We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!
Literally, ask yourself, do I really know where my money is going? Furthermore, am I being a good steward over my money? Often times we can have money matters mixed up. For example, there is a difference between being able to afford something versus being able to pay for it; having wealth and having money; and budgeting versus balancing. The former tends to require effort and self control while the latter may have you broke, stressed, and unable to effectively manage your funds. When my husband and I married we had big dreams to ensure we followed all of the statutes learned in our marriage maintenance sessions prior to our wedding day. We knew that tithing was a big part of that. Unfortunately, the day after our wedding our financial life shattered. Not due to the wedding, thank God it was paid in cash, but due to an unexpected occurrence that changed our lives (another blog). So we ignored the thought of tithing because we couldn’t “afford” it. What we noticed, shortly after our “bright idea” was that our money started to become extremely tight. It almost seemed as if it was infected. And according to Malachai 3:8-11, it was infected. We could not get past our swamp of bills because we were being disobedient.
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing You?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachai 3:8-11)
At one time, we reached a really low point financially, so we came up with another bright idea to “tithe.” (Insert chuckle here.) We were convicted with money maintenance and gave God our issue. He gave us a heart to tithe. (Pause) When you tithe, it is an act of worship. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Pastor, the Deacons, or the Trustees and what you perceive they are doing with the money. God gave “you” a command to fill His storehouse. After you’ve done your part, that’s all you need to worry about. If you truly believe that God is a just God, you will also trust that He will deal with those that mishandle holy things. Don’t get caught up in judging someone else or you will be judged in the same way. If you need to search for a new church home, etc. that’s one thing, but don’t disobey tithing because of your criticism.
Girlfriend, there is a difference between affording something and being able to pay for it. If you have to shuffle your bills and suffer your budget to purchase something, then you “can’t” afford it. Better yet, if you don’t have a budget, you need to get one fast. We have to learn to live within our means. Does this mean you can’t buy nice things? No. One of my family members has an affinity for authentic Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and the list goes on; however, she budgets her money by saving throughout the year before she goes on her fashion frenzies.
I want to encourage you to make smart decisions with your money. Don’t take the scripture “Do not worry about tomorrow” out of context. It’s about worry, not about wise financial preparation. Be smart about preparing for hard times, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8).
I don’t want you to think you are to center your life and focus around money. But we should be good stewards of it. Are you leaving an inheritance for your children? Can you pay for a flat tire or collision without borrowing money? If you are snowed in, can you feed your family for a week or three (don’t mistake this for greed or hoarding)? Can you own your home or car? If you lose your job, can you manage your household for, at minimum, three months? This has nothing to do with status, but everything to do with the ability to manage your funds.
You know that finances are a thorn in my side and I am thankful to know that You have set out a map for me, in Your Word, to follow. Help me to grow in this area realizing that I have to tithe to You out of obedience and to give to the needy as an offering of love, also through obedience. Help me to be a good steward and to think before I swipe, and pray before I purchase. Help me keep it in order. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to look at your pocket book and do a self examination. Am I being a good steward over my funds? Am I tithing? Am I giving to those that need it? Is my house financially in order?
There are thousands of formulas and programs to use to help you manage your funds. My husband is a Dave Ramsey fan, so we use the envelope method. But here is our simple and easy Excel program we use monthly, and sometimes weekly. Sometimes it’s thin (or even invisible) and sometimes it’s okay. But at least we know where our money is going, how we can improve, and what changes we need to make to fix the bumps of last month. Download it here and enter your numbers! Sample Budget
The Proverbs 31 Woman had it right, read her passage here.
Read a related EmpowerMoment: What Do You Have to Offer?
As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.