So the stimulus check just hit my bank account, and man does it feel weird to be a thousandaire. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m still net-negative when you count my debts, but man, do I feel rich in this moment. I probably fit right into the middle of American families. (i.e. I’m not wealthy here but I’d be living like a rock star almost everywhere else in the world. Me with my indoor bathroom and everything.)
I want to give you some Biblical options that you have in spending this money that was just given (back) to us. There are so many factors that go into what you should do, that the main idea you’ll see for each is to pray. Don’t just tell God what you are willing to do. Are you sensitive to the moving of His Spirit on what He wants you to do? I wouldn’t expect a voice from Heaven, but fortunately we already have such a voice. It’s called the Bible. Here are some options that fit well into Biblical Commands.
Option 1) Use It All
If you have been praying and praying for the Lord to help you meet the ends. Then man, this seems like an answer to prayer. Pay those bills. Get caught up. Keep praying. Be wise. Think soberly on what is truly a necessity versus a desire, and then just prioritize the heck out of those expenses.
Option 2) First Fruits It
A common concept in the Scriptures is giving your first fruits. When it came to giving to the Lord you are to give from the first harvest and the best of what you got. The thought being that the worrier might fear that there won’t be a second harvest and so hoards more for himself, and the selfish gives the useless leftover crops that couldn’t be sold anyway. God wants you to give your first and your best. A great thing to do with this stimulus check would be to pray over it and try to discern how much to give… first. Don’t see what’s left over after you book that vacation for Summer 2021. Give to the Lord’s Mission first and then see what’s leftover for you.
Option 3) Tithe It
Time to blow your mind. There are multiple tithes in the Old Testament. If you were to average the tithe each year (because some tithes are only every 3 years and some years there’s way less tithes because of the jubilee) it would equal 23.3%. But let me group the 3 tithes for you. The first 10%, would be the Levitical Tithe which would allow the priests to serve the Lord year round. So you give to them so that they can do their spiritual work. The second 10% would be the Feast Tithe which would make sure there’s enough food for everyone during the 7 festivals of the Jewish year. If everyone shares a tenth of what they have, everyone is able to celebrate well together. The final 10% (the one that’s only every 3 years) is a tithe for the Needy. Whether widows or orphans or even the foreigners traveling through the land this gift helped meet those needs.
So you’ve got to pray through what this looks like for you. We don’t have tithe commands in the New Testament. Do you want to give 10% to your church, 10% to a local food pantry, and 10% to a foreign missionary? Cool. Could you do 20% to your church and 10% to another non-profit? Sure. Is 10% gifts okay to give to 3 different families you know are in need (put in cash envelopes so the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing kind of thing)? Duh. The options seem endless!!!
Option 4) Give It All Away
Maybe you don’t really need it. I know there are very few people who don’t even notice a few thousand extra dollars in their account, but instead maybe we should say, there are those who need it more. If you haven’t lost income during this Coronavirus shutdown, if you aren’t behind on any bills, if there isn’t anything the Lord brought to your mind to buy; then just give it all away. In the New Testament, instead of setting an amount like a 10% tithe, Paul just tells us in 2 Corinthians to be a Cheerful Giver. What excites you? Giving the money to your church? (I guarantee they are missing 20%-50% of their normal offering.) Is there another non-profit, ministry, mission agency, or missionary you always said you’d give to if you had the money? Well guess what, now you do. Or maybe there’s a family you know of that could really use a little somethin-somethin. Whatever gives you those warm and fuzzies, do it!
The Must) Pray, Decide, and Be Faithful
This really should just be a little microcosm of how you handle your normal paycheck. I’m a big believer in budgeting. Just as the modern day prophet Dave Ramsey says, every dollar needs a name. We need to know what our money is going toward. We should pray on what the Lord wants us to spend money on. We should be generous in our giving. We should be giving to our church and other entities we care about. Once we feel a leading from the Lord, let’s be faithful in that giving. So use this stimulus check to be the practice run for what you are going to do in the future.