised that we were not using our overdraft facility. I cannot explain it or how it happened but it did. We didn’t receive a large unexpected financial gift or anything like that but during this time we were able to manage our finances so much better than before. Our money seemed to be going a lot further than before. God was blessing us indeed and His provision was sustaining us. We went through my whole period of maternity leave without using our overdraft or going into debt. God was faithful.
We are familiar with these verses I am sure from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians but it is good to remind ourselves again of these encouraging words from God’s Word.
“Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures for ever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:6-15