Mar 01, 2023

There is a tension that followers of Christ face when managing their money. On one hand, God calls us to give generously. On the other hand, we’re told to save for the future and enjoy what God has blessed us with. How do we find a healthy balance of giving, saving, and spending?


The Bible is clear that as followers of Christ, we’re called to be generous givers.

“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” - Deuteronomy‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” - ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” - ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Most of us don’t have an issue overdoing it in this area. Culture today wants you to save and spend on yourself.


We’re also told that it’s wise to save.

“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” - ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” - ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

But not too much and at the expense of our giving.

“Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.””‭ - Luke‬ ‭12:13-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with spending money on yourself and enjoying what God has blessed you with.

“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” - ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:12-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬


How do we balance these three very important aspects of managing our money? Below are a few practical guidelines/suggestions.

Getting started

A good starting point is 10/10/80. Out of your gross income, give 10%, save 10%, and spend 80%. Over time as your income goes up, you can increase the percentages that go to giving and saving. Here’s a link to a great message that talks about 10/10/80.


When most people get a raise or bonus, they tend to immediately spend it or upwardly adjust their lifestyle. If you’re increasing your lifestyle every time you get a raise, it’s going to be hard to save enough for retirement, because the amount you need to be financially independent keeps going up. A good practice is to allocate raises and bonuses 1/3 each to giving, saving, and spending. This breaks the pattern of spending all of your raise, and increases the total percentage of your income going to giving and saving over time. 1/3 each is just a suggestion. If you’re already happy with your current lifestyle and don’t feel the need to give yourself a raise, consider allocating your raise just between giving and saving.

Finish lines

The last strategy to help you find balance is to determine spending and saving finish lines. Gregory Baumer and John Cortines talk about spending and saving finish lines in detail in their book, God and Money. Spending and saving finish lines should be a part of your One Page Financial Plan. They help change your mindset from “how much should we give” to “how much do we need to keep?” Thoughtfully setting personal spending and saving finish lines is a way to be intentional about balancing giving, saving, and spending.

There will always be a tension between giving, saving, and spending. Hopefully these guidelines help you maintain a little more balance.


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