MONEY AND THE FAMILY
Walter Sunder Singh
Economy drives a nation, and every family, small or big, is largely driven by its economical status. Money plays a major role in shaping the everyday affairs of all families. When money is deftly managed in a family, that family can definitely weather all and every storm it may encounter. A proper understanding about the use of money by every member of the family would certainly help the family to flourish and succeed in the social arena.
In our society, in most cases, both the parents work and earn for the family expenses. With mounting costs and soaring prices, it has become a necessity that both the spouses are properly employed. A banker was saying sadly to his close friend, "My wife is only interested in the growth of our three children. She never thinks about working in a school or company, and relieving my financial burdens. In this regard I admire your wife. With her salary and yours, your family life is relaxed and vibrant!" But his observation here is only half the truth. There are wise wives who manage their family finances well, even though the husband alone is the breadwinner of the family.
How do we earn money? It is not how much money you earn, but how you earn it that is very important. Recent scams and scandals in our country clearly portray the shameful and illegal ways of accumulating money and wealth by bad politicians and grabby loonies. The God we worship will not be pleased if we desire to gain money by amoral activities.
One should never forget that the Creator God expects every one of us to work and earn. Slothfulness is a serious crime in the sight of God. In Proverbs we see repeated warnings against slothfulness and its cousins. "Diligence brings a man to power, but laziness to forced labour" (Pro.12:24). Adam was asked by God to till the garden of Eden and take good care of it (Gen.2:15). Jesus was a keen worker in the carpentry shop of Joseph. And Paul was a neat tent maker, along with Mrs. & Mr. Aquila.
The financial health of any family depends on how the family resources are spent. Family counsellors firmly believe that many of the problems and feuds in the family are due to financial mismanagement. So, in order to enjoy a happy and productive family life, both husband and wife must take proper care in spending their hard-earned money.
Wasteful expenditure would certainly weaken the family health. Unplanned expenses would greatly affect the growth of every family member. An employee in a Christian NGO is proud about her two children. "My children will not eat food without non-vegetarian content. So I cook non-vegetarian meals three times a day, every day," she beamingly announces! Prodigal spending is a sure way to become poor. So, be careful about your daily, weekly and monthly expenses.
Remember to honour God, even through your ways of spending your money! God will definitely ask for the accounts of your spending. Proper stewardship in your family finances would certainly gladden the heart of the Saviour God.
Save for the rainy day! Saving a portion of your monthly income would guarantee the survival of your family in the face of adverse and unheralded situations. We live in a world where diseases abound and accidents occur aplenty. While safeguarding our own health and welfare, we have to ascertain the well-being of each of our family members.
The ennobling habit of saving can help you to buy articles that may cost you a little more. A suave wife of an Indian soldier testifies that she bought most of her household furniture from her savings. One man conducted the wedding of his only daughter in a grand manner, as he was saving a part of the salary for nearly 20 years. Another man saved Rs. 300 per month with a local bank. When their first daughter got a seat to study for MBBS, that saving came handy to pay all her fees.
Saving is the act of a visionary! As per the revelation of God, the young Joseph advised the Egyptian king to save one-fifth of all the food that was grown during the seven good years. That food was used during the seven years of hunger that came in the land of Egypt (Gen.41). So the mantra is, "Save to survive!"
The virtue of saving teaches us not to waste. Wasting the available resources is quite criminal. The miracle of five loaves and two broiled fishes aptly underlines this vital truth. "When they all had enough to eat, Jesus said to His followers, ‘Gather the leftover pieces of fish and bread so that nothing is wasted’ " (Jn.6:12). Yes, efficient management involves effective waste disposal. A last word on saving. A callous spender will never save. In order to save money, one ought to guard himself against lavish and reckless spending.
Giving Your Money
Money is definitely needed in ministry. God supplies the needs of His mission through the gifts of generous people. Jesus had Judas Iscariot who collected all the offerings that His team received. Paul commends the Philippian believers for their hearty and liberal giving (Phil.4:14-18).
For a Christian, giving is a God-given privilege. A true Christian is a cheerful giver. Christians have been the trendsetters in the area of voluntary and voluminous giving. And God greatly loves any cheerful giver.
Besides giving to the ministry of God, every Christian should have the practice of giving towards the emergent needs of his neighbours, friends, relatives and colleagues. If we help others when they are in need, we may get help from them in our hour of crisis.
Giving to the poor is a laudable act, which has eternal ramifications. Jesus Christ often recommended it. To the rich young man’s cascading questions, Jesus’ firm answer was, "If you want to be perfect, then go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. If you do this, you will have treasure in heaven" (Matt.19:21). When Jesus was in Bethany, at the house of Simon, a woman poured a very expensive perfume on His head. While this unique act was unjustly criticised, Jesus admired that action and said, "You will always have the poor with you, and you can help them anytime you want" (Mk.14:7).
As conscientious parents, let us teach our wards to give, by offering a part of our hard-earned income to our church, missions, the poor and the needy neighbours.
Finally, may our prayer precede all our spending, saving and giving. In other words, let us prayerfully spend, prayerfully save and prayerfully give. And remember that immutable word, "Your Father knows what is done in secret, and He will reward you" (Matt.6:4,6,18 CEV).