Sometimes when we focus on being thrifty, it’s easy to get so caught up on the nitty-gritty aspects of managing our homes that we lose sight of the purposes of money: provision, generosity, and enjoyment.
At least it is for me. Stepping back and looking at the purposes of money helps me to put my job as the manager of our home in the proper perspective.
The Three Purposes of Money
Work is a good thing. One of the primary purposes of work (and a paycheck!) is so men can provide for their families. God said that if a man doesn’t work to provide for his own house, he’s “worse than an infidel.”
What about us stay-at-home moms? As homemakers, it’s our job to manage the household wisely and sometimes, like the Proverbs 31 woman, to actively contribute financially.
Though we’re not supposed to “lay up treasures on earth” it’s pretty clear that providing for the family is not just limited to today’s pressing needs. Proverbs 13:22 says “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” We’re supposed to think multi-generationally, even about money.
In the Bible it talks quite a bit about “tithes and offerings.” A tithe is the ten percent God laid down in the Old Testament for His people to give, not because He needs our money, but because all we have comes from Him and giving back a portion of what He gives us acknowledges that fact. The offering was gifts beyond the tithe that God’s people willingly and freely gave.
Christians have differing views on whether we still “have to” tithe. We personally still believe it’s a command, but either way, it’s abundantly clear that Christians are called to be generous. To give to the work of the Church, to support the poor and needy, and to care for the sick and widowed.
(I often wonder if the Federal Government would be so active if Christians faithfully gave and Churches faithfully cared for the poor and widowed.)
A while back we were doing a study on money. When our pastor asked what the purposes of money were, “enjoyment” did not pop into my head. I tend to be rather tight-fisted when it comes to spending money for pleasure. Thankfully, Joshua is much better in this area and reminds me that God has “given us richly all things to enjoy.” God wants His people to enjoy His goodness and bounty to us with gratitude, because He is a good God and a generous Father.
Did you know that in the Old Testament God commands His people to keep a feast in which they set aside money to spend “for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.” Deut. 14:26
This doesn’t mean charging a new boat to a credit card. It can be as simple as enjoying an ice cream date together or extravagant as a trip to lovely London.
The Christian Purposes of Money
The purpose of thriftiness is not to hang on to every last penny with a clenched fist. God has called us to be wise stewards of the gifts He has given us as we provide faithfully, give generously, and enjoy His goodness to us.