What I’m about to propose is for some of you who read this. Some people who are like me and my wife can take this idea, run with it, and watch God move in your life and finances. Other people can easily take this concept and use it as an excuse to not manage their life properly. It’s important that you understand where you are in this equation and that you aren’t the second type of person.
Lydia and I have been very good with our money. We don’t use any credit cards. We don’t have any debt. We budget our money out before we spend anything. We make far below the poverty level, but are able to live as though we make a lot more because we’re so careful about what we spend our money on.
We were occasionally going to the food pantry at our church. Our pastor told us to go. It was a blessing that saw us through several harder times and made it possible for us to pay our bills and still have food to eat. I’m really thankful for the food pantry at our church, for the people who run it and for the blessing they have been on my family and our community.
The last time we went, I felt like God told me not to come back. After going though, I told my wife. She had felt the same thing over the last few days. She felt like God told her (through a message at church) that she needs to get rid of her backup. The food pantry had become our backup in case God didn’t provide enough money for us. It was a hard (and sort of not hard at the same time) decision, but we decided not to go back to the food pantry.
When Lydia and I go grocery shopping, we keep track of the money we spend. Every time Lydia puts something into the cart, I punch that amount into my calculator to keep a running total of how much we will spend. Lydia does such a good job of meal planning and keeping to our budget that this hardly happens, but if we go over the amount we have budgeted for groceries, we start putting stuff back. Doing this is how Lydia and I have done so good at living with hardly any money. But a few weeks ago, I had a thought.
God speaks in several different ways. Sometimes I hear words spoken in my head. Sometimes someone will say something to me and I know that God guided their words. Sometimes I’ll get an idea. Usually an idea I never thought of before. This is the kind of thought I had.
It suddenly hit me, we aren’t giving God any room to do a miracle with our money.
Every time Lydia puts something into our grocery cart, I write down how much it costs. I know exactly how much everything costs and how it adds up overall.
When the disciples were handing out the loaves and fish to feed the five thousand, do you think they saw the fish and bread multiplying in their hands? Did they see one fish become two? Two become three? I don’t think that’s how it happened. I think that they handed out normal sized portions, and as they did, somehow it was enough.
In the same way, I shouldn’t expect every single thing we pick up off the shelf to be priced half off. I can’t expect that if I add all the prices up as we go, to suddenly have a lower price at the checkout. If that happened, it would be a mistake or a coincidence, not a miracle.
Lydia and I have had such a handle on our finances that there was no room for God to do a miracle. We know exactly what money comes in and what money goes out. Where’s the wiggle room? When we do that, we aren’t trusting God for a miracle. The food pantry was doing the same thing in our lives. When there wasn’t enough, we went there. We didn’t wait for God to provide before we took matters into our own hands.
Here’s where you come in. Do you leave room for God’s hand to work in your life? Are you so good at managing your money that God can’t bless you? Are you so good in your career that God can’t promote you without you taking the credit? Are you so good at what you do that there will never be any glory for God to move in your life? If so, you need to loosen your grip a little.
BUT don’t think that this gives you an excuse to not budget your money. God isn’t there to bail you out because you spend all of your money without any thought for the future. The Bible talks several times about managing your money wisely. If you aren’t already budgeting out your money, then this isn’t for you. DO NOT pretend that you are allowing God to do a miracle in your life by not managing your life properly. Miracles happen when you do everything you can and it still isn’t enough, not when you’re lazy.
I think that you shouldn’t put this into practice unless you know that God is telling you to do so. I pray that the right person would read this post and make room in their life for God to do a miracle. I hope that you would understand that I wholeheartedly believe in budgeting your money, going to food pantries and asking for help when you need it. Just don’t do what I did and rely on budgeting more than you rely on God.