Summary: Learning how to be wise with your money frees us up to be all that God wants us to be. And it increases our joy!
The piggy bank.
In old England around the 15th century, people made all kinds of useful objects out of clay, including dishes and jars to hold spare change. Metal wasn’t used much and it was very expensive. So, dishes and jars were made from an easily available orange clay that was called “pygg.” Families often kept any spare household coins in one of their clay pygg jars. They became commonly known in England as a pygg jar and later a pygg bank.
Around the 18th century, the word “pygg” now sounded the same as the word for the animal “pig.” Some potters began making clay banks in the shape of a pig and the first piggy banks were born.
I remember having one of these as a kid. Saving is something kids often learn to do. But most of us have outgrown piggy banks. And sadly, we’ve outgrown saving.
Learning how to be wise with your money frees us up to be all that God wants us to be. And it increases our joy!
The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.
Proverbs 10:22 (ESV)
God wants you to grow in your wisdom regarding finances. Proverbs not only talks about saving your money, but also about
earning your money,
sharing your money, and
using your money.
Today’s focus: saving your money.
Before we look at some verses about saving, let’s think about some general principles about wealth. First, God loves the poor.
Suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes.
If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor” – well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?
Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? James 2:2-5 (NLT)
First, God loves the poor, people who live a hand-to-mouth life. Those tsunami vistims aren’t thinking about saving. They’re thinking about surviving.
Second, most churches in America are filled with wealth. We may not think we are wealthy, but compared to what the rest of the world has, we are. And the fleeting nature of wealth ought to keep us humble.
The brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.
James 1:9-10 (NASB)
If God grants us an abundance, He wants us to save. But let’s never forget that wealth can never become our focus, our hope, our trust.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
I Timothy 6:17 (NIV)
Now with all that as a background, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about “piggybanking” – about saving.
1. See the spiritual side of saving.
Some Christ-followers might say, “God says in Philippians 4:19 that He will meet my needs so I don’t have to save. He’ll provide. Jesus even said in Matthew 6 that we are not to lay up treasures on earth.”
Well, those verses are to be taken seriously. But we can’t ignore the fact that other verses in the Bible instruct us to save. It appears that one way God provides is by giving us the ability to save.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:22 (ESV)
God’s design is that we not only have enough to support ourselves and our family, but that we think about the future. We share our resources not only with our own children, but with their kids, too.
Think about how long a good man’s money lasts. He is looking out for his grandchildren. He doesn’t spend every dime on himself. He thinks about those who are coming after him.
I have to be honest, I have nothing from my grandparents. What will I leave for my grandchildren?
If you can’t leave much to your grandchildren in terms of money, you can leave intangible things that have lasting value. Prayers. Teachings. Example. Letters.
But let’s not water down the meaning of this verse. Let’s not over-spiritualize it. Take it at face value.
Some people say saving money is not spiritual. Yes, saving is wrong when it turns into hoarding (Luke 12:20-21). But saving money to meet a future need and to prepare for your later years is a sign of wisdom. Saving is one way that you provide for your family.