I want to challenge all of us to grow more in 2013. In case you haven’t figured it out, I don’t want to teach you about the status quo method of financial management. I don’t want us to be satisfied in a zombie-like spiritual phase. I want us to grow. I want us to allow God to use us to help change the world.
One of the enemies of that goal is to allow one question to be your sole determining factor in financial decisions – can I afford it?
It is important to recognize the value of this question. If you cannot afford it, then I believe wisdom dictates you should not buy an item.
If you’re going to be forced to get a loan to buy it, borrow money to obtain it, or put it on a credit card and make payments over several months, you should do everything in your control not to make the purchase. This is especially true of things that go down in value. Buying things you cannot afford is dangerous and unhealthy (spiritually and physically).
The Problem with the “Can I Afford it?” Question
Here’s one way people state their objection:
“Craig, what is it you’ve got against people who buy big homes and fancy cars? Are you so judgmental as to say that they are sinning? God doesn’t care what you own, but he cares about the condition of your heart. If I can afford it, why would it be wrong to buy it?”
There is a lot of truth to those statements.
It is not a sin. I cannot judge. God does care about your heart, not the totality of your possessions.
Still, I think the ‘can I afford it?’ question pales in comparison to questions like:
- What glorifies God most?
- What would Jesus do?
- Am I living like those who Jesus praised for the ways they managed their money?
Here’s another way to look at it …
I don’t think God’s call for you with your finances is to spend whatever your boss is willing to pay you.
True, if every person in America was able to give 10%, that would be a dramatic improvement to our current giving around 2%.
I believe that God calls some of us, more of us, to share more in the grace of giving.
I believe there are situations where it honors God to say “I can afford this …”, but instead I’m going to use this money for this ministry.
Here’s an alternative I suggest:
Give me neither poverty nor riches (Prov. 30:8). Ask God to help you determine what is an appropriate amount of money that you should live on. That amount should allow you to enjoy the blessing of your income, and it should allow you to share in the grace of giving.
Could I challenge you to ask God if there is more he’d like you to do, in light of eternity, for the praise of his glory?
I believe God is calling more of us in 2013. He might be calling us to find something to guide us other than the question: what can I afford? He might be calling us to pass over things that are within our rights.
He’s calling us to use our freedom not for self indulgence, but for the sake of others.