Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Saving Money

Last week I received an email from a family where dad’s job in under threat and they asked: Is it diligent for us to save extra (as Joseph did when he stored up grain in advance of the famine), or should we give extra instead?

To answer this question we need to read and apply Jesus' teaching on the the rich fool as recorded in Luke 12:13-21.

#1 Saving money is not wrong but ‘Hoarding it’ is: It’s not that the rich man was foolish because he saved up grain, rather he was foolish because he hoarded it for his own use. Hoarding is an attempt to completely cover our bases such that trusting in God is made unnecessary. Saving money is not wrong, hoarding money is - Jesus taught we are to be channels of His money not storehouses of His money.

#2 Saving money is not wrong but ‘Greed’ is: Jesus told this parable to ‘guard against all kinds of greed’ (or covetousness). ‘Greed’ is an excessive desire for wealth and possessions. Greed is obsessed with I & me & mine & self. In this case the man is condemned storing up for himself alone and not being rich towards God - Jesus warns us when saving money we must guard against all kind of greed.

#3 Saving money can be Wise: Saving money can be wise, so long as our attitude is soaked in Jesus’ teaching on money. It is wise to assume that we will have unexpected expenses as well as unanticipated opportunities to give to others. Saving money allows us to respond to these needs. Sadly, many in the UK (and the church) are pursuing self indulgence and a presumption that others will meet unexpected needs. Saving also demonstrates and develops our authority over money. It is both wise & appropriate to save money … although Jesus has much more to say about giving and meeting the needs of others (motivated by our faith and trust in God).

#4 Saving money can be dangerous: Saving money can be dangerous in that a good and wise thing can become a functional ‘God thing’ in our life - Savings can take the place of Jesus. Once you start saving money it can become untouchable – even to God. All of our money should be available for use, especially Jesus’ use.

In conclusion: Should the couple who sent the email diligently budget & prepare for a famine or give more whilst they can? Jesus said that their hearts will follow their treasure. They need wisdom, which is always rooted in faith in Jesus and His provision and care for them.

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