Date:15 June 2014 – morning service Preacher:Pastor Francois van Niekerk
Text: Proverbs 21:20 (TLB) ‘The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.’
Introduction Last week’s message referred to God’s wisdom as one of the primary requirements for true wealth to become a reality in our lives. Building on this, I want to identify saving as an act of such wisdom. Saving requires self-control.
The Bible points us towards the ant as an example of wisdom in action when it comes to saving for the future.
‘Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy bones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labour hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.’ Proverbs 6:6-8 (NLT)
Most people agree that it is a good idea to save money for the future. But how realistic is saving when facing high levels of unemployment and poverty, or simply a lack of income or too little income to cover all the bases each month? Saving for the future is not a strong culture in South Africa. The statistics for South African adults not saving stands at 72%. Saving is possible if we show self-control, do some planning and control our spending.
‘The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets. (Emphasis added) Proverbs 21:20 (TLB)
Balancing the tension between saving and spending calls for self-control, which in turn leads to a lifestyle of saving.
Main points Kingdom truth: the long view Kingdom culture takes the long view on life. God’s Kingdom is eternal and Kingdom people cultivate behaviour patterns that ensure godly results in the long term. The world’s view stands in stark contrast to this with the motto eat and drink today for tomorrow you die. Kingdom people are able to live in and enjoy the present reality, yet apply wisdom and self-control with the future in mind. This means living today with tomorrow in mind. To live with this mindset one has to overcome the demons and demands of immediate gratification, entitlement (I deserve it, because I worked so hard) and the naivety of fatalism (whatever will be will be – things will take care of themselves).
2. Value: self-control
Society will try to convince and even put pressure on you to spend money so that they can get as much as they can out of you, whether you can afford it or not. One of the things that will inoculate you against this relentless and constant onslaught is the discipline of self-control. Don’t spend all you get today – put something away for tomorrow. Remember that we have a great Helper when it comes to self-control. From a Christian perspective it is not a try harder exercise.
Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Fruit is a natural expression of a plant or tree. The secret of the Christian life is to learn to yield (give right of way) to the Holy Spirit whose task it is to work out the nature of God in the life of the yielding Christian. This includes self-control.
Yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, means putting yourself willingly under His administration. This will cause the fruit of self-control to come forth in your life. Yielding is a choice! Ask yourself if it will be possible to start saving or save more if you embrace the value of self-control? Will you choose to yield to the Holy Spirit?
3. Behaviour: saving A quick reminder of the five values to pursue for true wealth creation and the behaviour patterns that accompany them:
Honesty in earning or work. Responsibility in spending. Wisdom in borrowing. Self-control in saving. Generosity in giving.
What you choose to do with your money with regards to saving, will directly affect your ability to do the following (think about the actions of the ant):
Prepare for emergencies. Plan for the future. Be generous (able to bless others).
A few tips towards establishing a culture of saving are:
Saving is a mindset before it is a method!
What is your current philosophy on saving? Adopt a life philosophy that says, ‘Save now – live well longer!’ Joseph’s solution, to store up grain during the seven good years in order to supply enough food during the seven years of famine, saved many people from starvation.
Start now with what you’ve got. To start saving, one must defeat the popular lies, ‘I’ll start saving later. I can’t afford it now; I just want to enjoy what I have now.’ The truth is that you can’t afford not to plan to save for the long term. Start small – small things can make a big difference in the long run.
‘Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin …’ (Emphasis added) Zechariah 4:10a (NLT)
Small sacrifices in the short term make for great gains in the long term. It means giving up on spending everything today so that you’ll have something for tomorrow. When it comes to finance, never exchange short-term enjoyment and gratification for long-term agony. (Saving R5 per day over 40 years at 5% interest per year will give you nearly a quarter of a million rand! Many unit trust funds will give you a much better return.)
Keep going – persistence gives results!
Ask yourself what distractions or challenges have kept you from sticking to a savings plan. Decide today to develop a saving strategy. The following can help you to develop such a strategy:
Decide on the percentage of your income you are going to save. Set goals – what are you saving for in the short term and in the long term? Open a savings account with a reasonable interest rate (compare interest rates with different institutions). Let compounded interest (earning interest on interest) work for you. Set up a monthly debit order for your savings to come off your bank account automatically. Plan how you can increase your savings in the future.
Save and invest while giving to God. God’s blessing on your savings is worth more than anything else. Saving will bless your children rather than leave them in debt. Teach your children to save!
Application: Lord, thank you for showing me the power of saving. Please help me to confront and change any wrong thinking about saving. Holy Spirit, please help me to grow in self-control to save wisely as I yield to You. Amen.
Self-control in Saving | Francois van Niekerk | 15 June 2014
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