Whether it’s stopping at Starbucks on your way to work, investing for retirement and beyond, or buying a tricycle for your child or grandchild, what you do with your money is an indicator of what’s happening in your heart.
It communicates what you really value in life and, in turn, these values determine the trajectory of your life.
But what if I told you there was a way to use your money to make a difference?
To put it another way, how can you use your money to live a life that counts?
I’m glad you asked!
In this post, we’ll cover a simple and effective way to do just that.
1. Decide what really matters
There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in a year.
Our lives are filled with all sorts of activities and tasks on a daily basis…
- Yard work
- Text messages
- Phone calls
- Social media
The list could go on forever.
If you or I knew we were going to die tomorrow though, our “to-do” list would likely be incredibly short.
My guess is that spending time with close friends and family, in addition to preparing to meet your Creator, would be about the only items on your list.
But here’s the “kicker”…
Very few people live every day like it could be there last.
I know I sure don’t.
And just as few people use their money in ways that reflect what they really value in life and death.
So, how do we fix this?
2. Assess your current habits and situation
Take some time to assess your current spending, saving, giving, and borrowing habits.
For example, here are some questions you might ask yourself…
- How do your current spending habits reflect your values?
- What areas could use some improvement?
- Are you saving too little for the future? Too much? Not sure?
- Are you giving? If so, how much and to whom? If not, why?
- Do you feel trapped under a mountain of debt? Are you debt-free? Or somewhere in between?
These are also some examples of the types of questions a good financial advisor will ask their clients and the answers to these questions can be quite revealing.
For example, if you’re saving too little for the future, this may indicate poor stewardship in using current resources to prepare for the future.
On the other hand, if you’re saving too much, this could also be indicative of a deeper heart issue, such as a lack of trust in God’s provision for the future.
If you’re like 99% of people (myself included!), then your answers to these questions aren’t what you hoped they’d be.
If that’s you, then it means you’re ready to move on to the most important step.
3. Repent and believe the Gospel
The Bible tells us that every area of our lives is broken and has been tainted with something called sin.
This brokenness and sin includes our relationship with money.
What we do with our money is a direct reflection of the condition of our heart and, due to the effect of sin in our lives, none of us uses our money as well as we ought to.
I talk to people almost every day who are slaves to their money (or lack thereof) and don’t even realize it. They think that if only they could earn more, save more, invest more, and/or give more, then all of their money problems would disappear.
But regardless of where each of us are at on the wealth spectrum, we don’t have a money problem.
Instead, we have a spiritual problem, and there’s only one solution.
His name is Jesus.
No matter how much money you have, you won’t be truly wealthy until you see Jesus as your all-satisfying treasure.
Once you turn from your sin (i.e. repent) and see Christ as your true treasure, then you’ll begin to live less and less like a slave to your money, and you’ll be freed up to start using your money as a tool to live a life that counts.
Even after that happens though, at some point, you WILL fail and you won’t always use your money how you ought to.
But when you fail, you can take comfort and rest in the fact that the One who is your true treasure will never fail.
The Gospel is this…Jesus lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserved, in order to bring us into a right relationship with God.
This means that, now, when we fail, we can turn from our failure and run to Him for forgiveness and receive the strength to keep going, without fear of judgement or condemnation.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!
4. Take simple steps to live a life that counts
In closing, let’s get practical and cover some ways we can make changes to how you’re currently using your money. Depending on your situation, these changes don’t necessarily have to be drastic.
For example, if you’re spending too much money on a particular spending category, such as restaurants, try this quick tip to cut expenses AND maintain your lifestyle.
Or maybe you’re not sure whether or not you’re giving the right amount?
In that case, check out this great quote from C.S. Lewis where he answers the question of how much to give to charity.
Sometimes though, a more comprehensive plan is in order.
In that case, check out this blog post I wrote recently that kicked off an ongoing series called 7 Simple Steps to True Financial Freedom.
Or maybe you just need help with how to find a financial advisor you can trust.
Someone (like SageOak) who can help you sort through all of this financial and investing stuff.
Whatever your next step is though, the bottom line is to start using your money to live a life that counts…one small step at a time.
Want to talk with someone about other ways you can use your money to live a life that counts?
Click to Schedule a Complimentary Initial Phone Call
Together, we’ll explore whether or not an advisory relationship makes sense for you and your family!