Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Does it Cost?

With this week's focus on keeping our finances simple and less stressed, I am also thinking alot the cost of what we do with all of our resources. We do not only spend our pennies, but each of our resources as they are all as finite as our monthly paychecks.

The truth is, is that whenever we use what we have we are taking from the supply of what we will have for later. Sometimes that is in respect for money, and sometimes it is in time or mental energy. Determining when and where to properly use any of those things, is the key to being a good steward of what God has given us.

On Facebook this week, I asked the question: What helps you MOST feel like a good steward of your finances ...keeping a budget, using cash or being frugal?

I think Christine answered for a good portion of us when she said, "Being frugal, not buying things others would buy. I try very hard to seriously evaluate whether I need something, or if I could do without."  

I liked her followup answer..."it helps to remember that Jesus didnt have an ipad :)"

I would agree that by being protective of our resources, whether financial or otherwise, we give ourselves a leg up  in the effort to make sure that all of our limited assets are distributed the way that God would want us to.  Choosing when and where we use those resources creates a sense of purpose for what God has given us, and allows for more effectively using them for the reasons we desire in our hearts to use them.

In her book, Organized Simplicity, Tsh Oxenreider talks about "opportunity cost". She talks describes opportunity cost as being "the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action...(it is) the benefit you could have received by taking an alternative action.

For me, that means that there are pros and cons of everything we chose to give ...when we give, it costs us something. When we spend anything on anything else we are pulling from what we have, which means that resource is no longer available to be used elsewhere. 

For instance, if you spend "x" on a new pair of shoes then you have "x" less to put towards the light bill. In the same way if you spend "x" amount of minutes watching tv then you have "x" less to give reading to your kiddos, reading your bible, etc. 

Our opportunity costs have to be evaluated when we look at all that God has given us, and how we use it. Whether we are considering our pennies, our energy, our relationships, our emotional reserve or our time we are "spending" those things either for God's benefit ..or NOT.

Something else to consider though, is when we have a heart for giving (again, no matter what it is we give) and we are doing it with service to God in mind, God does great things with the resources we chose to offer up. 

Consider the church in Macedonia, when the apostle Paul was collecting funds for the church in Jerusalem ..."..they were tested by many troubles, and they were very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which is overflowing in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.  They did more than we had hoped because their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do." 2 Cor 8: 1-5

As godly women, I believe we often struggle with the opportunity cost of everything we give in our lives. We struggle with giving too much time to laundry and thus sacrificing time with our kids, or too much time serving out side our homes and give up nurturing the environment of our homes. We struggle with the time it takes to cut coupons, vs the pennies we spend at the grocery store.  We struggle with whether or not we should take care of ourselves with a 30 minute jog or give focused time to our husbands at the end of our day.

We desire to beautifully balance all of these precious resources, because we have so much as stake ..namely our families, our homes and our godly service. 

We must remember that above all else, we are to give ourselves to God, filled with joy in the giving and thus being moved to rich generosity.   

Does that mean we give to anything and everything to everyone? The Macedonian church was begging for the privilege of giving to a certain cause, not every one that was presented to them.  We must use wisdom in determining which causes are worthy, and which ones dont make the cut. But when we chose the right area to give, we are doing "just as God wanted {us} to!"

{Welcome ifellowshippers! Its always a blessing to have you here!}
{Dont forget to check out our post on PearBudget and our current GIVEAWAY ...a great way to manage your financial resources well!}


  1. Good morning! I really enjoyed your post! We are in the midst of discerning what our wants and our needs are to live more responsibly and simply. I just finished Tsh's book and really gleaned a lot of wonderful information and ideas from her as well!

    Visiting from ifellowship - happy Wed!

  2. Excellent post! What a great reminder to keep our hearts and minds focused on what's important. I love that quote about the iPad :) Visiting from iFellowship.

  3. always juggling this - thanks!


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