When I ask you to think of the things that make you most happy in life, what comes to mind? Your car? Your house? Your closet full of clothes? Your electronic devices? Any other material items that you may have purchased?
They say that money cannot buy you happiness, but yet that’s what society show us. If you’re mad/sad/upset/etc., there is always retail therapy. If you want someone to fall “in love” with you, buy them things – a lot of expensive-ish things. If you mess up in your relationship, buy them flowers, jewelry, or clothes to say “I’m sorry.”
We don’t blink an eye at spending $50 on a large bouquet of flowers to say “I love you.” or “I’m Sorry.” or spending $50 at the liquor store for a “fun” Friday or Saturday night. Yet, when the offering plate comes around at church, we cringe at the thought of throwing a $50 bill in. Why is that?
Is it fear that we will never see that money again? That that money may be spent in “better” places? Let’s face it, we have spent large amounts of money on some ridiculous things that we didn’t need. I’ll be the first to admit, a few years ago, I would have rather spent my money on fast food, pop, candy, etc. instead of throwing it in the offering plate and giving back to The One who gave me all. I would have rather chased after that temporary feel good than chase fulfillment in knowing that my money was going somewhere much better than the local gas station or fast food store.
Matthew 6: 19-21 says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
A lot of truth rings out in that passage. When we leave bikes out in the rain, they rust over time. When mice get into vehicles, they chew and destroy. We put more money into repairs and maintenance over time than the initial purchase probably was. Look at cars, for example, oil changes, tires, rotation, transmission flush, replacing brakes, replace wheel bearings, replace tie rod ends, head gasket repairs, and the list goes on.
With maintenance and repairs comes frustration. “How much money are we going to have to put into this?!” The more money we spend, the more upset we get. Sound familiar?
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10
Shane and I do not live outside of our means. We don’t drive brand new vehicles, we tell our kids no, we budget wisely. We weren’t aware of how much wasteful spending we had until we laid out the budget. All the little $2.00 and $5.00 transactions added up. We were placing our temporary feel good above our giving to the Lord – the one who provided us with the items for that feel good moment.
Shane and I have become much happier and feel more blessed now that we are actually “putting our money where our mouth is.” We used to be the “hypocrites” who didn’t understand those who could spend endless amounts of money on alcohol or material items but claimed they couldn’t afford an offering; but we were no different with our pop or snack purchases here and there. We didn’t need those things and they put a dent into what we could give. There were weeks where it was too tight for comfort but we offered what we could. After we cut our needless spending, we found that we were able to comfortably offer more unto the Lord when we weren’t so focused on ourselves and our desires so who were we to judge others?
We don’t realize how selfish we really are until we stake a step back and realize how much we do for our satisfaction (pop, fast food, electronics, etc.) instead of His satisfaction.
I realize that there are some of you who are doing all you can to make ends meet, I’ve been there done that. God doesn’t care about the amount of money you have or the amount that you give. However, he does care if we start to worship the goods that money can buy.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” ~Matthew 6:24
So, what makes you happy?