Category Archives: Thriftiness

Quotes on Thriftiness

  • “A man’s treatment of money is the most decisive test of his character – how he makes it and spends it.” – James Moffat
  • “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. He is too wise a God to frustrate His purposes with lack of funds; and he can just as easily supply ahead of time as afterwards, and He much prefers doing so.” – J. Hudson Taylor
  • “Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” – John Wesley
  • “A fool may make money, but it needs a wise man to spend it.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Thriftiness also Involves Making the Best Use of Our Time

I wonder how much you have accomplished this year? As we approach the beginning of a new year, no doubt many will be making new years resolutions. As we look back on the past year we may be more resolved to make better use of the time God gives us. Some people pass time; some people make time; some people kill time; while others do time. But how can we make the best possible use of the time God gives us in this upcoming new year? I believe we can make the best possible use of the time God gives us by…

REALISING THE BREVITY OF LIFE

Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom.”

My father-in-law recently told me that there are three signs of old-age. The first sign of old-age, he said, is that you keep forgetting things. But he couldn’t remember what the other two were. Every grey hair, every new wrinkle, every aching bone is God’s gentle reminder to us that life is short and that we are to apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Late one night while I was working for the dean of men’s office at the Bible college I attended, a young man named Randy came to me and asked if we could talk. He shared how he had deliberately broken some of the college rules. They were small offences — what many would term insignificant — but God had been working in Randy’s heart and he knew that no sin is insignificant in God’s eyes. And with tears flowing down his cheeks, he repented of his sin and told me that he was prepared to accept whatever the punishment might be. I prayed with him and told him I would get back to him after I talked with the dean. But less than twenty-four hours later, Randy’s roommate came running into my dorm room shouting, “Randy! Randy’s dead!” Randy had been killed in a drowning accident.

One Sunday evening several years later after our church service was finished, I stood at the back of the building greeting the members of our congregation. We walked to the car park and one of the elderly ladies in our congregation pulled along side us in her car and waved. I had just turned around when I heard a terrible crash. She had just pulled out into the path of a speeding van that hit her broadside. I rushed to her car, but it was too late. She was killed almost instantly.

Life is so short. We have this one brief opportunity — this one brief moment in eternity — to make an impact in this world for Jesus Christ. Don’t waste it!

There are many appointments that we can avoid (I successfully avoided an appointment with the dentist the other week). But there is one appointment that we can never avoid – our appointment with death. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). How much differently we would live our lives if we knew we had only 24 hours to live. We would use every second to it’s fullest.

A pastor shared with me about a man who came to his office a number of years ago after reading a book which predicted that the Lord would return before the end of the year. This man was convinced that the Lord would return within a number of months. He was deeply concerned because although he was a Christian, and although he had attended church every week, he knew in his heart that his life had counted for little or nothing of any eternal value.

I am convinced that so much more could be accomplished for the kingdom of God if we would only take seriously the brevity of life. By realising that life is a race against time and there is no second chance. Someone said, “Life is like a coin: you can spend it anyway you want, but you can only spend it once.”

Secondly, I believe that we can make the best possible use of our time in this upcoming new year…

BY BEING A CONSISTENT EXAMPLE BEFORE THE WORLD

Colossians 4:5 says, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”

The greatest influence for Jesus Christ upon my own life was my Godly father. Everyday I was confronted with the reality of his commitment to Jesus Christ in our home. The home is where you discover the reality of a person’s spirituality. If you want to see how an animal really behaves, you don’t go to the zoo or circus where they are on display or perform, you go to it’s natural habitat – it’s day by day environment. If you want to find out what a Christian is really like, where do you go?  You don’t go to the Church!  No, you must go to the home. If you want to find out the sincerity of a man’s commitment to Jesus Christ and to following Biblical principles, you don’t ask his Pastor or Church leaders, you need to ask his wife and children.   I am convinced that the reality of a person’s spirituality is not found in the church, but in the home. If our Christianity is going to be effective in reaching a lost world for Jesus Christ, then it must first prove itself in the Christian home.

Do your children see the reality of your spirituality in the home?  Do they see you behave one way in the church and another way in the home?  Your children – more than any others – will resent your hypocrisy and inconsistencies and most likely reject the God you claim to be serving!

There is a common thinking among many Christians today that we can just throw our spiritual gears into neutral and coast our way through the Christian life. That kind of thinking is dangerous for anyone, but it is especially dangerous for Christian parents to have that attitude.  The truth is that if there are inconsistencies in the lives of the parents, one Christian leader has stated there will be at least three consequences that can occur in the lives of the children:

1.  The children will resent the leadership of the parents.  This is one of the basic contributing factors of rebellion among many Christian young people today.  If the parents claim to be under the authority of God’s Word and the children see inconsistencies (and children readily detect even the smallest) it causes them to be resentful and rebel against the authority of their parents and, ultimately, against the authority of God’s Word.

2.  The children will excuse to excess what parents allow in moderation.  If the parents tolerate even little compromises, it will often have a devastating effect upon the children. A respected elder of an evangelical church once shared with me his concerns about a rebellious teenage son.  In that same conversation, this church leader boasted about travelling down a motor way at 125 mph.   He also reacted against a new government tax by insisting that he would not pay it.  Yet this man failed to see the correlation between his son’s rebellion and his own rebellious attitude. What the parents allow in moderation the children will excuse to excess.

3.  The children will be exposed to the realm and power of Satan’s control.  God has designed the parents to function as a spiritual umbrella of protection over the children.   If you allow failure in your moral life, if there are inconsistencies, if you neglect your relationship with the Lord, you will open a leak in your protection through which Satan can bring destructive temptations to your children.

The world should be able to look at our lives and families as Christians and see that God’s principles really work and that they offer a far superior way of life than anything that the world has to offer. But they’re not seeing it! Our marriages are crumbling, our children are rebelling, and our churches are splitting and falling apart because we have failed to take seriously the principles of God’s Word.

A third principle for making the most of the time God gives us is…

LIVING WITH AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus said, “19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Almost 2000 years ago in a filthy, rat-infested prison in Rome, a man awaited his death at the hands of a Roman executioner. His only possessions were a cloak and a few parchments. His friends had deserted him, and over his head hung the sentence of death. His only crime was that he had lived his life totally committed to Jesus Christ. In the eyes of the world he was a misfit, a fanatic, a waste. But in the eyes of God he was a hero, a victor, a success! His last recorded words are, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Tim 4:7-8).

1000 years earlier lived another Saul – chosen by God to lead the nation of Israel.  A man with so much opportunity to serve God but who chose rather to serve himself. At the end of his life, in 1 Sam 26:21, we read that he regrettably said: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. 

How will your epitaph read? Will you be able to say with Paul, “ I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith…”  Or like Saul of the Old Testament will you lament, “…behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.” What are you doing with your life that is going to make a difference in eternity? When you get to the end of your life, what will you be able to look back on and say, “This is what by God’s grace, I have accomplished for the kingdom of God.” One of the most tragic things is that Jesus Christ might say to you or me, “Look at what I could have done w/ your life, but you wouldn’t let me…Look at the souls that could have been snatched from a lost eternity…look at the lives that could have been changed…look at the difference you could have made.”

May God help each one of us to realize the brevity of life, to be a consistent example before the world and to live life with an eternal perspective!

Morris Hull, Home Life ministries

Understand God’s Purposes for Money

One of the major sources of conflict — even in Christian marriages — today is money. Everybody has their own ideas how their money should be used. But as Christians, we need to realize that everything we have comes from God and belongs to Him. So in order to be good stewards of the money God has entrusted to our care, we need to know and understand God’s purposes for money. Knowing and applying God’s purposes for money results in financial freedom. An incorrect understanding of God’s purposes for money brings financial bondage and a host of consequences that have the potential of destroying your marriage, your health, and your testimony.

A man who has financial freedom can build his job around his family; a man without financial freedom is often forced to build his family around his job. If we have sleepless nights and ulcers worrying over financial decisions it is probably an indication that we do not have a correct understanding of God’s purposes for money, because God wants us to be financially free in order to serve Him.

Financial bondage is an immediate consequence of not understanding God’s purposes for money. God’s purposes for money are not to provide us with security, independence, or even to buy whatever we want. God’s purposes are, firstly:

TO PROVIDE BASIC NEEDS 

If we build our lives around possessions, then we will be devastated whenever those possessions are lost or taken away from us. Recent banking and Stock Market scandals prove that even respected, financial institutions cannot guarantee absolute security. So that people who were trusting in bank or retirement accounts are now experiencing the consequences of financial bondage.

Security is only possible as we build our lives around that which can never be taken away from us. We can loose every possession, every person, and every position; but if we are building our lives around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can loose everything else and still have security because He can never be taken away from us.

God wants to build into each one of our lives the quality of contentment. In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul says, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” The person who is not content with God’s provision of food and clothing will always have deep financial and spiritual problems.  Contentment with the basics enables us to resist the constant barrage of advertising that seeks to convince us that we are not able to enjoy life unless we buy some new gadget or service. Paul again says in 1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Is contentment a characteristic of your life? Are you content with your present salary or are you always trying to figure out how you can earn more money? Are you content with the size of your house or car, or do you secretly wish for something bigger and better? An attitude of discontentment is probably an indication that you are experiencing financial bondage.

A second purpose for money is:

TO GIVE TO CHRISTIANS

During the time of Christ, the Jews and Gentiles had no dealings with each other. But God was able to overcome this problem among Christians by using Jewish Christians to take the Gospel to the Gentiles and then using the Gentile believers to meet the material needs of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who were experiencing famine. Paul explains this purpose for money in 2 Corinthians 8:14: “…that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want….”

Our generosity and willingness to give to meet the needs of other Christians is a reflection of our true spirituality. You can often tell how committed a Christian really is and where his priorities really are by looking at his cheque book.

Not long after my father accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he became very interested in missionary work. He was informed of a specific need for £5.00. And although he couldn’t meet that need himself (for in those days after the war, £5.00 was more than a week’s wages), he prayed that the Lord would provide. After he prayed, he lay down on top of his bed. And as he lay there thinking, he heard my grandmother — who wasn’t a Christian at that time — come up the stairs, past his door and into her room. A short time later, he heard her come out and stop at his door. Then she came in and said, “Here, I’m sure you can use that,” and put a large white £5.00 note into his hand. God uses the abundance of one Christian to meet the needs of others.

When was the last time that God prompted you to give to the need of another Christian? Did you obey God’s prompting?

God’s third purpose for money is:

TO CONFIRM DIRECTION

One of the greatest protections that every Christian has from making wrong financial decisions is purposing not to move forward on any program unless and until the funds are provided. Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way will not lack God’s support. He is just as able to supply funds ahead of time as afterward and He much prefers doing so.”

God will use the supply of money or the lack of it to confirm His direction for many of our financial decisions. If the funds are not available, it could be for several reasons: either we have misspent the money; we don’t need the item; or God may be testing our faith by providing the funds just when they are needed.

Before I left Northern Ireland to attend Bible college in the United States, my father sat me down and told me that they weren’t able to pay for my Bible school education for two reasons: 1) they couldn’t afford it, and 2) they wanted me to learn to trust God for the money without borrowing and without making my financial needs known to anyone but the Lord. Half way through one school year, I didn’t have enough funds to pay for the next term. I sensed the Lord leading that if the funds were not provided on a certain day by 4:00 p.m. then I would take that as his direction for me to return home. The day of the deadline arrived, and at 3:50 p.m. God had still not provided the money. Then the telephone rang and I was asked to go immediately to the school office. I was asked if I had all of the money to pay my school bill. I told them I hadn’t and how I sensed the Lord’s leading to put a deadline at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. I was then told that before I even came into the school office, an anonymous donor had placed enough money in my school account to take care of my entire school bill. I looked at the clock, and it was just seconds before 4:00 p.m. God had confirmed His direction with the precise timing of a gift.

This leads us to God’s fourth purpose for money:

TO DEMONSTRATE GOD’S POWER

2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” God is a supernatural, powerful God, who wants to demonstrate His reality and power both to Christians and to an unbelieving, skeptical world. One of the ways He has chosen to do this is through the miraculous provision of money.

A miracle is a natural or supernatural event with precise timing that brings glory to God. Whenever a Christian or a church prays about a specific financial need, and they receive an unexpected and unsolicited gift from someone who didn’t know about that need, God’s supernatural power is demonstrated.

In Malachi 3:10, we read: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” God wants to demonstrate His power and bless us if only we will trust Him with our finances.

A young couple I know were challenged about tithing. They were deep in debt and experiencing all the consequences of financial bondage after stepping outside of God’s will and making some wrong financial decisions. When the husband received his next pay cheque, they first wrote a cheque for their tithe, and then paid the remaining outstanding bills. By the end of the week, they had no money in their bank account and the petrol tank in their car was nearly empty. On the way to church that next Sunday morning, the husband suggested not giving the tithe to the church as he needed petrol to get to work the next day; but the young wife insisted that having made the commitment to God, they should obey and trust the Lord to demonstrate His power on their behalf. The following day, the young wife expected the Lord to provide the money miraculously in the post. But when the post arrived and there was no provision of money, she became angry at God. Then just before the husband had to leave for work, a relative arrived with an unexpected cash gift enough to fill the family car with petrol. That young family saw a demonstration of God’s power, and they were then able to share with their children how powerful God is and how He was able to provide for their specific need. God delights in demonstrating His power so that we can report them to each other and to our children and to our grandchildren.

Outline taken from Men’s Manual Volume 2

Personal Evaluation: Thriftiness

  • Do you plan out each day so you can make the wisest use of every hour?
  • Do you save all you can so you can have available funds to give?
  • When your income increases, do you keep the same standard of living so you have more to give?
  • Does the present condition of your car indicate to people that you do not value the possessions that the Lord has given to you?
  • Do you pay for services that you have the time and ability to do yourself?

The Power for True Success & Character Clues

15 Basic Steps to Getting the Best Buy

  1. Relate Money to the Time Required to Earn It
  2. Compare Cost with Other Things that Could Be Bought
  3. Figure Savings by Percentages, Not Cents
  4. Put All Earnings Directly into the Bank
  5. Carry as Little Cash as Necessary
  6. Know What You Want before Shopping
  7. Focus on the Buy, Not the Bank Balance
  8. Look at the Price before You Look at the Product
  9. Make Sure You Really Know the Full Price
  10. Determine the Unit Price of Quantity Buying
  11. Total Your Purchases before Checking Out
  12. Check Products in a Consumer Guide
  13. Write Out Questions and Answers
  14. Get Counsel from Owners and Repairmen
  15. Check with Your Wife before Buying

Men’s Manual Volume 2

Tusser’s Poem on Thriftiness

Tusser has a poem on Thriftiness, twelve lines in length, and in rhyme, every word of which begins with t (died 1580).

The thrifty that teacheth the thriving to thrive,
Teach timely to traverse, the thing that thou ’trive,
Transferring thy toiling, to timeliness taught,
This teacheth thee temp’rance, to temper thy thought,
Take Trusty (to trust to) that thinkest to thee,
That trustily thriftiness trowleth to thee.
Then temper thy travell, to tarry the tide;
This teacheth thee thriftiness, twenty times tryed,
Take thankfull thy talent, thank thankfully those
That thriftily teacheth [? teach thee] thy time to transpose.
Troth twice to be teached, teach twenty times ten,
This trade thou that takest, take thrift to thee then.

Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, xlix. (1557).

How to Demonstrate Thriftiness

at Home

  • Taking good care of the items in my possession.
  • Budgeting the income and formulating family guidelines by which to evaluate each expenditure.
  • A parent showing children how to budget money and schedule priorities and goals.
  • Investing personal money and time wisely in order to prepare for future goals.
  • Turning off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances.

at Work/School

  • Looking for ways to save your employer money.
  • Being punctual for meetings.

at Church

  • Purposing to set aside your tithe before using the money for other purposes.
  • Looking for ways to save more money so that you have more to give.

Character Definitions of Thriftiness

  • Knowing how to accomplish the most with the resources that are available. Not encouraging yourself or others to spend that which is not necessary (Character Clues Game)
  • Multiplying my resources through wise investments so I have more to give back to God (The Power for True Success)
  • Allowing myself and others to spend only what is necessary (Character First!)

Bible Verses Related to Thriftiness

3621 oikonomew oikonomeo oy-kon-om-eh’-o

from 3623; ; v

AV-be steward 1; 1

1) to be a steward

2) to manage the affairs of a household

3) to manage, dispense, order, regulate

  • Luke 16:2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward <3621>. 

3622 oikonomia oikonomia oy-kon-om-ee’-ah

from 3623; TDNT-5:151,674; n f

AV-dispensation 4, stewardship 3; 7

1) the management of a household or of household affairs

1a) specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other’s property

1b) the office of a manager or overseer, stewardship

1c) administration, dispensation

  • Luke 16:2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship <3622>; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
  • Luke 16:3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship <3622>: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
  • Luke 16:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship <3622>, they may receive me into their houses.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation <3622> of the gospel is committed unto me.
  • Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation <3622> of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: {heaven: Gr. the heavens}
  • Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation <3622> of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
  • Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation <3622> of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; {to fulfil…: or, fully to preach the word} 

3623 oikonomov oikonomos oy-kon-om’-os

from 3624 and the base of 3551; TDNT-5:149,674; n m

AV-steward 8, chamberlain 1, governor 1; 10

1) the manager of household or of household affairs

1a) esp. a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has intrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age

1b) the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer

1c) the superintendent of the city’s finances, the treasurer of a city (or of treasurers or quaestors of kings)

2) metaph. the apostles and other Christian teachers and bishops and overseers

  • Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward <3623>, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to givethem their portion of meat in due season?
  • Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward <3623>; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
  • Luke 16:3 Then the steward <3623> said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
  • Luke 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward <3623>, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
  • Romans 16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain <3623> of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards <3623> of the mysteries of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards <3623>, that a man be found faithful.
  • Galatians 4:2 But is under tutors and governors <3623> until the time appointed of the father.
  • Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward <3623> of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
  • 1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards <3623> of the manifold grace of God.