insights from a daughter of the King, teacher, farmer's wife, and Mommy

5.29.2012

a 7 discussion on spending

A few weeks ago I came across a book that sparked my interest, but not enough to actually buy it.  Then my friend, Amy and her friend Stephdecided to do a book club review of Jen Hatmaker's book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, so I joined, hit buy on the kindle and my journey began.  In recent years, I have found fasting interesting.  It was not something encouraged or even practiced at the baptist church I grew up in.  But the idea of fasting is biblical and to quote the book:

"Perhaps this is why Scripture calls us to the practice of fasting - from food, from greed, from selfishness, from luxuries.  It isn't just the experience, its the discipline.  It changes us.  Fasting helps us develop mastery over the competing voices in our heads that urge us toward more, toward indulgence, toward emotional volatility.  Like consistent discipline eventually shapes our children's behavior, so it is with us.  Believe it or not, God can still change us.  Not just our habits but our hearts.  Say "no" for a year and see for yourself.'"

So, why not give God every opportunity to change us?

Month Six: Spending

I specifically choose the month of spending to write on, even before I read it.  Money is hard, perhaps thats why Jesus talks about it so many times.  He knew we would have trouble with or without it.  Jen (author) chooses seven locations to spend money at for a month. 

Seven places, thats it.  If you could only spend money at seven places where would they be?

Consumerism eats at me.  Every where we look someone is trying to sell us something and when we get it bought they have something new for us to buy.   It is ugly and will eat away not only at your finances but all other aspects of life.  It is a battle and if you aren't trying to beat it, it is beating you. 

My go to excuse all my life, even as a little person, "but I need it."  What do I need that I can buy?  What can I do without?  What does my money say about my faith?

I asked my sunday school class this week,  "if you were arrested for being a Christian, what evidence would there be to convict you?"  Could your bank statments make or break your case? 

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24

Jen says "What if we are camels, on this side of the needle, dangerously content with our fake gospel and avoiding the actual Christian life described in Scripture?"

Truth be told, I suck at money.  I spend unwisely, I tithe inconsistently, I don't do money well. 

I am not rich, but I am not poor.  I do not go without.  I do not help those who do as I should.

But change is possible.  God can still use me.  He can still use you. 

What does your money say about you?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21


more book talk:
Charla  and Katie are writing on Waste today.
Lindsy is writing on Spending, like me.
Amy Y. is writing on both.


13 comments:

  1. Her ideas of feasting and fasting really struck me -- I find that I tend to define fasting too narrowly: as only related to food. I like that I see it more broadly now and that I can move it from my complicated relationship with food (um, I think I'll die if I miss a meal) into other areas that just might lead me back to food :)

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    1. food is hard for me too....but i think that might be a sign that I need to be less obsessed with food. (crawl under table)

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    2. It's funny, I don't like the idea of fasting from food, but fasting from behaviors seems much easier for me to think about. What does that say? Any room under the table, Karrie?

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  2. What does my money say about me? Unflattering things! It says we eat too much while so many people starve. But I love the hope that you call forth at the end. There is still hope and God can still use us! Love that reminder!

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  3. i do wonder--if people only looked at my money habits, what conclusions would they draw? maybe not as excessive as many, but not as conservative/frugal as many others. hmmm. you've got me thinking.
    this has been something on my heart this week, too. i know we have areas we could cut back. discerning how to best do that is a bit more difficult. it's not always a matter of where COULD we spend it. . . but where SHOULD we spend it. where would it best further the kingdom of God? these are the things i wrestle with.
    good thoughts!
    steph

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    1. Steph,
      Could vs Should and the battle wages on.

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  4. Karrie,
    You brave, brave thing chosing money and spending!

    I can justify just about anything, spending habits included. Because we don't make a lot of money, I think this doesn't apply to me. Nope, this applies to the richy, riches of the world that take home three figures. How wrong. Just another excuse.

    I am worried that from the outside, we look as if money says a lot about us. Name brand things, nice cars, nice house, but do we really put our money in a place that's making a difference? Hmmmm...oh and $38.00 sent off to a couple smiling faces in far away countries shouldn't be the only thing we hold onto.

    Now, the shopping in 7 places thing. I actually think I could do this.
    1. Ingles (groceries)
    2. Target
    3. Farmer's Market

    and...I need more time. I'm sure my husband would say Lowes.

    Good conversation happening here. Thank you for offering to write on this month and tossing some wisdom down on us.

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  5. well-written, karrie!!! and oh, so straight to my heart. could i lump my sons' schools together as one place if i only had 7? i would also do wal-mart and a gas station. and bojangles!

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  6. Karrie - You've really got me thinkin' with your question about being arrested for being a Christian. Would there be evidence to convict me? Oh I don't know. I will be pondering that one for a while!

    Lindsy

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  7. well it says i live on a shoe string...smiles...but i could give more for sure....

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  8. Whoah! This conversation is convicting me. I worry about money too much, and there never seems to be enough. Looking at my spending habits, I definitely need to fast with spending. Also, food. And time. I eat and spend too much, and waste too much time. I am long overdue for some discipline. Karrie, thank you for this challenge!

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  9. These are tough questions, especially the one about if my bank statements would show I'm a Christian. Great question! I also found this chapter to be convicting. I give, but not enough. Frequently I spend without thinking. Jen's book is making me re-evaluate that.

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  10. I took a class a couple of years back from Crown Financial Ministries, and a few points from that still stick with me that relate to this chapter. First, too often we as Christians think that all the Bible says about money is about tithing. WRONG. There are THOUSANDS of passages about money - that's right, the other 90% (supposedly) of our income. Second, the correct way to view our money, tithed or not, is that it is not "ours" to begin with. It belongs to God entirely, and we should view ourselves as stewards of it, not owners. Third, how we spend our money is a direct reflection of our relationship with God. Faith, steward, greed, etc. are all reflected in our spending practices. Yikes.

    This type of teaching has been transforming my life, then and now. It's a constant battle. What I think I'll take from this chapter is that "cheapest" isn't necessarily best. A $4 shirt is cheap to me, but does not make me a good steward if it came to be on sale at the expense of abusive and irresponsible production. When I'm buying less overall (because I really don't "need" that much), I can afford to buy things that rightly honor God and his creation. As Jen says, I'll be "voting" with the way I choose to spend my - I mean God's - money.

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