Common Cents Part One: Finances and Faith

by Jan 11, 2021Article, Common Cents

CONTRIBUTORS

Rob and Cora: A couple whose debt nearly caused the demise of their marriage before discovering Dave Ramsey’s program.  They’ve dedicated themselves as teachers of Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) and head up this ministry at LifePoint.

Abang and Cathy: Second marriage newlyweds who have finance experience with divorce, single parenting, and the merging of mid-life finances.  Graduates of FPU.

Jennifer: Spent many years learning about personal finance management as a single adult and volunteering with Lifepoint’s FPU ministry.  Newly married with two stepchildren and learning how finances work as part of a couple.

Welcome to Common Cents: Money Questions & Answers! These articles are companion pieces to our sermon series, Financial Peace, and will offer a unique, practical perspective on the spiritual truths unpacked by our teaching team. For the next four weeks, we’ll hear personal stories and applicable advice from some of our LifePoint family. God’s Word has a lot to say about how we handle our money – we hope this series will inspire you to apply His truth and wisdom to your financial decisions this year!

Part One: Finances and Faith

The relationship between our finances and our faith is often perceived as a complicated one.  While many of us have no issues trusting God in most aspects of our lives, many us struggle to do this when it comes to money.  Our instinct can be to take that responsibility solely on ourselves, in financially fruitful times as well as not. However, the relationship between finances and our faith is one worth understanding.  The questions below focus on how finances can relate to our faith.

What does being a good steward of the resources God has provided personally look like for you?

Abang and Cathy: We currently drive old cars and share a four-bedroom cottage home with our family of seven.  The temptation exists for a new car, particularly when something happens with our old vehicles, but our commitment is to drive these cars as long as they still work.  Likewise with our home.  When we got married, it was tempting to purchase a bigger home for our blended family, but we made sacrifices in remaining in our current home in order to not take on more house debt.   The children share bedrooms and we fixed up the basement space to be a more livable area.  It can be challenging, particularly with Abang working from home and the children doing school from home, but we have found that we can make it work.  Individual office space would be nice, but as long as each person can find their own quiet nook, that is good enough.

Jennifer: Tithing regularly.  I decided in my early twenties that tithing was not optional. Mathematically at the time, tithing was going to break my budget.  But over the years, I have seen God be so faithful to me in this area.  He has always provided.

How has God used finances in your life to impact your relationships?

Rob and Cora: Seven years ago, we were on the brink of divorce due to financial strain in our marriage.  We were meeting with a marriage counselor and had unsuccessfully tried numerous programs and methods to help our situation when we remembered a book that we’d been given collecting dust on our bookshelf.  That book was Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.  Not only do we credit the program with saving our marriage, but we’ve also been able to use it to build a ministry of financial peace.  It is very rewarding to see couples come to our program sitting chairs apart during the first class due to marital strain and nine weeks later, see them sitting side by side.  God has provided not only an opportunity to save our relationship but also other relationships.

Abang and Cathy: Abang had debt when we met but instead of letting that define him, I knew from experience that good financial management could be self-educated.  Even though I had already completed the FPU course when I was single, Abang and I attended the course together in order to make sure we were both on the same page regarding financial decisions before our relationship progressed. God provided us with a way to strengthen our relationship before finding ourselves with issues over money.

What is something God has taught you about money through your own personal experience?

Jennifer: He owns it all and I am simply a steward of what God has given me.  I have found that this understanding changes how I see money.

Rob and Cora: God’s plan encompasses more than the present.  Dave Ramsey refers to it as “changing your family tree” – ultimately, this means making things better for the people who come after you.  Our daughter graduated college last December completely debt free.  Our other teenage daughter has been known to counsel her peers on good spending habits. Even our eleven-year-old son will comment on the foolishness of going into debt when he sees a car commercial advertising certain financing “deals.”  It is a blessing to be able to give my family a foundation in healthy financial habits that we did not have.

Abang and Cathy:  If you are disciplined and choose obedience to God by being good stewards of His provisions, He always provides.  When Abang was a single parent, his children were enrolled in before and after care at the start of the school year.  He worked full time and had no other option, but the expense was not something he could afford long term.  After having a conversation with his manager, Abang was able to adjust his work hours so that he could put his children on the bus and be home when they got out of school.  God provided the means so that paying for childcare was no longer necessary.

Stay tuned for next week’s article, on being Delivered From Debt!

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