October 15, 2021

The Wise Saver

We’ve been talking about Prudent Spenders – those who enjoy the fruits of their labor while guarding against materialism. We’ve seen that Prudent Spenders are, first of all, Generous Givers. But this is just the beginning.

Prudent Spenders are also Wise Savers. They understand the importance of saving for their own needs (Proverbs 6:6-8; 21:20; 30:25) and for the needs of others (1 Corinthians 16:2; see also Genesis 41).  The Wise Saver is one who builds, preserves, and invests with discernment – while avoiding hoarding (Luke 12:16-21).

 

Characteristics of Wise Savers

As with all the money personalities, Wise Savers are intentional about how they manage their finances. Because saving is an important goal, they dial back on spending in order to make a priority out of setting aside for the future. Wise Savers understand the value of delayed gratification – a very counter-cultural characteristic! They practice patience and planning.

As you might guess, contentment is part of this picture. It’s hard to save when you’re discontent with what you have. Wise Savers are content. This doesn’t mean that they have no wants, but rather that they’ve put these wants in perspective and they satisfy them within an overall framework that includes healthy saving. Their spending habits reflect discipline and self-control that supports their priority of saving.

Wise Savers don’t put their hope in wealth (1 Timothy 6:17). While they store up provisions for the future, their ultimate hope is in God. As a result, they avoid hoarding beyond their needs. One way that Wise Savers avoid hoarding is by cultivating a generous spirit (see the article on Generous Givers) and by sharing with others (1 Timothy 6:18).

 

Habits of Wise Savers

As Prudent Spenders, Wise Savers plan their finances, in order to ensure that they’re meeting their saving goals. The intentionally track where their money goes and they know if they’re on target to meet their goals. They may be investment-savvy or they may have a trusted financial planner handle the details; but in either case, they systematically set aside money for the future.

Because they plan for the future, Wise Savers have a strategy for how they will use unexpected or windfall income, such as tax returns, bonuses at work, or maybe inheritances. They’ve prioritized in advance what they will do with excess income (including raises) so that lifestyle spending doesn’t gobble it all up and rob them of opportunities.

 

Equipping Wise Savers

The church needs Wise Savers. We need brothers and sisters who have accumulated enough margin to help others in need, as we see in the early church (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37). We need believers who can model contentment, patience, and self-control in the face of a culture that pulls us in the other direction.  So how do we equip our people to be Wise Savers?

As always, equipping the saints begins with God’s Word. While most churches will give the occasional sermon on giving, relatively few teach the wisdom of Scripture when it comes to saving. Culture steps into this vacuum of teaching and directs people – including believers – to spend all they have (and more!). Our culture promotes instant gratification and pushes the idea that saving is futile and unnecessary.  Genesis 41 (the story of Joseph saving up grain in Egypt in preparation for a famine) makes a great starting point for a message on saving.

At the same time, we need to keep saving in a healthy balance in order to avoid hoarding. Believers need to be taught to ask the question, “When is enough, enough?” – and to ask it not just theoretically but practically, putting informed numbers to their saving goals.

How can we tell when saving crosses the line into hoarding? There are several indicators. Remember we said earlier that Prudent Spenders are first of all Generous Givers?  If a person is giving generously, they’re probably not hoarding. In the Luke 12 passage we mentioned above, note how Jesus sets off hoarding against generosity (verse 21). A person may be hoarding if they save significantly but give grudgingly rather than generously.

Another indicator can be a compulsion to earn more and more. In our last newsletter, we touched on the Driven Earner – the one who feels compelled to keep earning increasing amounts. One impetus for this compulsion is the impulse to hoard – to save beyond one’s needs. Often, this indicates that a person has put their trust in wealth rather than in God for their provision.

Scripture teaches balance in many things – faith with works, election with free will, and saving with trusting in God’s provision. Presenting these truths about saving in the context of financial discipleship will equip believers to save wisely while avoiding hoarding.