Spender? Saver?... or Something Else?
Are you a spender or a saver? Is spending or saving more God honoring? Wealth accumulation or wealth enjoyment? My guess is most people would answer that saving is more God honoring because spenders are frivolous and care too much about things of this world. A smaller percentage of people would probably answer that spending is the way to go because spending enjoys what God has created and doesn’t put confidence in our financial state. Whichever side you’re on the reasoning of the other side probably seems unreasonable, unbiblical and manipulative. So, is the most God honoring approach a healthy balance of each? Not so much.
As long as your finances are viewed through a lens of desiring balance, you will miss the greater perspective that your finances should fall under. In their book God and Money, authors Gregory Baumer and John Cortines describe how “spenders maximize the value of today” and “savers maximize the value in the future.” Taking this perspective may allow you to see that both ways of handling money can be rooted in a very good goal. Maximizing today lives in the understanding that God has blessed you with this moment, this life, and these resources and you want to enjoy them. Maximizing the future handles your finances in a way that allows those blessings to last a long time. Again, the benefit of each approach can have good motivations but, as Christians, there should be a singular principle that supersedes simply balancing out your financial approach.
Matthew 13 records Jesus telling a parable about a sower who scatters seeds. His point is that many different people will hear the message of the Gospel, but responses will differ. The first two reasons He gives for people’s rejection of the Gospel are fairly broad but the third reason is very specific. “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Jesus’ particular use of the deceitfulness of wealth as a mode used to distract you from the abundant life he offers should call your attention the importance of approaching your finances correctly. Following this warning Jesus says, “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” When these verses are read together, along with the overarching Biblical teaching on wealth, you can see the superseding principle of how to view your money: As a servant, eager to use all your resources to build God’s Kingdom; to produce an abundant crop.
What is a servant… spender/saver?
A servant joyfully places their finances under God’s authority, knowing that money has huge spiritual and relational implications. A servant sees all their money as God’s and they submit their wealth to Him- for greater impact, enjoyment, and gratitude. At times this may mean that they need to spend more to enjoy the life and the people God has blessed them with. At times this may mean they need to save more to be able to better prepare for the future. All the time, it means giving regularly to the things that promote the Gospel and help the poor. A servant evaluates all their life, all their finances, with a gratitude to God and acknowledgement that, in fact, none of what they own is theirs, that God owns it all, and they are simply stewards of His blessings.
It is through the lens of a servant that you can correctly see how you’re doing as a saver or spender. The goal is not balance. The goal is interacting with your wealth in a way that is trust producing, joy filled, and opportunity seeking. The goal is living as a servant, placed in charge of God’s money, using what He has given you to enjoy life, to bless those around you, to help the needy, to build God’s kingdom, to save wisely, to respond to the Gospel in every area of your life… to produce “a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what has been sown.”