Short Meditations on Peace 11. Peace with finances
Isa 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
For the early part of our married life I had a very good job and, without children, we had no financial worries. The Lord then led me into a better job but with a smaller salary (better in that the quality of our life increased) and then three children came along. I am aware, as I look back that during that period I was constantly looking at what we were spending and wondering much of the time how we were going to get by. As young Christians we wanted to tithe as we saw that as an Old Testament practice at least, it was a useful tool in God’s workbox for our lives to set us free from being slaves to finances and also learning something of faith. Nevertheless, I am sure that during that time I lacked peace about our finances. I know what that is like. I was sure I was in the right work place but we hardly got by. Incorrect, we had everything we needed and we were not poor.
Now as I think about that testimony above I realise that so much of the time it is all about perspective, how we view our lives. You have no doubt heard Mr McCawber’s adage (of Dickens fame) about finances which in modern terms is, “a pound in the black and peace; a pound in the red and worry.” Apart from a mortgage and a loan on a car many years ago, we were never in the red. If we didn’t have the money, we didn’t buy it. At the end of the month I always pay off our entire credit card bill. When I took early retirement from a teaching job (decades ago now!) we used the money to pay off our mortgage contrary to the financial advice which is to have as much debt as possible. Why keep on paying interest to other people???? No, we had peace.
Contentment is being at peace with what you have. The advertising world and the fashion world and the world in general encourage you to have and get more and more. If you have the mentality of needing to keep up with others, and so need to keep looking for a bigger and better house, a bigger and better car, and so on, you will lack peace; you are living at less than God’s design for your life. Although changing jobs and careers four times in my life, we have managed to stay in the same house for over forty years and live well. Every job change meant a reduction in income but an increase in quality of life. We no longer tithe as such, but we give, some on a regular basis and others when we see a need we sense the Lord wants us to meet. I believe our faith is bigger now than when we first tithed when it comes to money.
Want to avoid the absence of peace in your finances? Receive gratefully what God gives in your circumstances, but don’t overstretch yourself. See what above speaks to you. Read it again.