When my husband and I were in our early twenties, we found ourselves in debt quite often. Every time we thought we had bailed ourselves out of a sinking ship, we found ourselves just a short time later financially underwater again. We never had any savings put away; we rarely went out to do anything fun and we honestly couldn’t figure out where all the money was going.
One day, my husband came to me and said we needed a budget. I was in charge of all our finances and paying all of the bills and I was quite offended by this request. How dare he say I needed a budget! I always got the bills paid one way or another and in my mind a budget was a waste of time. Why did I need to write down what I already knew?
Eventually, I relented and begrudgingly wrote out a budget based on the paychecks we received. Although I was resistant to the idea, I was determined to prove to my husband that a budget was useless. However, after only a couple of months of seeing just how our money was spent, I discovered that what had to go out for bills didn’t leave us with much more to spend on other things, including groceries. I was quickly converted. Next came a time of unhappiness for both of us as I became very strict on what could be spent and often complained when he spent a little too much. I am sure there were times he regretted having had me start a budget!
Budgeting time for what is important
As Christians, we also need to budget in other areas of life. Time management is essential. It is too easy to think we are moving along fine and never realize we are sailing the wrong way. We need to make time to pray regularly (1 Thessalonians 5:17 1 Thessalonians 5:17Pray without ceasing.
American King James Version×, KJV throughout). It’s often the first thing we throw out or forget when time is tight. We also need to spend adequate time with our family; quality time is essential to a sound relationship. When we make time to serve and fellowship with others, we grow and are blessed (1 John 1:7 1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
American King James Version×; John 13:35 John 13:35By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×; Psalm 133).
Prayer, serving and fellowship may seem like no-brainers, but so often we let life’s busy moments push them away. Too many times in life it seems easier to pass on talking to God, visiting the ill or widows, or maybe taking time to make it to church on the Sabbath. We decide that our time might be better spent sleeping or relaxing. Playing with the kids or reading them a book is just too difficult after a long day at work. Prayer is often postponed until later in the day, but later never comes.
We may have the best of intentions to get back to it, but our procrastination just builds up and much like my financial woes, we let the boat get full to the point of sinking. We must find time to bail ourselves out. We must always maintain good communication with God. Avoidance only makes it more difficult or impossible. Suddenly, the day is over and we never got around to doing any of it.
We also need to budget time for Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
American King James Version×). One cannot claim to be a Christian if he or she is not building a relationship with God the Father. We build that bond with Him by reading His Word, and His Word is how God speaks to us. We cannot hear Him if we are doing all the talking. We need to pick up our Bibles in order to understand Him and what He expects from us. The old and new testaments are equally important to study if we really want to know God and Jesus Christ.
Imagine if you never really met your earthly parents? Let’s say you pick up the phone and call them on a regular basis, but after they say hello, you just babbled on about yourself and then hung up. That would be a pretty shallow and unfulfilling relationship. You would never really know who they were. It’s a self-centered way of thinking. What you would really want to know is that they loved and cared for you deeply. You would want to know they were there for you no matter what.
That is what God wants us to know about Him as well. We have a loving and caring Father. He is always there for us and wants us to know it. Through His word He teaches us, shows His love for us, and even corrects us if we pay attention. We can never get enough Bible study and it must be budgeted into our daily schedules.
Budgeting finances for things that matter
Less than 40% of households budget their money and it is credited as the reason for many money woes. As we budget our cell phone, house payment, and other necessary bills, we must not forget to budget for God. God tells us to tithe (Leviticus 27:30 Leviticus 27:30And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy to the LORD.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 3:9 Proverbs 3:9Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase:
American King James Version×). God has given us all we have in life and all He asks in return are the tithes that belong to Him. Most people spend more than that on one or two family outings in a month. God asks this of us, but blesses us for doing so (Proverbs 3:9-10 Proverbs 3:9-10 9 Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase: 10 So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 28:27 Proverbs 28:27He that gives to the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.
American King James Version×). We tend to spend more than we have in this society and it is to our detriment. God tells us that not tithing is stealing from Him (Malachi 3:8 Malachi 3:8Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings.
American King James Version×). It is also important to put away a little bit for savings. Even $5.00 to $10.00 a paycheck can really add up.
We always think we can go it alone, that we don’t need anything to guide or assist us. As I did when my husband brought up using a budget, we fight the idea of doing things differently and let pride get in our way. We do not want to admit there is a problem. If we take the time to lay it out in front of us though, we often become aware of where we are lacking. We may, for the first time, be able to see the need to rearrange our time and finances in a way that can literally change our lives. That is why budgeting should be a part of every Christian’s life.