Count on God before Counting Costs
Those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Psalm 34:10 (NKJV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
The world of children’s extracurriculars can often feel like one long MasterCard ad. “Uniforms: $$. Private lessons: $$. Watching your child excel in their gift and talent: priceless.” As expenses mount up, it’s easy to get bogged down by all those dollars on the way to the “priceless” finish line.
However, like Caleb entering Canaan, we too can go forward with confidence into the land God has given us. We can stand firm in the assurance of God’s purpose and power, fully equipped to face any “giant” we encounter—even some of those colossal expenses. Ball fields and auditoriums may not flow with milk and honey, but they are full of good things for those willing to proceed on God’s authority (Numbers 13:2).
When we commit our plans to God before any other commitment—financial or otherwise—we are assured of success (Proverbs 16:3). We cannot anticipate every expense or provide for every need— but God can. When we give God authority over our pursuits, He will equip us so we can pursue them in a way that honors Him.
In addition, we can count on God’s Word to guide us in the best possible use of our resources through:
- Dedication: Acknowledging that God alone is the source of all we have, we surrender wholly to His authority and pledge our wealth to His purposes (Deuteronomy 8:17-18, Matthew 6:24, Micah 6:8).
- Stewardship: Since God has entrusted us with resources and holds us accountable as we manage them, we commit to making wise choices (Matthew 25:19-23, I Corinthians 4:2, Proverbs 21:20).
- Obedience: Our decisions are in accordance with God’s law, and spending is dictated by his mandates rather than worldly demands or temporary desires (Proverbs 11:28, I Timothy 6:17, Luke 12:15).
- Trust: We rest in the certainty that God will meet our needs (Matthew 6:32b-33).
- Gratitude: We are content with whatever we have and outwardly thankful for all we receive (Philippians 4:12, Hebrews 13:5, I Timothy 6:6-8, Psalm 50:23, 107:31).
- Generosity: We respond to God’s provision by helping others in need (Proverbs 19:17, 28:27; II Corinthians 9:6).
Prescriptions for Sticker Shock
And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NLT)
Whenever we find ourselves living in that credit card commercial, we can count ourselves blessed. Even the “dollar-dollar-dollar” challenges can give us cause to rejoice as we recall how God has already provided. After all, it was God who supplied the means, motive, and opportunity to use our resources this way in the first place. Thanks to Him, we have discretionary money to spend—and at least one child on whom to spend it. That is reason enough to be thankful—not every parent can claim such riches for their children.
If we want to live triumphantly during this season, we need to manage both our finances and our attitudes well. We can count on a positive outlook if we will concentrate on the following:
- Praise. Every time we open our wallet is just one more opportunity to give thanks to God for enabling us to invest in our children.
- Perspective. In every aspect of childrearing, we choose to view our responsibilities as burdens or privileges. We can pay the bills with gratitude for the freedom to choose these opportunities at all. For instance, when our son Evan broke his wrist climbing a tree (or more accurately, falling out of one) we had to get it fixed. On the other hand, allowing him play tackle football (and exposing him to more broken bones) was our choice.
- Proportion. Brent and I like to joke, “It’s an awesome responsibility to raise such talented children!” In other words, if they did not have so many gifts, we wouldn’t be spending so much money. If they weren’t growing in those gifts, the demands on our resources would not increase, either. By the time our son Parker became a provisional black belt, we were spending far more money (and time) at the karate studio than we did when he was still a beginner. By that point, he had shown enough aptitude and dedication to justify greater investment. Our support of our children’s efforts is proportional to their ability and commitment.
- Perseverance. As the credit card ad reminds us, there are pricey and priceless moments, either of which can take us by surprise. Extracurricular life can be immensely rewarding, but its dividends take time to pay out. Scripture urges us not to get discouraged in the meantime. After all, it is only “through God’s mercy we have this ministry,” so we are not to “lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (II Corinthians 4:1, Galatians 6:9).
Life is full of both “dollar-dollar-dollar” experiences and priceless ones—but they are not the product of plastic cards or open wallets. Such invaluable moments come to obedient hearts fully surrendered to all God has to offer.
Excerpted from When Jesus Takes the Field