How many of us LOVE a bargain, can I get an amen? For me, it’s even deeper than that. I REALLY LOVE to get things on the cheap. I mean, I don’t want to buy it unless it is under $20, but $10 is even better! It shocks me how much things cost, and when you know you can find it (or a version of it) for less, why pay more? Isn’t that some store’s slogan? I mean, really, why pay more!
How many of us, when complemented on something we have on or an item in our homes, respond with, “Dude, this was ten bucks at Target on clearance!” We all giggle and high-five each other over our ability to find a steal. And it’s fun! We love to save our family’s money and still look great. We love to treasure hunt for that great piece to go on the side table in the living room and brag about it. For me it’s the equivalent of bragging about catching the big one, but it’s not a fish, it’s the perfect black sweater for under $12.
Maybe it’s because I have always been on a tight budget, a theatre actor turned pastor, both not known for the lucrative paycheck. I have pretty much always worked for not-for-profit companies (churches and most theatres). There is a very different sensibility of how money is spent because the majority of that money comes from donations.
But something has come to my attention of late and I’ve really been wrestling with it. I don’t think it’s just that I want to save money or enjoy the thrill of the bargain hunt. I think there is something in me that isn’t comfortable with the idea of spending the money because I don’t believe I’ll ever have it or that I deserve it. It’s called the poverty mindset or poverty spirit. Now, I’m not about to preach the prosperity gospel and claim that God wants all of us to drive fancy cars and have private jets. But what I have discovered about myself is that somewhere along the line I decided that being poor is more holy. And I love holiness. I love being set apart for the Lord. I don’t want anything to get in the way of my communion with God so I don’t embrace the things that would distract me, like money, right? Wrong!
Money isn’t evil, poverty isn’t holy.
I’ve discovered that I have believed the lie that being poor, or living without, is more holy than having money. I’m thinking, and probably have said something like, “I’m broke for Jesus!” It’s not surprising that notion is out there. Monks and nuns (those we often point to as the most holy) take vows of poverty. Then it must be holy!
But the truth is, it’s all a heart issue. The Lord wants all of my heart and yours. His message was never, money is evil and poverty is holy. Rather, his question is, to whom or what does your heart belong? Contrary to my thinking, spending $12 or $85 on a perfect black sweater doesn’t matter to the Lord. What matters to him is that I trust him. He actually enjoys when I treat myself to a cute new shirt, he thinks I’m adorable in it! He’s a good father! He gives good gifts to his children. He delights in us and wants us to be tethered to his heart.
I’m doing my best to break the agreement with the spirit of poverty and walk in freedom to receive all the blessings God has for me. I will be cautious and steward well the money we earn or are given, but I will also stand tall and know that I’m not called to minimize my value or possibility in the name of holiness. I believe that I can be successful and we can have money all to the glory of God!
Rich with holiness,