Money – we worry about how to get it and how to spend it. It causes more stress and arguments than almost everything else. Thankfully, the Bible gives us a wealth of ideas on how to handle our money (very punny right?).

            Why Do We Need Money? It’s much easier to pack around money than bars of gold or a herd of cows to buy what we need. And it has a fairly constant value. But where do margins come into play?
Biblical Margins:
            God’s best is not for us to stress over our bills every month. We can’t predict unexpected things that come at us from time to time, but His guidelines help us meet our needs with enough extra to help others when they need it.

            The middle section of the “page” goes for – housing, food, clothing, and transportation. If we’re spending too much in this area – living outside our means – our margins will be dangerously slim or even non-existent. So first we must choose a realistic standard of living surrounded by these margins. I believe this is God’s plan for our spending:
            The first margin has to do with Him. Are you surprised? Since He graciously gives us all things, God should be first One we give back to, in the form of Tithe. If you’re not familiar with this word, tithe is 10% of our earnings God tells us to give to our home church. It pays for our pastors’ salaries, utilities, furnishings, supplies and so forth. Even better, it makes it possible for us to minister to our community in a myriad of ways. These three verses explain it from God’s perspective – Lev. 27:30; Mal. 3:10-12; Num. 18:29.
             The second margin supplies for our future – our Savings. We need to set money aside for retirement, to send our kids to college, and to buy new appliances when needed. Even a small margin saved bit by bit is better than paying on a loan with huge interest. It will add up over time if we don’t keep dipping into it for non-essentials. Proverbs is filled with pithy little sayings of wisdom for just about any situation. These verses tell us: sock money away when it’s available – Prov. 6:6-8, 13:11, 20:4; prepare for disaster – Proverbs 22:3, and keep track of assets and vary investments – Proverbs 27:23-27.

    The third margin is all about Giving. Offerings are what we give beyond our tithe, for programs such as Celebrate Recovery or Divorce Recovery, missionary salaries, disaster relief, the local food pantry, child sponsorship, clean water projects, educational and medical needs, and so much more. We give offerings because we love God and want to be a part of His work.

            There are so many ways to give it’s overwhelming. But a margin of our income will make a difference and please our Heavenly Father. He calls us to care for the fatherless, widows, the poor and needy. Here are a few favorite verses on giving: do it willingly – Deut. 15:10, Prov. 11:24-25, Acts 20:35, 2 Cor. 9:7; don’t take it allDeut. 24:19-21, give when you have it – Prov. 3:27-28, be generous – Prov. 14:31, 21:25-26; Luke 6:38; Rom. 12:8.
            Now for the margin you’ve been waiting for – FUN! God understands our need for fun – remember He created laughter and enjoyment – but He also knows we’re tempted to put our wantsahead of our needs and the needs of others. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Bible doesn’t say much about fun money. However, there are many warnings against wasting our resources on frivolous toys and pleasures that don’t last. So rejoice fully in what you can afford and spend without regrets. 

             My next post will introduce margins for relationships, also known as boundaries.