Of course, we never, and let me repeat, never, choose to follow Jesus for reasons like the following. With that clear, let me say, what my motives are in the following list. I simply want to show how the words of God are not purely for the sake of dictating, or to manifest megalomaniacal symptoms, but his statutes are in reality practical, both for domestic reasons and reasons of worship. So, be sure to see in the following list how saving money will in the end save you stress, anxiety, and pressures in some areas of your life. Which in turn will lead to a better life of worship, marriage, child rearing, and servicing our Savior. Of course, for a deeper understanding of the Christian disciplines, I cannot recommend enough D. S. Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.
1. Fasting lowers your grocery bill.
On average, our family spends $70 a week. That breaks down to $2 a meal (2 people, 5 meals/day, 7 days/week). Yes, we do eat left overs. That’s why it’s so low. However, if you and your spouse start to fast once a week, only skipping breakfast and lunch, that is $812 a year that you will save. Of course, Christians should not be fasting to save money. For more on the purpose of fasting, I recommend you give Isaiah 58 a read to learn its purpose.
2. Reading scripture, studying, memorizing & journaling your spiritual walk doesn’t leave you time to watch TV.
So, if you’re doing these four things and spending time with family and going work to pay the bills, who has time left to watch TV? So just drop it. The average family spends $60-100 a month on television subscriptions. That is $720-$1200 a year in savings.
3. Prayer leads you away from addictions, and that saves you money.
There are a lot of Christians who struggle with addictions. That may come in the forms of junk food, television, music bingeing, shopping in general. Well, whenever I begin prayer, I always pray for the Spirit to guide my prayerful words. In that, I almost always am led to pray for any addictions I may have. So, in turn, I become more of where I put my money. I believe I heard Mark Driscoll say in a sermon once, “if you want to know what are you idols, just track your money trails.” Prayer, with the power of Jesus, will lead to ending the costs of your addiction. I remember when I used to live in Mandeville, LA, where amazing coffee can be found on every corner, it was really easy to find myself purchasing a $5 french vanilla latte 3-4 days/week. That’s $780-$1040 a year.
Also, if you are a smoker, and you have insurance. You could be paying $100/mo. or more extra. That’s a whopping $1200/year. If in your prayer, you quit cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, you will save tons. Assuming you smoke a pack a day, cigarettes cost you roughly $25-40/week, which is $1300-$2080. So, if your insurance is willing to lower your plan with proof you haven’t smoked (most will if you can prove you haven’t smoked for 6 months), then you are looking to save $2,500-$3,280/year!
4. Fellowship will cause you to share meals and lower recreational budgets.
If we have regular fellowship with our friends playing board games, listening to the guitar playing, doing backyard fires, this way of spending time ultimately leads to lowering your costs in entertainment. Instead of blowing $30 at the movies with a couple of friends, you are now enjoying free time roasting marshmallows. If you go to the movies roughly 8 times a year like us, and fellowship at the house for free cuts down your movie visits by 60%, that’s $144 a year.
5. Encouraging and admonishing your brothers can save money on anti-depressants, and/or other devices used to cope with depression.
As a college student, I see it frequently—sometimes in myself—that a student gets into depression. Some then seek a pick-me-up in things like energy drinks, tobacco, or medically prescribed anti-depressants. Now the pricing for medicine of course varies greatly (e.g. do you have insurance, which medicine are you prescribed, etc.). But, assuming someone is taking Welbutron, you are looking at spending $360 with insurance per year. Without insurance, you’re looking at $840! (Of course, this is assuming that your depression is not chemically based, as much as it is situation based. e.g. school pressures, children, marital stress, etc.; by no means am I suggesting that you shouldn’t take anti-depressants regardless of your situation. Nor am I a doctor, and do not claim to be, so I am not suggesting any medical advice).
So, you see, the Christian disciplines, which are practices demanded from God himself, are not a series of totalitarian arbitrary dictations. Rather, they are extremely practical.
If you are a non-smoker, with insurance, with an addiction to gourmet coffee, you are looking to save nearly $3,000 a year. And if you are a smoker with insurance, you are looking to save over $6,000 a year (which is by the way, the yearly income of some Americans). That’s incredible isn’t it?
Now, I don’t want you to do these things purely to save money. The point of doing them is to heighten your worship of God, and to become a better ambassador for the glory of Christ. To get a greater understanding of the Christian disciplines, I cannot recommend enough the Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. It has shaped and influenced me a tremendous amount. And, I’m not the only one. I remember teaching a youth a while back through this book, and even they loved it. So, it reaches Christians of all ages, and certainly is engaging. You can get it here.