Standard of Living|
Q. I'm really scared. My husband isn't working and it looks like I may lose my job. We can't afford healthcare anymore because it now costs us $1,000 monthly. Our house payments keep going up. And other costs and fees keep going up, too. Any suggestions for a strapped Christian family?
I hear you. It's awful out there, isn't it?
Please understand that we can't really offer financial advice. But, thankfully the Bible does say a lot about money. So I'll try to comment on what Scripture says.
No Stigma to Financial Problems
One of the nice things about being a Christian in today's world is that there is no stigma in the church to having financial problems - or at least there shouldn't be. (Set aside the prosperity teachers who preach a false gospel).
Christians are told not to try to "keep up with the Joneses." In fact, the Bible makes it clear that our security is not found in material things or big bank accounts.
"He who dies with the most toys Wins" - a lie
Psalm 49:16-17 says,
"Do not be afraid when a man gets rich, when the wealth of his house increases. For when he dies, he will take nothing at all - his wealth will not follow him down" (HCSB).
This verse makes it clear that the world's motto: "He who dies with the most toys wins," is a lie! 1Timothy 6:7-8 warns,
"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out." Then he concludes by saying, "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these" (HCSB).
Be Content with Food and Clothing
Sadly, there are not many American Christians who would be satisfied with just having food and clothing. But, that doesn't negate this verse! Scripture should always take precedence over cultural values.
Jesus warns us in Luke 12:15,
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (NIV).
Focus on what Counts
One of the most important things we can do is to teach our families to focus on the things that really count. Colossians 3:1-3 advises us,
"So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth" (HCSB).
To put this into practical terms, I would do everything I could to take the financial pressure off of my family. That could mean many of us should consider lowering our standard of living. Thankfully, in America that doesn't mean we have to lower our quality of living.
Housing made Simple
For example, where we live there are many families who own a small tract of land and who live in trailers. They grow vegetables and fruits, raise goats or sheep, and their children seem perfectly content to me. Nothing wrong here.
Many of these families live alongside expensive, newly built million-dollar homes with high taxes and energy costs. Personally, I think they are teaching their children the right values by NOT emphasizing mansion living. Instead, they are promoting Kingdom living to their little ones.
The healthcare industry is squeezing people to the point of despair. Here's a little tip: group plans may not be the least expensive. Families may do better on individual plans. Check it out. Also, there are Christian alternatives to healthcare insurance. Samaritan Ministries or Medi-Share are two programs you might want to review. They both have websites.
Paying off Debts
Don't be afraid to consider selling your home and paying off debts if you have to. In this market where people are losing jobs, payments are rising, and housing is outrageously expensive, there is no harm in renting for awhile.
Finally, there is a little saying that is very true. Be sure to teach it to your kids:
"One life to live twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."