What’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? James 2:14
But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him-how can God’s love be within him? 1 John 3:17
Ouch. The Bible has plenty more verses where these came from.
Hard to believe it, but our family has finished the first three months of spending money wisely so we can give more. If you would like to catch up, the vision of intentional spending is here. The first month progress report is here, and month two is here. It sure has been an eye opening ride.
This month we spent much of one weekend cleaning out and donating. Clothes, toys, and things we don’t need got donated to MUST Ministries. So many toys the girls HAD to have were in the give away pile. On our way to deliver a trunk load to MUST, we stopped at Walmart and bought non perishable food items they always need. After deciding to support a missionary family and sponsor a Compassion International child, our other monthly give will be food to MUST. I think it is important for the girls to see it and experience the giving when possible.
When I started this, the three month time period was an arbitrary number. However, it was the perfect amount of time. I said I would give up my splurges of makeup and books. What I learned is that I don’t really want makeup. It had become a habit more than a desire. I told myself that I deserved it, but so many people can use that money in life saving ways. Books are another story. While I have not run out and bought any yet, I am not giving them up. Just limiting myself from now on. I think we have to step back from things we have a compulsion to buy for a reasonable amount of time. Three months was long enough to break habits and think about why I buy these things. Also, giving things up for a good cause can help us stick with it. When I imagine a little girl in Africa getting more from the money than I got from fancy mascara, it becomes a no brainer.
If anyone is reading this and feels like they want to try it, do it. God is speaking to your heart. Please don’t worry about people’s opinions or that your family won’t want to. People will think you are crazy and most likely your family will be somewhat resistant. Often God puts an idea in one person’s heart first. He puts passion in them and brings the others around more slowly. We aren’t all going to wake up one day wanting to give everything away. But when you start, your family will catch on. Honestly, for the first two months I felt like my husband James was humoring me and would at some point tell me to stop giving our money away. It wasn’t until this past month that he really got into it. I have done my part in giving and praying for my family.
Speaking of my family, here is what they had to say about things so far:
Kaitlyn, age 6: They need stuff that we don’t need.
Lauren, age 8: It feels good to help others. It is better to help the poor than the rich.
James: The hardest part has been breakfast. I have been moved to a different building at work, and now I pass a Chick-Fil-A. Every day. One thing that has helped me spend less has been to not look at magazines with ads of things I would want.
We have now started a lifestyle change, because once you start this, why would you stop? We have given up a little so someone else can have a lot. When we give that little to God, He adds it up to so much more.
I urge everyone reading this: think of something you buy often and give it up for three months. Use that money in the way God shows you. I promise you, you won’t be sorry about the items you didn’t buy, just the fact that it took you so long. When we start seeing our money as a tool to use wisely, our eyes are opened to the needs around us.
If it is just you at first, spend less and give anyways. It won’t be long until your family notices and joins in.
Just be obedient and keep praying.