As part of the closing charge at GYC 2014, I challenged attendees to give funds for mission work, from $1 and upward per week. I am absolutely convinced that the amount of money raised by young people through sacrificial saving, creative earning, or personal influence would be staggering if everyone were to do faithfully what they can.
In this post we’ll focus on the first of those three ways of funding God’s work: sacrificial saving.
The prophet asks rhetorically in Isaiah 55:2, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?”
In our focus on its broader intent, we should not overlook the tremendous practical concern this question raises. How do we, as Seventh-day Adventists tasked with giving the Third Angel’s Message to the world, use our money? Are we making special efforts to economize and give liberally to the work of God or do we merely give sporadically of whatever is left after both our needs and wants have been satiated?
“There is altogether too much self-indulgence among us. Money is spent for that which is not bread. Let those who would please the Master listen to his words, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ Let us willingly practice these words, and we shall be blessed. If all that has been invested in self-gratification were counted up, the amount would astonish every church in the land.” (Review and Herald, November 14, 1899)
“We are all members of the Lord’s family, and the Lord would have His children, young and old, determine to deny appetite, and to save the means needed for the building of meetinghouses and the support of missionaries…Many would be surprised to see how much could be saved for the cause of God by acts of self-denial. The small sums saved by deeds of sacrifice will do more for the upbuilding of the cause of God than larger gifts will accomplish that have not called for denial of self.” (Review and Herald, February 24, 1910)
To help ease you in to a life of sacrificial living, for one month try a few of the following and add up the money saved for Jesus.
1. Next time you go out to eat, do with just a tiny bit less. If you go to Taco Bell, get one less burrito; if you order a pizza, get one less topping. Combine those with an exchange of water for soda and you’ve got several dollars saved right there.
2. Also, drop coffee altogether. Not only is it physically and morally destructive, but in today’s caffeinated culture it isn’t even cheap! For example, eliminating just one drink from Starbucks a week would save you over $15 a month. (For a handy calculator for how much you spend on coffee, click here. Wouldn’t you rather give your money to the Lord instead of to big caffeine?)
3. While we’re on the subject of young people and saving money, let’s not forget entertainment. If you simply must stream something to watch, swap out Netflix and Hulu for PBS. While public television definitely has shows to avoid, there are far more informative and edifying things there and without that pesky price tag. Of course, HOPE Channel, 3ABN, and many other Adventist media ministries stream and archive content free of charge, all of it positively helpful to your Christian walk.
4. And finally, since movie theaters are just as good for your character as coffee is for your heart, brain, stomach, and nerves, stop wasting your precious time and money there altogether, too.
As you take steps toward a life of greater sacrifice, keep in mind the following promise: “The one who is a faithful steward is constantly giving, and God is constantly supplying that the channel shall not become dried up. But it is not the rich alone that are to sustain the cause of God in our world; those who have been blessed with the light of truth can learn to practice self-denial, and have something to give. All the little rivulets made to flow into the channel of doing good, blessing humanity, will keep the treasury supplied with means.” (Review and Herald, March 8, 1887)
In the comment section below or on the social media of your preference (using #sacrificialsaving and @gycweb), share some of the small ways you’ve found to deny yourself for the cause of Christ. You can also donate your savings through GYC’s portal HERE; proceeds will go to mission projects in Southeast Asia.