Ways to Spend your Money

Several weeks ago, as I was reading through Proverbs, I thought about the different general areas in which you can spend your money. I was reminded of that as I was preparing for this past Sunday’s sermon, Worry Free Living. We’re in Matthew 6, fourth in a series called, The Greatest Sermon Ever. And Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, has some strong words to say about how our money is used:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19).
“where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
“You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).

I’m not sure this is an exhaustive list, but the way I see it, there are only four areas in which you can spend money.

1. You can spend money on things that span eternity.
When Jesus talks about storing treasure up in heaven, I think this is what he is talking about – investing your money in the kingdom: Giving your money to causes that advance the kingdom (hopefully like your church); Being generous to people who are in need. Those are things that make a difference for eternity. And those have the greatest return on your investment (1 Timothy 6:17-10).

2. You can spend money on things that (generally) last a lifetime.
Like land, a house, a business, an education. Those are all things that we typically think of as an investment – they appreciate in value. Though they are still temporary, they are long lasting items.

3. You can spend money on necessities.
This would be stuff like food, clothing, even a vehicle. You need these items to survive…or at least to survive in our culture, but for the most part they have little lasting value.

4. You can spend money on temporal items that are completely unnecessary.
These would be luxuries, entertainment, hobbies, etc. They are not bad things, just not necessary things. They again have little lasting value (except maybe our sanity).

Most of us spend in all four areas. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that many people spend excessively in areas 3 and 4 – investing in things that have no lasting value. Again, not all of that is bad. We have to have food. God created us to enjoy things in this life. I guess what I’m hoping to do as I get older is simply prioritize my spending where more and more of the money I’m stewarding gets diverted to areas higher on the list. Anybody have a different take?

1 Comment so far

  1. Craig Fisher on March 18th, 2009

    Not a different take, but an additional thought. The more I focus on item 1, the more that the problems and stress of items 2,3,and 4 disappear. When those priorities are in order, my needs are met and my desires change and a different kind of discipline emerges. (Work in progress.)

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