Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

22Sep/140

Need Vs. Want

There are times when people (Christians specifically) need to seriously take a look at what they're asking and whether or not it's appropriate. There are, believe it or not, some times when you need to think about Jesus outside of church. I'm seeing a tendency for Christians today to go into "incognito mode" when they're discussing anything not directly church-related. We compartmentalize Jesus and God, so that even mentioning them outside of a church building is seen as "inappropriate" or a "Jesus juke."

But I've heard this so many times, I'm going to step on some toes. This just shows that we have superficial faith. In reality, God is involved in every area of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. It would be foolish of us to pretend otherwise. I see this predominantly in Christian circles where people are asking recommendations on some sort of new expensive toy or luxury. We don't ask if it's wise to get something like that. We effectively suppress the teachings of Jesus in order to not offend anyone.

This is comparable to secular consumerism today. Is it okay to demand that our food be ethically treated before we kill and eat it, but not okay to ask if someone's food choices are wise? Is it okay to demand our electricity be cleanly produced (because environment!), and yet pay no heed to ecology when we purchase disposable (and toxic) electronic devices, all designed with planned obsolescence? So it shouldn't surprise me when I see people claim "Jesus is Lord!" and then proceed to pamper themselves with luxury.

The truth is, "need" does not equal "want." When you embrace the fact that we really don't need much to survive and serve God, it changes the way you think about "stuff." The problem is, we feel we have to spend more than we make in order to have things we "need." But if you claim to have faith in God, then you need to let God be in control of every area of your life, including your finances.

"I should be able to buy what I want. It's my money." Well, no, it isn't... especially if you're borrowing it. That money doesn't belong to you. If you take out a loan, if you use a credit card, it's not your money you're buying things with. That presents a problem for us as believers, because Scripture clearly tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

The Bible doesn't say you can't be rich. The Bible does say you should give generously. The Bible does say you shouldn't borrow money. The Bible does say that God will provide your needs, not wants.

Even if you have money debt-free (which I'm guessing 90+% of you don't), it's still not your money. It's money that God has entrusted you with. If we have "blessings" we are explicitly directed to use them for furthering the Kingdom and giving with generosity. Jesus went so far as to tell one of his followers to sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor.

Now, lest you accuse me of wanting everyone to live in abject poverty, Jesus also rebuked the disciples when they said the servant girl should have sold the expensive jar of perfume and given the money to the poor. The difference? She poured out the perfume as an offering to Jesus. She wasn't buying the perfume to use for herself.

"You're just guilting me into feeling bad for spending money on myself."

You're right, I am. Because Jesus' sacrifice demands it. God's word demands it. We are called to obey, and follow in the footsteps of our Lord. If you say you follow Him, that includes what He said about money. If we are unfaithful in the simple things, do you really think God will give us even more? If you are a slave to lenders, are you really free?

Rick Warren, famous author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church, says:

It's not a sin to be rich. It is a sin to die rich.

The truth is we don't honor God with our finances, and we don't have the right to pamper ourselves when we are not carrying out God's work. God wants us to be successful... but not so that we can be comfortable! He gives abundantly so that we can give abundantly. He's not lavishing us with opportunities so we can buy things we don't need. He does it so that we can help those without opportunities. God pours blessing into our lives so that we can be a blessing to others, and in the process, point people towards God.

Some of you are saying "I don't make enough money to save anything!" But you'll find if you go through your life and evaluate your needs versus your wants that you probably make enough. Maybe not enough to live with the newest gadgets, cars, and clothes, but you can do it.

Are you honoring God with all of your life? Are you using your resources to give generously? Are you pointing people towards Jesus? If you want God to use you in a mighty way, you need to be willing to give over every part of your life to God.

Some resources on how to honor God with your finances can be found at Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. (Not a paid endorsement, but his program is what I used to become debt-free)

A good way to get started with managing your money is with the completely free budgeting software, GnuCash. (This is also what I use)

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

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