“Come, all you beasts of the field, come and devour, all you beasts of the forest! Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain. “Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better.” Isaiah 56:9-12
My 2 dogs are opposite extremes when it comes to indulging themselves. My little Itsy is all bones. She hardly eats anything. If I do not keep an eye on her eating she probably would starve to death. It is impossible to get her to gain weight. She is the opposite of overindulgence. Rather she should probably indulge a little more. Now Coco I have to keep an eye on him because he will eat and eat and eat until he makes himself sick. Similarly he hordes all the bones. He likes to indulge himself. We humans are often like my dog Coco and not just when it comes to food. We indulge in many things, food is just one item. We indulge in entertainment, excess spending, excess cloths, excess shoes, excess housing, we often live in luxury. Especially us Americans. Believe me I am not immune. My closet is full of cloths. We like the fancy house, boat, car, etc. We are often people of extravagance and over indulgence. Yet we neglect the finer things in our life which are of higher value, worth and eternal significance. In terms of how we indulge ourselves and use our finances we often have our priorities all out of sorts.
As someone in healthcare profession who tends to care mostly about people and relationships I give little attention and thought to how to prioritize my financial decisions and allocation of resources. For this is not my training, expertise or passion. I hate dealing with money and financial decisions. Similarly I tend to be like my dog Itsy. Without someone reminding me to eat, cloth myself and practice good self care I will can easy starve myself while focusing on everyone else. But at the same time I have learned that like we have to know how God wants us to prioritize our relationships he also wants us to know how to prioritize our financial decisions and allocation of resources.
God and the body of Christ should be our first priority. Much like our relationship with God is first and most important. Allocating our resources to God should be of first priority. By making God first we are acting in faith that he will provide the means for ourselves and family. The biggest part of allocating our resources is tithing a minimum of 10% of our income. But we often have more to give than just our money. Similarly 10% is a minimum number.
Next would be providing for the basic needs of ourselves, spouse and children. Then providing for the basic needs of elderly parents in need of care/assistance. I think I will save the topic of what constitutes as basic needs for another day.
This structure is still very foreign to me for in the home I was raised I was taught to be frugal and save money. I was taught how to not over spend. I was taught to save for retirement and have savings for emergencies. I know how to NOT spend and save but no one ever taught me how to spend in a way that was glorifying to God. Similarly the people in my family prioritize spending wealth on more luxury housing, entertainment and food then on God’s kingdom. This has made it challenging for me to understand what I am supposed to do with money.
This is far from my expertise for I have never been a financial person. But one thing is certain, prioritize God first in your financial decisions for he is your king. Secondly, we are to take care of our household before others. Thirdly, be carful to not over indulge at the expense of helping others in need for God wants us all to be good stewards of the gifts he gives us, even our finances. Amen.