I have grown up being careful with money, so being frugal or “cheap” is part of my identity. This doesn’t mean I don’t give to others (because I do) but am cheap when it comes to spending money on myself.
Recently the Lord showed me being cheap isn’t a bad thing……..
But it can be a great hinderance to ministry.
The fact of the matter is ministry takes money. Programs such as VBS, camp, and outreach in the community have lots of cost involved. Being cheap or frugal in this situation would be a great detriment because it offers a below-average ministry.
The principle then is to be very frugal personally, so that you can invest money in ministry.
Solomon explains it this way in Proverbs
Prov. 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
Scattering in this verse refers to giving money away. So the person who invests money in others and ministries (scattereth) will increase, but the person who is greedy will lose everything. Practically this means being willing to give away what you have saved.
The Lord reminded me about the importance of frugality that invests in others a few weeks ago when a friend was scheduled to work at a nearby island, but did not have the money to get there. In desperation he texted me to ask if I could loan the money for the trip. Of course I gave it to him! The week before I loaned money to a man who was welding a gate, and couldn’t finish it without purchasing some new material.
I couldn’t have helped either of these men if my life wasn’t frugal, but I couldn’t let that frugality keep me from giving that money away.
There is a delicate balance here between saving and giving, but the important thing is understanding we don’t save to accumulate money. We save to grow ministries, and help others in need. The danger of course is to refuse to give when someone’s in need because being cheap is more important than ministry.
I will stay cheap because God made me that way.
But by His grace that frugality won’t weaken my ministry, but help it thrive