When my husband and I were first married nearly twenty years ago, we had a budget of just twenty-five dollars per week for groceries, and we rarely ate out. We ate a lot of brown rice and beans, little meat, and just about every kind of egg dish imaginable, and we brown-bagged our lunches. I can’t imagine living like that now! With the passing of the years and the addition of three children to our family, our budget for groceries, although still conservative, is many times what it once was.
But back in those early days, we had a reason for spending so little on food: we were saving for a down payment on our first house (above). It took us about three years to save what we needed. The day we put twenty percent down on our pretty little first home, I didn’t even think about the many scrambled egg dinners or the raised eyebrows from co-workers who seemed to think it strange that I never ate lunch out. None of that mattered as my husband and I walked hand-in-hand through its three empty bedrooms, the bathroom with its peeling wallpaper, and the kitchen with its fifties-era cabinetry. We were so happy and felt so blessed.
We stayed in that house for more than eight years and transformed it from top to bottom, inside and out. We gutted the bathroom, restored the hardwood floors, and replaced many major appliances. We brought our newborn children home to that house, and years later began home schooling them there. Eventually, we outgrew it (one bathroom for five people was a challenge!), but we were able to make enough of a profit on its sale that we were able to purchase our second home, a larger place in the country on seven acres.
Throughout all of those experiences, we had a vision of what should be and could be, in our lives and with our finances, and that kept us going whenever we had a setback or disappointment. There were many of those, too many to record in one blog post. But God always provided just what we needed, when we needed it. Praise the Lord! We were always able to pay our bills and save money, and we never went into debt to pay for a failed furnace or air conditioner. Why? Not because we are the world’s best money managers or investors, but because we have always had a vision of how we should manage our finances according to Scripture, and what we could achieve as a result of that. Proverbs 29:18 says,
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
I truly believe that God has blessed us because we do our best to be good stewards of the finances God has given us. We certainly aren’t perfect; there are still times when I have a fleeting thought of all the other things we could spend our tithe money on, for example. And in the year to come, I know there will be times I will have to set aside my little wants to pay for some unexpected need. But just as he promised in the verse below, God has proven himself to be abundantly faithful to us, and we cannot be less to him.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.—Malachi 3:10
Does the vision or plan you have for your finances include the Lord? If not, would you consider that in this new year? I’d love to hear from you.