Breathing Room – Day 4
By Sandra Stanley
- Luke 16:13
- Matthew 6:19-21
- Money isn’t just money to God. It’s more than dollars and cents and loans and budgets. To God, your money’s direction shows your heart’s affection. How you spend it (or as we’ll see today, whether you’re willing to not spend all of it) shows God how committed you are to being able to follow him. This is why having margin—or breathing room—isn’t just the best way to manage your calendar, it’s the best way to manage your money too.
So what does it mean to manage your money with margin? It means you don’t spend every dollar that you make. You leave some breathing room between the money coming in and the money going out. Today’s verse from Luke explains why managing your money this way matters so much to God. At the end of a long parable, Jesus is making sure his audience understood the point he was trying to make and he says, “You cannot serve two masters . . . You cannot serve both God and money.” Two thousand years ago, the folks in Jesus’ audience could be literally enslaved for an unpaid debt. Today, your master may be a credit card company or a mortgage lender. But the result is the same: someone else gets to call the shots in your life.
God may be nudging you to move to a new city, but if you’re upside down in your mortgage and can’t sell your house, you’re not free to follow him. He may be calling you to adopt, but if you’ve spent instead of saved and can’t afford the cost, you’re not free to follow him. Or maybe you feel like it’s time to leave your job, but your family can’t afford to lose your salary because you’re currently spending every dollar that comes in.
How you manage your money matters to God because the bottom line of your bank account may keep you from being able to say yes to what he’s calling you to do.
This is why you need financial breathing room. Managing your money with margin (i.e., staying out of debt, reigning in your spending, limiting your standard of living) gives you the freedom to be generous, to serve others, to say yes when he says go. It gives you the freedom to follow God right into the very best version of your life.