Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. ESV Genesis 41:33
If you know the story of Joseph, you know he became second in command of all Egypt because he not only interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, but also proposed a plan to solve the problem of the impending famine. Everyone would save 20% of the grain and this store of grain would be used to feed the country during the seven lean years. Pharaoh recognized the wisdom in this plan and elevated Joseph to implement and oversee it.
On Fridays, we discuss how our spiritual formation should impact our stuff. One of the best ways to steward your stuff spiritually is to utilize a budget like Joseph. God calls us to manage His stuff, and without a budget, we don’t know how well (or poorly) we are managing it. I serve on the board of a non-profit that focuses on helping the working poor advance their lives. One of the things we do involves helping them learn to budget so they can have a better handle on their finances. Just taking a look at where your spending goes can be an eye-opener. I once worked with a man who made $1,200 a month. He went to 7-Eleven every morning for a pack of cigarettes, $10 in lotto tickets and a Slurpee. When I showed him that added up to over $500 a month he was quite surprised. Budgeting reveals how we use our money so we can choose to redirect it to more meaningful or productive places.
Realize there is nothing inherently spiritual in a budget. You aren’t sinning if you don’t have one. But you may be sinning if you are frivolously wasting the money God has given you. Perhaps you are anxious because of finances. Perhaps you aren’t able to invest in God’s kingdom because you don’t know where your money is going. Perhaps you aren’t even aware of what your money is doing (or not doing) each month. Forming a budget opens your eyes to what you are currently doing with your money and then reveals areas where you can redirect your money to be more effective for you. Remember, Jesus came to give us life to the full, and part of that involves controlling our money rather than our money controlling us. Build a budget my friend!