Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8
Recently a friend recommended a course offered at her church titled “Financial Self-Defense.” My first thought was that the church should offer another one called “Financial CPR” for those whose finances need complete resuscitation.
My husband and I are financial idiots. We continue to be thankful for those smarter than we are who are willing to step alongside us to walk us through mortgage paperwork and insurance headaches. In keeping with our simple financial minds, our financial goals are pretty simple: tithe and give offerings faithfully; get out—and stay out—of debt (I’m hoping we’ll get there yet!); and take care of our family, including our parents, should that become necessary.
But, like most people, we have times of severe financial stress. One of the worst times was when our children were young and the furnace in our big, old house gave out for good. It was December, a time when it starts to get really cold in Illinois, where we live. And December is also a time when our bank account is emptier than usual because of Christmas spending.
Our furnace repairman was a deacon at our church, and he encouraged us to let our church help us pay for the furnace through the benevolent fund. It’s an extremely humbling experience to lean on your Christian brothers and sisters this way, but we gratefully accepted the help. As recipients of that financial aid, we now are more keenly aware of the importance of giving to the benevolent fund at our church. We know what it feels like to need a cash rescue.
Generally, though, David and I work hard to provide for our children—by giving them, not a luxurious life, but a simple, safe and healthy one. This is a Biblical concept. The apostle Paul wrote that it is a shame for believers not to set a loving example by generously providing for their own households. The church plays a role in helping those who are alone in the world—those who are orphaned, widowed or abandoned. But Paul reminded Timothy that Christians who fail to take responsibility for their own families are worse than unbelievers. That’s quite a reminder!
David and I need God’s help to achieve our financial goals, and we’re trusting God to help us be the ones to provide for the needs of our four kids and our parents. With God’s help, we can keep his admonition in mind to care for our own household.