EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: I want to get on the right track by having a budget and paying off my bills. I am having such a battle with knowing how to spend money, how to save and how to eliminate my debt.  I have a trip that is coming up with my pastor for the weekend. I want to go, but looking at my finances for this month, I don’t really have any extra money to go and I don’t want to put myself in a financial bind. But if I don't go, I don’t want to seem like I don't have faith that God will provide for the trip. Of course I trust God, live by faith, and I want to be a responsible steward over my money. Do I say no to this trip, since it's not in my budget, or trust that God will provide for my expenses plus the expense of the trip? I don’t want to disappoint the Lord or my Pastor. 

HE SAID: 

The discussion of “money” among Christians can be such a contentious subject.  It’s difficult to not look around the church and neighborhood to see what others are driving, wearing or doing and desire the same, or formulate an opinion on how they “should” better be spending their money.  It’s just human nature.

Nevertheless, as each of us is accountable to our own response to the saving knowledge of Christ, we are also individually responsible for what we do with and how we spend the money we are blessed with.

The Bible gives us many guidelines when it comes to money.  It warns us of the evils and consequence of “loving” money... 

For the love of money is the root of all evils (1 Timothy 6:10).

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.  This too is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

...And compiling wealth (Matthew 6:19).

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19).

However, you speak of debt versus the desire to serve with respect to the issue of faith and the role it plays.

What I have found to be God’s desire in my life (and believe it is true for all of us) is to live debt-free.  It does takes faith to trust God will provide for our financial needs, but in the same way we shouldn’t “test Him” by living financially recklessly and then pray He will deliver us from our irresponsibility.

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor (Romans 13:7).

Your desire is “to get on the right track by having a budget and paying off my bills” and you are the only one who can do it.  One of the more successful programs that are often offered in churches is Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.  Information can be found on Dave Ramsey's website.

It’s never easy to forego an activity you want to do or a luxury you want to have based upon being financially responsible, but if your heart desires, there will always be plenty of opportunities to serve or to give.  As for now, you have made financial obligations you need to live up to.

God will honor your obedience and aspiration to live debt-free and your pastor will understand.

SHE SAID: 

The goal to get your bills paid off and developing a budget is always a positive step. I applaud you for making this a priority in your life. The freedom is very rewarding. Besides the peace that comes from it, you are much more flexible for the Lord. You have the extra income to not only increase your tithe but also help others. The enemy loves to keep us in debt, enslaving us. This lack of freedom takes our focus off of God.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

Please know, being a Christian and a part of a local church will always bring invitations to retreats, missionary trips, dinners and fund-raisers, etc. And these are good things as long as we have the money to do them. After we tithe our 10%, we can then give an offering towards these other areas (or attend). An offering is out of the extra income we have. Right now it appears that you do not have enough extra income due to your debt. You are not completely sure of what you really do have due to lack of a budget. Please know God would never have you go in more debt to go on a mission’s trip or retreat, no matter who invites you. God would want you to pay off your debt.  As you are obedient in this step, God will honor and bless you. He will bless you by giving you the funds specifically designed for that mission trip or other event from another source. How do I know this? I have experienced first hand in my own life. As I was a faithful steward with what God had given me, paying my debts, my bills I not only got to go on mission trips but vacations as well. 

What is the next step...setting up a budget? When you set up your budget, it will show you where your income goes. You will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So for now you might have to go to dollar movies, visit your local thrift shop for a pair of shoes and eat dinner before you go out with friends but eventually you will not only have the money for those fun things in life but also for those areas of ministry you feel called to do. In the meantime, pray for God to use you in ways that don't cost extra like being in the prayer team at your church or helping to fund-raise for the mission trip. Also don't be shy in sharing with your pastor and close friends what you are doing so they can also be praying to resist temptation. Blessings to you as you seek Christ first in all things, giving it all over to Him, one dollar at time.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce... (Proverbs 3:9

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is … Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is the author of three books: Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment (co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources); From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life; and the most recent, Jesus, Single Like Me with Study Questions (includes a leader's guide and conference/retreat of the same name).

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!). 

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.

Publication date: November 8, 2012