Encouragement for Today - May 25, 2007
The Best Bargain
By Rachel Olsen
“"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew (NIV)
If you are anything like me – and millions of other women – you find it hard to disengage yourself from the lifestyle of consumerism all around us. Material things - mere inanimate objects – seem to have so much power over people.
The frustrating thing about money and things is you can never quite get enough. Styles and fashions change with the seasons. Fancier homes are being built around the corner. Technology improves so rapidly. Great bargains await us down every aisle. There are always newer and nicer things to be had, and there are always people around us having them. There is a subtle but unrelenting pressure to have it all.
So what happens when we give in to the pressure? We discover the tyranny of material things. Soon we find ourselves in spiritual bondage, and financial debt. A few years ago I read an eye-opening statistic - seventy percent of all Americans said they are carrying so much debt that it is making their lives unhappy. Are you feeling the pressure of financial debt? Is it worth it to have a home full of nice things, where tensions run high, creditors call, and you can hardly sleep?
At the time I read that statistic I was beginning to feel the pressure of my own mounting debt. I remember quite well the stress, fear, and feelings of failure. Thankfully, it drove me to my knees where I cried out to the only One who could truly help me change. Through tears I asked God’s forgiveness for how poorly I’d handled the money He had provided me, and asked Him to help me gain some control and make wiser choices. I humbly confessed to others the situation and asked for prayer. Next I prayed frequently and reverently for God to increase our family income so we could pay down the debt. I increased my giving to God. And, very importantly, I put a strict moratorium on myself buying anything but groceries. No more new sweaters, cute kids’ toys, or anti-wrinkle creams – no matter how great the sale – until I’d gained some self control when it came to money.
I am glad to report that God has been faithful to hear and answer those prayers. I’m also confident in saying He can do the same for you.
The Bible clearly states that God will not reign in our lives as long as we have material things enthroned in our hearts (Matthew 6:24). So join me in renouncing money, luxury, and possessions as the main goals in life. Today let’s choose better goals – to know God intimately and to bless others out of the abundance of our hearts. The lifestyle of consumerism is all around us. The temptation to try to satisfy our own needs and desires with material things is strong. Ultimately, however, the best bargain in town is still that we can trade our filthy rags for robes of righteousness in the dressing room of our very own hearts.
Dear Lord, forgive me for seeking material things more than You. Forgive me for being stingy or selfish with the money I have. I need Your help to change, and to pay off my debts – both spiritual and financial. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Dave Ramsey on the web for some financial guidance – his books and resources are on a special $10 sale this weekend.
Get a clear picture of your debt situation. Pray as I did above for forgiveness and help. Give to God and his work through your church and ministries such as this one. Drastically curb unnecessary spending.
Follow the Dave Ramsey link in the resources section for excellent, professional financial advice from a Christian perspective.
Is shopping a problem habit for you?
Do you know how much debt you have?
Are you giving to God?
Who or what is truly on the throne in your heart?
Psalm 36:5, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV)
Ecclesiastes , "Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor." (NIV)
Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (NKJ)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105