Tuesday: Living Within Your Means

“There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it” (Prov. 21:20, NKJV). This text contrasts the stewardship of economic responsibility with luxurious and wasteful management.

Live Within Your Means

Image © Krieg Barrie Goodsalt.com

Foolish people make no plans to live within their means. They greedily spend wealth at their disposal, even borrowed wealth, feeling that financial wisdom or frugal living is a hardship, like an unwanted diet. Yet even when we need to borrow money, such as for a house, we must do it with careful consideration and the realization that we need to live within our means.

The wealthy can live within their means out of their wealth. Their problem is that they always are worrying about their wealth and how to keep it. When people have very little and live from paycheck to paycheck, they worry about sustaining life, not wealth. Still, the Bible gives counsel on living within our means, regardless of how much we have. Paul recommends what we might consider extreme simplicity: “But if we have food and clothing [could include housing], we will be content with that” (1 Tim. 6:8, NIV). Paul doesn’t consider earthly possessions all that important because for him, living in Christ is enough (Phil. 1:21).

What principle must be remembered before anything else? Matt. 6:33. How can we be sure that this is how we are living our lives?

We should think of our means not as income but as resources that we have a responsibility to manage. A budget is the method we should use to accomplish this task. Planning a budget is a learned skill that needs to be studied thoughtfully. Disciplined practice and effort are needed to be successful in managing a balanced financial plan (Prov. 14:15). If we make the commitment to succeed in our financial stewardship plan, we will be able to avoid embarrassing financial mistakes.

If you are having a problem with money management, set up a budget. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as totaling all your expenditures for a few months and then averaging in your monthly expenses. The key is to live within your means, no matter what, and to do all that is possible to avoid debt.

Read Luke 14:27-30. Jesus illustrates here the cost of discipleship by giving the example of a builder estimating the cost of building a tower and what happens if he can’t finish it. What lesson on stewardship should we take from here?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons