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Posts Tagged ‘Money’

7ee97921ff712da3685331b1bc56d6a1One day a verse was read and the words ‘freewill offering’ stood out to me like neon lights in the black of a night.

What is a freewill offering?

According to my research, it is what it says; a gift of money, time or resources that is given without being forced, without the receiver even knowing that it would be given.

So, if you stay late after work to help a customer, a student, a patient … you have given a freewill offering.

If you put cash in your ‘offering’ envelope, above and beyond your normal ‘tithe’ … you have given a freewill offering.

If you make your dinner, and double the recipe, and take it to the house of a neighbor … you have given a freewill offering.

But, the concept of there being a freewill offering also indicates that we are expected to give, without choice (free will), a certain amount first.

That means we are expected to give of our time, our money, our resources.

Expected giving …

That means that some part of our whole (our whole bank account, our whole waking hours, our whole life) is not, nor has ever been our own.

It is expected that we give to our governments (“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” Matthew 22:21), and for those of us who are followers of Christ, we give to His work, in both (not one or the other) our time and our physical resources.

And after all that ‘expected’ giving, then we give from our own free will.

To do so as a group would mean that, like the Israelites whose “hearts were stirred” to give to the tabernacle (Exodus 35), we might need to be told to stop giving.

They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” Exodus 36:3-7

Imagine if we lived in such a way that our freewill giving exceeded the needs!

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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:21 has great meaning for me, but it has been haunting me lately.

I fully understand that whatever we treasure is what holds our hearts, but what is the ‘treasure’ that this verse refers to?

191cd71c32b32d23ffe64781368f6800The treasures in my life will be different from yours, but we all have them.

Often it is said that if we look to where we spend our money, we will see where our priorities, our treasure, is located. Our spending is so darn … clean these days. We do not give to the church from what is in our pockets (perhaps because there is nothing in our pockets), we place a written (post-dated) cheque or it is automatically withdrawn. We do not give to the poor, a representative send us information on how they help the poor, and request that we ‘support’ them in their meeting of the needs of those with less. We do not give gifts that bless individuals with love and appreciation, we hand over a plastic card, so that they might purchase whatever their hearts desire (I am not saying that I do not like gift cards, in case anyone thinks differently … after all my birthday is coming … but, I digress).

I think though, that I have been haunted by this verse lately, not in the context of my money being my treasure, but my time.

I made a conscious effort to note how I spent my time on a recent Saturday.

  • 6:30-9:30am – writing and researching (with a little laundry thrown in there)
  • 9:30-10:30am – tidying, making a ‘to do’ list
  • 10:30-11:00am – ablutions (one needs to be clean)
  • 11:00-12:00 – errands
  • 12:00-1:00pm – taxiing kids and friends
  • 1:00-4:00pm – thrift store shopping with daughter and her friend
  • 4:00-5:00pm – more taxiing of kid and friend
  • 5:00-7:30pm – baking
  • 7:30-8:00pm – dinner with hubby and son
  • 8:00-9:30pm – making frame for bathroom mirror
  • 9:30-10:00pm – writing blog post for next day
  • 10:00-12:00 – chatting with hubby, playing mindless game to prepare me for sleep
  • 12:00 – lights out

And that was my day!

Now in there were a few short conversations with my other kids, texting with friends, and bathroom breaks as well.

This day was a good one, in my economy of time, as I got to invest in one child significantly, and accomplished both things that needed to be done as well as things I wanted to do, for my own well being.

But, what it reminded me, is that choosing how to spend my time means making intentional decisions to prioritize well. Had I not intentionally offered my time to my daughter and her friend, I would have chosen to spend my time more self-focused!

I ALWAYS choose to spend my time self-focused!

The only way to change that is to be intentional about how I spend my time.

I need to plan.

I need to think ahead.

I need to meet the needs of my loved ones by giving my time to them, in ways that they desire, not necessarily the ways I desire.

If I am to say, with any measure of authenticity, that my family is my treasure, then I need to choose wisely how I spend my time.

I challenge you to record how you spend your time today, or, better yet, yesterday when you didn’t have this to remind you of your treasure.

Just sayin’.

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Money, Money, Money

“All the things I could do, If I had a little money. It’s a rich man’s world.”

Now we will all be mentally singing along with ABBA for the rest of the day. So, while you are singing in the shower, in your car, and (heaven forbid … well, if you sing like me, heaven forbid) while at work or grocery shopping, I have a great money saving idea for you!

Saving money is quite a difficult thing. There are so many demands on all of our resources (and not just money), and saving seems to be near impossible when ’emergencies’ from auto repairs, to school field trips, to illness, to ‘needing’ a new pair of shoes are always popping up!

Back around mid-January, another mom, wife, and hard-working lady told me of a saving plan that she had heard of on a radio program. She had tried it out, and found it to be quite successful!

Okay now, don’t go planning your retirement on this idea, I am about to share! My name is not Donald Trump! And our ‘estate’ is something that even our kids have asked to not be ‘left’ in our will (they are aware, even at their ages, that there is more debt than wealth there). This plan is more like saving for vacation, or Christmas shopping, or new perfume (I do love expensive perfume), or a weekend getaway, or a new TV, or, or, or … (I can so easily spend it, before I save it).

So, here is THE PLAN … every time you get a five dollar bill … DO NOT SPEND IT! Put it away! Away, as in out of sight, out of mind, away.

It has amazed me how I do not miss those five dollar bills. As a matter of fact, after four months of putting them out of my sight (and wallet), I have amassed $245! If this trend continues throughout a year, I could save over $700! And did I mention this was effortless?! Oh baby, imagine what I could do with $700?! Maybe purchase a new cast iron (faux style) gate or two, for my backyard? Maybe tickets to an Elton John concert (I WILL get to one of his concerts before I die!), or maybe I could buy ONE ticket to an NHL game in Canada (hubby and the kids went to a game in Colorado, back in March, for only $24 each! … kind of makes a hockey-lovin’ Canadian wanna cry … but I digress).

This is easy peasy, people. Give it a try, for just a month … and you will be hooked …

Just make sure you remember where you put all those five dollar bills … you don’t want them to be found decades from now, in your mattress, down at your local thrift store!

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