Towns everywhere are struggling with economic recession. Major companies are laying off workers. The housing market is struggling. Jobs are scarce, and the low-paying jobs that are available are being sought by workers needing a second or third job. Debt is high. The number of families living under the poverty level is increasing. Job skills are lacking. Education is poor. It’s discouraging!
Maybe money is one of the reasons why life has gotten so overwhelming for you lately. I’ve been there, too! I know what it’s like to have a plan that is derailed because of unexpected circumstances.
In those times, I’ve known that I should trust God – but it’s really hard!
This is why God’s Word is so comforting.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:19-34).
So the strategy that we who belong to God’s Kingdom must adopt is to constantly evaluate how we are seeking God’s kingdom. Seeking His kingdom must occupy my every thought, my every priority, and my every energy. He has promised to provide all these other things. What job security! What peace!
How can I seek His Kingdom today? I can’t answer that for anyone else, but for me, I wonder if the answer lies in what James wrote:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
The world is hurting. How can I take God’s Kingdom to those who have concrete, physical needs? I enjoy reading thoughts from my online friend Jenny, whose family has not only adopted numerous children from Africa but also intentionally lives in a poverty-stricken area of a city, so that they can spread the gospel and care for the hurting.
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’
Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’
He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’
The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ (John 21:15-17)
As a homeschooling mother, we have some very special “sheep” that we are asked to feed each day. However, since we’re spending our days at home as mothers and teachers, we have very few hours to devote to earning money to pay the bills. Those who must work a second job usually struggle with mind-numbing fatigue.
I’m hoping to encourage you today that God knows your need! As Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
I’ve written on my health blog about how to afford healthy food, especially when times are tight, but I thought that the advice I’ve given there might help you if you’re having trouble affording homeschooling, a house payment, or life in general.
I’ve been trying not to get too concerned, but it really does seem like the American economy is getting worse. It can seem overwhelming. In fact, from my research and from talking with many people, it seems that this is one of the top reasons why mothers start to feel panicked and overwhelmed.
What can be done?
1. God always provides.
God has promised to supply our every need.
“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
This can sound like a “pat answer,” especially when my own checking account is empty and I’m not sure what we’re going to do.
However, I must remember that this verse isn’t an isolated quote; it exists in a context that takes it out of the realm of pat answers and makes it very practical.
Paul wrote to the church in the city of Philippi,
“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:10-19).
Paul was confident that God would supply the needs of the Philippians because they had been obedient to Him first. They had backed up their belief in God with action toward others.
Before God promises to meet our needs, He asks us to follow His principles for sound financial management. Simply, are you giving back the first fruits of all that you have to Him? Scripture supports giving the first 10% to God and then giving further offerings of all that we have. In addition, we are to be hospitable and to help the poor, the widows, and the orphans. (Read Deuteronomy 28 and Malachi 3:8-12.)
Secondly, do you spend your money on your “lusts”? James 4:1-3 says that we can ask the Lord for anything we need, but it warns us not to ask “amiss,” that we may “consume it on our lusts.” If you sincerely ask the Lord to give you wisdom in your spending, being willing to confess any areas of sin that He reveals to you, He will surely answer.
Finally, determine what your budget is and decide that you’ll stick to it.
- You may want to download some helpful financial forms from Mom’s Tool Belt.
- You can get excellent financial advice and budgeting help from the blog, Christian Personal Finance.
2. Satan steals, kills, and destroys.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Satan truly desires to steal from you, to kill you, and to destroy your health and all other good things that are yours. This simple principle has been so helpful to me as I shop. When I see a processed food that might be cheaper than an organic alternative, I ask myself this question: “Would this rob me of my health?” If so, I know it is of the devil, and that God wants to protect me from this. On the other hand, maybe I’m deciding between two good choices, one of which claims to be better but is out of my budget. Again, the devil wants to steal. Can I be content with the less expensive, yet healthful, choice?
3. Work is what I was made for.
Work is good for us! It might not seem like it, but God gave Adam the job of tending the garden before the fall and before the curse. Yes, the curse has made work much harder and more difficult. But work is still good, and our attitudes can make all the difference.
It also helps to think of the fun side-effects of working in the home. If you have children, it is fun to put an apron on both of you, pull up a stool so they can see what you’re doing, and even whistle while you work. You will be training them in good character and righteousness, and they will be thrilled to eat what they have had a part in making.
God says this about the excellent wife of Proverbs 31:
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27).
Here are some more characteristics of this wise woman:
• She works willingly with her hands (v. 13).
• She is like the merchants’ ships, bringing her food from afar (v. 14).
• She provides food for her household (v. 15).
• She plants a vineyard (v. 16).
• She has a high standard of excellence (v. 18).
• She works with all her might (v. 19).
• She helps the poor (v. 20).
• She has planned ahead for the winter (v. 21).
(I won’t go into all these details here, but you’re welcome to read some of my past blog posts about this woman.)
In Matthew 25:14-30, we read about a master who entrusted sums of money to three of his servants, according to the abilities that he knew they had. Then he left on a journey.
Two of the servants were wise with the money, reinvesting it and making it grow. The third servant was afraid of the responsibility he’d been given, so he ignored it.
Wouldn’t you have loved to have been one of the wise servants, to have heard your master applaud you? “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
What better words could a wife and mother hear? “Good job, Mom! You were faithful with the little jobs around your house, your hands were gentle and caring toward others, and you worked with all your heart.”
It is very encouraging to know that when we are faithful in the small ways of a household, in the little things that no one sees, God will reward us with responsibility over greater things.
1 Timothy 5:14 says that younger women are to “marry, bear children, guide the house,” so that the enemy will have no opportunity to slander believers.
The words, “guide the house,” are one word in Greek: oikodespoteō. This word means to rule a house, and to rule means to have dominion over and absolute authority.
We know that as women, we don’t really have absolute authority. We have delegated-absolute authority. First, our husbands often delegate much of the everyday running of the house to us. But more so, our Heavenly Father has delegated this arena to us.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’” (Genesis 1:26).
God created us in His own image, and He also has a dominion, a kingdom. He rules, but He has delegated the authority for His earthly creation to men and women.
“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet” (Psalm 8:3-6).
Do you ever feel that changing diapers and doing dishes is just drudgery and has no eternal meaning at all? Do you wish you could do something that really mattered, something important for God’s kingdom? It’s normal to feel that way, for before you were born, God “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). You were made to long for eternity, to do something big for God.
What you need to realize is that the small task God has given to you today IS something big for God. He has given you “dominion” over a tiny kingdom, and He’s watching to see if you’ll be a “good and faithful servant.”
Interestingly, our verse from Proverbs 31 says that we do this by not eating the bread of idleness.
Just as the third servant displeased his master by simply trying to avoid the task set before him, we often procrastinate on the unpleasant things. We reason that there is something more important to do.
But God wants us to rule well over our households, to be wise and faithful in everything He has delegated to our authority.
Someday we’ll stand before our King, in His holy city, and we want to hear Him say, “Good job, Momma. You weren’t lazy. Instead you were industrious and caring and fruitful. I have big plans for my new world, so I set aside a nation of kings (and queens) and priests (1 Peter 2:9). Would you please be Queen of ___ for me? I know you’ll do a great job!”
“As it is written:
‘No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
You go, Queen! Throw laziness out of your heart! You’ve got a kingdom to rule! “Give of your best to the Master!”
4. Learn to be content with simple things.
This step has saved us the most money. Don’t think that you must eat fancy food, have expensive homeschooling curriculum, or own the newest technology. Be thankful instead for the simple things God has already provided for you, and be content.
When you ask the Lord to bless the food before you pray, do you really mean it? Are you truly thankful? If you had been in the crowd of 5,000 who came to listen to Jesus, would you have been content with fish and bread? I Timothy 4:4-5 says,
“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
I should also remind you that you should never compare your spending ability with those you see around you. Satan would love to plant seeds of discontent in your mind. Rather than worrying or grumbling, resolve to let thankfulness rule in your home and your heart.
5. Good, better, best.
As you go through your homeschooling year, you may begin to see problems with the curriculum choices you made last summer. When this happens, you may be tempted to spend more than you have. Don’t be fooled! Don’t allow Satan to steal from you! Pay cash only, and be patient as you build your skills, your library, and your teaching supplies.
In the meantime, purchase the best quality supplies you can afford from the store, and be content. Do not over-extend yourself to get the best until God provides the money for it. (Of course, you can bring your requests with confidence before Him!)
Can’t afford something you’re needing? Search online for a free option that will hold you over until you can afford “the best.” You may find later that the free choice really was God’s best for you after all, saving you a lot of money. Learn to be content, and learn to accept the bounty the Lord has given you, always waiting expectantly for Him to provide all good things to you.