I suppose my wife and I hope for the same benefits from our money that most people want: comfort; security; the freedom to do what we’d like.
We’ve been blessed with relative financial stability during our marriage. Our income has never been high, and finances are tight at times. But we’ve never been in dire need. We’ve faced no major catastrophes.
But as with many people, our finances do seem to go in cycles. We experience waves of extra bills, then, on occasion, periods of extra income. Having survived a number of these waves, I can look back and have some perspective on them. No matter how many extra bills have come in, we’ve always been able to pay them somehow, and in a reasonable amount of time.
On the other hand, the “extra” income is almost never extra. It is usually gobbled up rather quickly by more bills–either new purchases or maintenance on past purchases: house, appliances, car, or whatever. On rare occasions, we can add modest amounts to our savings, but not enough to bring any real security.
With all the concern we lavish on our finances, I’ve come to view money as empty threats, empty promises. The bills have turned out to be less of a threat than we feared at times. And the extra income, on which we tend to focus so much hope, hasn’t performed as anticipated. Empty threats, empty promises.
We want comfort, security, and freedom. But life’s needs and insecurities run deeper than money could ever handle. Family relationships, a good attitude, health, and most of all, our relationship with God—these are far more critical than money.
As to freedom, God seems to bring us life opportunities that are neither initiated nor limited by finances.
In other words, I’m discovering several basic truths about money. If I want comfort, security, and freedom:
1. Bills aren’t the real enemy: anxiety about money is. That anxiety can flourish whether bills are high or income is high. It destroys the sense of comfort, security, and freedom we seek.
2. Extra income isn’t my real need: trusting God is. He really can deliver comfort, security, and freedom…and much, much more.
I still catch myself wishing for more income. But what I really want is to keep our finances in His hands, whether the bills or the income seem to be running ahead at the moment. Having our finances in His hands brings satisfaction that income can’t give and bills can’t take away.