I’ll be honest, that is a word that I have never really been a HUGE fan of. Sure I went through the process of learning what a budget is and how to use one in high school (well, I actually learned about it in middle school but that was more of a happy accident due to extra curricular activities rather than a class for credit). I also knew that once I was out on my own in college or when I got married I would need to put into practice the use of a budget so that things that needed to get done got done.
The problem is all these things were just head knowledge but I never actually put them into practice. I would roll my eyes and mutter under my breath about how I had everything under control every time someone in my circle made a comment about setting a budget and getting on a good path. The truth was I didn’t have everything under control and my husband and I were in a downward spiral of debt and we had a baby on the way. We were as far from “Economical” as we could get.
The idea of being ‘economical’ is the concept of not being wasteful. This includes time, money, fuel, or any other resource. So if being economical focuses on not being wasteful then what is the best way to go about that?
We make a plan of how we will use our resources. And really, isn’t that all that a budget really is? Making a plan of how, when, and where to use the resources that God has provided to each and every one of us. Not only do we make the plan of how we are going to use our resources, but we have to actually use that plan. We have to put it into action using that plan to guide and direct each of our daily decisions as we navigate through life.
The Economical Woman
Now that we know what economical is, how do we see that being put into action in the Proverbs 31 woman? Proverbs 31:18 says,
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
First of all we see that she takes time to consider the product she is putting out into the world. She knows what good quality looks like. She has taken the time to learn the requirements of those who pay top dollar for things in her world and she does not put out anything less. She also does not accept anything less into her home.
You may be thinking that you don’t have any ‘merchandise’ out in the world so how on earth does that apply to me? Well, to that I say, of course you do! You have talents and abilities that God has given you and you can and should learn how to use those to benefit your home and your family. You can learn what good quality is, you can learn how to look for a bargain, and you can become a good researcher. Learning to be a master researcher and practicing comparison shopping prior to making purchases can help you put that budget plan that has been created into action. And the better you get at it the more you can come along side someone and help them learn how to put those same tools into their tool belt.
The second thing we see is that ‘her lamp does not go out at night.’ Let me start by saying that this DOES NOT mean that she never goes to sleep. She does not stay up working for her family 24 hours a day. What this means is that she has budgeted her resources so well that she always had plenty to share. The light always being on meant that she was available to help those in need at any hours. It also meant that she managed her resources so well she had the oil that was necessary to keep a lamp running for that length of time. Being economical also means you project availability for those around you.
The first step to developing this principle of being economical is to start with checking your attitude toward money and your material possessions. Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds the reader that it is God who gives us the power to gain wealth. And in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 we are told to not set our hopes in the uncertainty of riches. Rather we are to place our hopes in God who provides us with everything that we get to enjoy each day. If we have that perspective on our money and the material possessions we have then we can remember that nothing truly belongs to us, but in fact, belongs to God and is just on loan to us to use for the purpose of building His kingdom.
The second thing once we have our attitude in the right place it to remember that we are called to give God the first fruits of our labor. We must be in the habit and practice of giving our tithe on a consistent basis. God requires we give him our best and one of the ways we do that is through our tithe. This is the FIRST 10% (at a minimum) of our income but we can also remember that we can, and should be giving God our first fruits of our talents and abilities that God has gifted us with. God tells us in Malachi 3:10 that if we will bring our tithe into the store house he will throw open the floodgates and pour out his blessings. I have not ever met a person that has said they wished the wouldn’t have given their tithe because the just didn’t see the benefits. If anything, I have heard story after story of God doing just what he promised in Malachi. Being economical means being responsible with the gifts God has given and giving credit where credit is due.
A Final Thought
Scripture is full of wealthy individuals who learned how to use their wealth for the glory of God’s kingdom. Ultimately, they came to God with the right heart and the right desire to do good things with the resources God had given them. They lived with an attitude of contentment no matter what their material circumstances were and God blessed them for it. The Proverbs 31 woman did not see her possessions and her material things as the means for her security, instead she had a gracious humble spirit that allowed her to give to others generously and willingly. The principle of being economical is more than just knowing how to find a bargain and working within a budget. In truth, the principle of being economical is all about the attitude in which you choose to view wealth and material possessions.
What is your attitude toward money and material things? Do you look to the things you have for your security or do you find your security in the Lord? How can you start today to focus more on the Lord and less on the physical things that will pass away? Join me next time when we jump into the principle of being unselfish.