If you are a Christian, you most likely strive daily to live a Christ-centered life. Hopefully, this spills into all aspects of your life. If you are married, you may even discuss with your spouse the ways to make your home a Christ-centered one. It is impossible to truly live a Christ-centered life without having Him be a part of your finances. The book The First Five Years of Marriage by the group at Focus on the Family discusses five ways to know if a household is Christ-centered. I am going to adapt these to be ways to know if your money management is truly Christ-centered.
1. A Christian home is (mostly) happy. This should be true for your financial life as well. If you are constantly stressing out and arguing over money, you are not doing something right. Most likely, you do not have an agreed upon, on purpose cash flow plan (budget) before the month begins. Once you get that in place, dealing with your finances should mostly be a happy experience. You will see that you are working together towards a plan and that should make you feel good. It won’t solve all of your money problems, but it will give you a better sense of control.
2. A Christian home is gracious. Have you ever made a mistake in your life? Have you ever made a mistake with money? Chances are you answered yes to both of these questions. Your spouse should be able to make a mistake without having to get screamed at by you. For example, if they came into the marriage with $20,000 in debt, it does no good to constantly criticize, complain, or remind them of their past mismanagement of money.
3. A Christian home is a place of service. First of all, you should be seeking to serve your spouse with your money management. Every financial decision should not be about what you want. If you wanted to do whatever you felt like with your money then you should not have gotten married. Instead, work with your spouse as a team to accomplish your financial goals together. Once this spirit of service is established in your home, then you can serve others outside the home financially. There is nothing more satisfying to do with your money than to give it to others in need.
4. A Christian home practices spiritual direction. Explore what the Bible has to say about money. Read books by Christian money experts such as Dave Ramsey and Larry Burkett. Talk to your pastor about your church’s view on managing money. You must explore, study, and learn how to do it, it won’t just come naturally.
5. A Christian home is based on God’s purposes for you. This is where producing the income you need in your home comes into play. Are you doing what God’s purpose is for you as a career? If you are doing what God has designed you to do, chances are you will be extremely passionate about it. If you are extremely passionate about it, chances are the income will reflect your enthusiasm. A great book to read about doing work you were designed for is 48 Days To The Work You Love by Dan Miller.
It is sometimes easy to think of money as a bad thing when you are Christian. Money and sex tend to be two topics that can get us Christians all worked up. Turns out both can be used for terrible things, but both can also be great. If you use your money for God’s glory, then you are on the right track. If the only reason you pursue money is to pad your wallet and live as lavish a lifestyle as possible, then Christ is not at the center of your financial life. You are called to be a good steward of God’s money (after all, he owns it). If you manage it well, you will be in the position to give your money to those in need. That is the ultimate way to have Christ-centered money management: by blessing others.