“Do you want cheese on that?” the disembodied voice asked from the drive-through speaker. It reminded me of another cheese incident several years ago.
The customer in front of me had a coupon and presented it to the lady at the counter. But he grew agitated when she rang up his order.
“You charged me for cheese, and the coupon said ‘with cheese,’" he said. She patiently went over his charges and explained why the register was right. He would have none of this. I never fully understood his argument, nor why he was so concerned over what, she explained, was a 10 cent differential. I should’ve contributed the dime to make him happy and to speed the line along.
Scripture says a lot about money. For good or ill, it plays a large role in our lives. Our attention to it can be wise or foolish. We can be foolish to argue over ten cents at the hamburger counter, but we also can be foolish to spend on small things whose total over time can be a large amount of money.
Financial counselors speak the obvious to those in trouble with money: “You must manage your money and decrease your spending.”
So they talk about small things that make a difference. Specialty coffee can cost several dollars per cup and eating out every day at work can amount to a big amount of money every month. And how many colas must we drink each day when water is free? As Dave Ramsey famously says, “rice and beans, beans and rice” can be a pretty nutritious menu when a family in debt is trying to save money!
Many struggle with impulse buying made easy with credit cards. Ramsey counsels not to use cards since the average family in America owes $5,525 in credit card debt, paying 18 percent or more interest. Responsible consumers use credit cards as a convenience and keep debt in check by paying the balance each month. But those who wrestle with the temptation to spend impetuously should listen to Ramsey and forego the cards.
King Solomon counseled we learn from the tiniest of creatures, the ant, who labors in the summer to prepare for the winter. We face future expenses such as an automobile, college education or a new roof, and it’s wise to set aside money every month in preparation.
Another way to spend wisely is to use our money as a thank-offering to God. Old Testament saints brought sheep as a sacrifice to the Lord; today we bring cash or checks to honor God and invest in his work. Jesus promised a special blessing to those who develop a life of generosity (Luke 6:38).
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website is siluriabaptist.com.