Financial Wellbeing

It seemed that no sooner had we emerged out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were hit with another blow in the form of the cost of living crisis. There is no doubt many of us have had to be more mindful about money and budgeting as a result of this than perhaps ever before and for some of us this period of increasing costs and high inflation has been really tough and caused much anxiety.

I want to start this section with a question: Do you trust that God will provide for what you need? Please note the question is about what you need rather than what you want and there is a big difference between these two! 

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12: 24-26

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6: 31-33

Responsibility & Stewardship

With the reassurance that we can trust God to provide what we need, we do also have to acknowledge that we should take responsibility and be good stewards of what we have been given. 

It is important to recognise that some of us seem to naturally steward better than others! You may be someone who loves to set budgets around your finances and has developed great spreadsheets to help you do this and perhaps you are feeling you have this area of wellbeing sorted. However, it may also be that your focus and sense of contentment is too heavily dependent on how your finances are going instead of how your relationship with God is going? Has it become an idol in your life?

You may on the other hand be someone who is very ‘relaxed’ or even ‘impulsive’ about how you spend money. It may be that you feel good that you don’t allow your financial situation to have much impact on you but at the same time you might be in danger of running up debts and then not being able to provide for others around you who rely on your income.

If you are married and both have a different approach to stewarding and how you manage finances, then this can cause a lot of tension and conflict in your relationship. It will be very important to take time to agree some processes and principles you are both willing to engage with around the management of your finances and this might require some compromises on both sides. 

Unfortunately, with the way our society has now set up ‘electronic spending’ methods rather than using ‘paper money’, it has become easier than ever before to spend and not keep track of this. Also, businesses have become very clever with respect to how they market and entice you in to thinking you need to purchase something, and spend a lot of money in this ‘psychological warfare’, as they know it can drive up profits by increasing sales. All we have to do is consider our local refuse dump and look at how much people are throwing away all the time to know that overall most of us buy far more than we actually need. It really helps to realise that what we have, comes from and belongs to God, and therefore it should be our desire to steward this well. 

“The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord.” Psalm 24:1

“Honour the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest.” Proverbs 3:9

CAP Money Course

The good news is that there is some good practical help available to help you steward and manage your finances better, if this is something with which you struggle with, in the form of the CAP Money Course. We are very fortunate that these courses are being run locally from the JCC building.

If you are struggling with debts and don’t know how to resolve this then you can receive personal support from CAP. We are again very fortunate that we have a CAP debt help support centre that operates out of our building and their advisor can provide support to those seeking to escape the burden of financial debt. 

Give & Generosity
“Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
Corinthians 9:6-7

“Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.”

1 Peter 4:10

If God suggests we should give to others and be generous then it is again because it is something that does us good and will bring a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Moreover, it also builds our faith and trust in Him to provide for us.(Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you.)

Generosity is surely also an overflow of the revelation of how God loves us and how generous He has been to us that we then want to help and give to those in need around us. 2 Corinthians 9: 11-12 – You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

There is of course going to be considerable variation in how much money people can give depending on their personal financial situation and very much a matter between each person and God, but the 10% tithe level suggested by many Christians is not a bad starting point.

Freedom & Thankfulness

Ironically, to enjoy a high level of financial wellbeing, we need to seek to break free of the hold of a materialistic world that would suggest a narrative that our success and achievement is reflected by what we have, and what we own, and that this is what will make us happy and content. I think many of us would acknowledge that this narrative often leaves people feeling unfulfilled and actually, just wanting more rather than being content and thankful for what they have. It may be, of course, that they are trying to fill a ‘God shaped hole’ in their lives that ultimately will never satisfy.

If we take hold of the fact that ultimate joy and contentment comes from our relationship with God, our creator, and that we should live in thankfulness for what He provides for us according to our needs, then we stand a better chance of breaking free from materialism. Remember we are called to be ‘in the world but not of the world.’

This is a challenge, especially in the Western World with materialistic temptations all around us, but we can pray and ask for God’s help. As we draw closer to Him and spend time with Him, then we start to realise that He fulfills all our needs and desires in a far greater and more meaningful way than the things of the world can ever do.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1: 3-4

How is your Financial Wellbeing?

Below is a link to an assessment questionnaire that will give you a guide as to where your financial wellbeing ‘dial’ sits presently and show you if this is an area of wellbeing that needs to be worked on:

Slide Financial Assessment Click Here