First Things First

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

What is the first rule in gaining wealth? Live on less than you make. You do that by keeping first things first. When it comes to finances and wealth building, we make it more complicated than it is. We chase after formulas, strategies, and schemes to turn a quick profit. We convince ourselves we have to continually outsmart the next person to ever get ahead.

I’m sure you’ve heard the statement: “Keep it Simple, ____________ .” I’ll keep it polite and just shorten it to keep it simple. You will find no better place to put that sentiment into practice than in the area of finances. This area is much simpler than we make it. Keeping it simple can be much more rewarding.

I recently came across an article about a family that lived on an irregular, freelance income. By necessity, they monitored their bank balances closely. When the balance became tight, and understanding their basic needs were satisfied (a key point), they committed not to spend a dime for a short while, not to spend anything. The article recounts the simple lessons they learned during this experiment. They made time for more meaningful endeavors rather than simply eating dinner out with friends or paying for some form of entertainment. They worked on projects they had been neglecting. They enjoyed the outdoors more. They ate leftovers (gasp!). They spent time being more creative.

Their story reminded me of what Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Obviously, this family faced much less dire circumstances than Paul, but truth is truth no matter the situation.

If we learn to keep it simple by keeping first things first, we can live a life of abundance. Not that we will all be millionaires—it comes down to the heart. First, give back to God a portion of what He has given you. Second, set some aside for your future, and third, learn to live on the rest.

Once we accept it is that simple—and don’t misunderstand me to mean easy because it will be hard at times—we can make progress toward our financial futures. Keeping that focus will help us live more content lives. It is very freeing to tithe, save, and know you can spend 100% of the rest.


**Adapted from ONE Magazine