“I am frugaler than you are!” He responded, “That’s not even a word. Besides, I am more frugal than you are.” Then she would say, “I am the frugalest!” He conceded. In fact it was because his wife was so frugal - she had not allowed their expenses to increase as income increased during his career in the corporate world, that they could initiate a move into ministry. The Lord honors the discipline of frugality with effective stewardship in life and ministry.
Frugality seems to be a lost discipline today with the estimated total indebtedness of U.S. households being $11.83 trillion at the end of 2014! (Federal Reserve Bank of New York). That is almost $40K for every man, woman and child across America! In a recent article, Dr. Peter C. Whybrow wrote, “Thanks to the seductive appeal of today’s consumer economy, … We have become addicted to the quick fix, be that tasty junk food, the electronic cocaine of the Internet, or the painless ease of a credit card purchase.” Seductive indeed! A scheme that feeds on short-term desire, low interest rates and tax systems that encourage borrowing has distorted consumer choice. The choice to delay gratification for the sake of fiscal responsibility is disavowed. Financial flexibility with owning stuff gives way to financial liability with stuff owning you.
A voice of one calling in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:3-4). However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace. …. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions (Acts 20:24, 33-34). John the Baptist and Paul provide New Testament examples of men that let nothing worldly get in the way of their Kingdom work. The short term situation was viewed in the Light of an eternal perspective. Today, Kingdom work can be inhibited by indebtedness of individuals, churches and governments as short-term fixes and comforts dominate the mindset of a generation. Debt limits options and inhibits individual choice.
Tips to Be Frugal:
- Quantify monthly expenses and evaluate their reflection of your priorities;
- Write down balances of loans outstanding – credit card balance is a loan;
- Discuss as a couple what you can do to begin eliminating the respective balances;
- Develop a family budget annually that pays down debt and reflects your priorities.
Prayer guide: Lord, I confess an addiction to immediate gratification, that easy purchase of something I want. Help me reevaluate my family’s needs versus our wants. Our indebtedness exceeds what it should be and I accept responsibility for that. Forgive me. Equip me to be real in financial discussions with my wife and develop a family budget that glorifies You. By Your grace, debt will no longer inhibit Kingdom work You want to orchestrate through me and my family. Amen.
A faithful father works to be frugal and lets nothing worldly inhibit Kingdom priorities.