Read Philippians 4:11-12
I love the spirit of giving at Christmas time! It is a joyous and contagious act. However, following my Christmas spirit and smile, for many years, was a dread of the bill to come because I spent beyond my means excessively.
Growing up we didn’t have a lot. My mother was a single mom of four and she worked incredibly hard to get us the “stuff” on our lists and, instead of using a credit card, she saved. Later in life, instead of listening to her instruction, I applied for my first credit card at the age of 18. From the ages of 18 to 23, I used a credit card often with no intention of paying it off right away. I swiped that card and thought “I’ll deal with this later.”
The Christmas season was no different; I wanted to always get my loved ones what they wanted or couldn’t afford for themselves. So, even though I couldn’t afford it, I put a smile on my face and acted like I was financially sound and swiped the card so they would feel loved. I spent so excessively that my family is now working hard to get out of debt. I never actively pursued what it meant to worship the Lord by stewardship of means until about 5 years ago. For so many years, I was exchanging the long term satisfaction for the short term gain and that is the opposite of what God has asked of our lives.
Though this season brings an encouragement to give, we must remember that, what honors the Lord more, is stewardship of what He has given us. Our family is currently called to a time of humble means and stewardship during this season and, though it would bring smiles and feelings of appreciation to give to those we love, what we want more is to honor the desire of the Lord for us to live debt free. Which means, steward the means and make a plan. Since being married, Jake and I have created a plan that every dollar will still have a name, even at Christmas.
I believe the secret Paul is speaking of in verse 12 is that of Christ. Living so intimately with Jesus causes Paul to steward when he is being filled and when he is hungry. Clinging to Jesus, even in our finances and how we steward our spending, is an act of worship and one our family lives to praise His name with!
So I encourage you, if you are spending beyond your means, cling to Jesus and seek counsel to find a plan. Even though there is a spirit of giving, steward what He has given this Christmas.