“Where’d my money go?”
Is that right?
We’ve all asked that question. The problem is that it’s the wrong question. The question ought to be: “What did we do with God’s money?”
In Haggai 2:8 the Bible says, “’The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” Silver and gold has been a standard for money since ancient times. We’ve only started using debt as a backing for money in recent decades (which really doesn’t make sense).
So, because silver and gold belong to God, then maybe we should spend our finances in such a way that pleases the Lord. I’m sure some will respond, “But I worked hard for MY money!” Okay, but Who gave you the skills, talents, abilities, and health that made that a possibility? In fact– isn’t God the reason behind your having a job at all?
Therefore, since the Lord is providing for us through His blessings, our response should be to recognize His direction in His provision for us. If we find ourselves unable to account for where His money ends up each month, our first step must be to take an inventory of our spending. Next, we need to set up a budget that honors God and the funds He provides. I know most people don’t like the thought or the self-discipline of managing a budget. But consider this: you’re going to spend that money either way. Why not set up a spending plan or categories? At least then, you would be able to keep track of where it all ends up.
Here’s an example of a general list, which of course should be modified to meet your personal/family’s needs:
- Medical & Health
- Education (if appropriate)
If we were to set up a “spending plan” and accurately track money as it comes and goes, I’d say we’d have a pretty good start.
But note: this is NOT a one-time activity. Budgeting and expense tracking must be a daily or weekly habit. As Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 4:2 – “It is required of a steward that one be found faithful.” Which leads us to examine what it means to be a steward. So what is a steward? One who serves others. A steward on a cruise trip will even unpack your bags and make your bed for you. We will never be able to unpack or make God’s bed, but we can be faithful to steward over what He has given us.
In Matthew 25, also known as “The parable of the talents”, the Master of the goes out of town and leaves three stewards (servants) with different amounts of money (talents) with which they were to manage his property. The steward left with five talents was able to double the original amount he had been given. The steward left with only two talents was able to double his funds as well. In other words, both servants wisely invested what they had been given.
Because they were faithful with what their master had left them, their original investments grew through the wise transactions they had made. We should strive to do the same and recognize that all we have has been entrusted to us by our own Master (God), and that it ultimately belongs to Him. We want to hear the words those two servants heard upon their master reviewing their results: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21
And so the answer to our original question of “Where did my money go?” begins with tracking both our incomes and expenses. There are many ways to track them, from ledger books to budget-tracking applications. This will take some trial-and-error, but the important thing is that you stick to your plan, keeping in mind that the faithful servants/stewards will not only receive more, but will enjoy life with the Master. Rewards for faithful stewardship will be given both in Heaven and here on earth, but the ones in Heaven will be great beyond measure. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Matt. 6:20 NASB)