I write this article as much to myself as to you: I fully realize how money will persistently and insidiously seek to capture a bigger and bigger portion of my heart and my life.
I also know that drifting through life doesn’t work because I seldom drift closer to God.
Perhaps this is why Jesus declared these two loves to be polar opposites:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24 NIV
I am convinced that we need to be very intentional about keeping God first and money last. These tips will help.
1. Have a Regular Prayer Time
I am not talking about praying over a meal or even talking to God as you drive to work. These prayers are fine, but loving God means committing your time to Him. Set aside some time every day just for Him. He would love for you to do so.
2. Serve Others
The second greatest commandment (after loving God) is to love others. Do you serve your family? Do you serve your co-workers (even your subordinates)? Do you check on the widow who lives down the street? Do you volunteer to mentor a child of a single parent?
Notice that I haven’t said a word about money so far. Why? Because the best way to not love money is to proactively love God. As Jesus said, we can’t love both.
Now some money tips that will help us love God . . . .
3. Be a Giver
Why do I emphasize giving? Because doing so is the antidote for loving money.
God is the ultimate giver (He gave his only son). The more we develop a giver’s heart, the more we become like God and demonstrate our love for him.
4. Plan to Increase Your Giving for the Rest of Your Life
This isn’t about tithing, nor is it about legalism; it is about systematically ensuring that we never become complacent. Some of you struggle to give anything at all while others are stuck at 10%.
Why not set a goal of giving a greater percentage annually for the rest of your life? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give 30% or 50% or 70%? After all, this is about loving God; this is radical and this is about not being like everyone else.
5. Plan to Give Spontaneously
Budget a set amount to keep on hand to be able to bless others as needs arise. Jan and I keep a “bless envelope” on hand packed with cash earmarked to give. This is a fun, grass roots way to keep our giving real.
6. Meet with Accountability Partners
Do you know others who are striving to radically love Jesus? Meet with them regularly to encourage each other, share ideas and give testimonies of ways that have worked. Nothing motivates more than hearing from someone else who has actually done what you are considering.
7. Automate Your Finances
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “lead us not into temptation.” (Matthew 6:13 NIV) Keeping money easily accessible is, for some, a temptation. We keep a small buffer balance in our regular checking account, then have every dollar above that buffer amount transferred monthly to a less accessible account.
8. Set a Maximum Limit for How Much You Keep
Change your thinking from how much you give to how much you will keep. This is not a vow of poverty nor should it be a time for imprudence. But, unless you set a cap, you will drift to higher and higher standards of living without realizing it. Is this not what everyone around you does? Be radical, set that cap, and you will start viewing those pay raises as opportunities to give more. Remember to create a plan that honors God instead of money!
I hope these few thoughts will motivate you to love money less and love God more.
What other ideas do you have? Leave a comment!