I just don’t know where it all goes. The month is not finished and we’re out of money already.” This seems to be a common phenomenon, affecting people with all sizes of income. However much money we earn, there always seems to be more month than money! It is a well-known saying that “money talks”, but all mine seems to say is ‘Goodbye’!
Managing money is not just a matter of adding and subtracting all working with percentages, that is easy; managing money is more of spiritual discipline, because it has to do with our character, priorities, and values.
It seems to be a problem in the old Testament Times. The prophet Haggai passed on God’s words. "Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. You have sown that much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but never have your fill. You clothe yourselves but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:6)
I am probably regarded by my wife more as a saver than a spender However, I still like buying things and incurring costs for my business. Fortunately, I also have a wife who is very careful with money- she budgets and compares budget to actual regularly. We have learnt that spending without a plan is a recipe for disaster. I have experienced first-hand what the wise Solomon so graphically describes. “In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” (Proverbs 23:5)
God is asking us to consider our ways. He is inviting us to adjust our lives to his ways. Haggai’s picture of bags with holes is a powerful image. In a recession, or financially difficult times, we will probably begin to spend less - reining in our use of credit and so on. I think the message of Haggai runs deeper. God does not want us to just patch up our bags and wait for things to get back to normal. Instead we must find a new way of living as faithful stewards of all that God has given to us. Don’t patch the bags; get new bags!
The secret to financial success is very easy. Spend less than you earn over a long period of time and you will be financially successful. To do this we need to set up a spending plan, together with God who is the owner of our money, to plan our finances so that each month we are spending less than is coming in. This requires discipline, the ability to say no to purchasing items we have not budgeted for, to keep to our plan.