I’m an unapologetic advocate for being a good steward of all that we own. That’s Christian talk for, I’m tight with my money.
This last weekend, my wife upgraded her phone from the iPhone 5S to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The salesman in passing informed me they had a BOGO sale that could get me one too with $200 off. The only catch is I’d have to buy out my current phone payment of $250 (plus taxes, transfer fee, and everything else, but we didn’t discuss that.)
My response: I’ll wait.
(This article feels like “look how great I am for making this decision.” That is not my heart. I ask if you feel like it comes off as that, look past it. I have no doubt I’ve screwed up 1,000 times since I submitted this article for review.)
In the past, fear is what drove my financial spending. Then I got married and God blessed me with a wife who not only didn’t know how to create and manage a budget, but lived life in the moment. Again, that’s code for 90% of our arguments were about money. But I do believe it is a blessing, because I wasn’t being a good steward when I was single, it was far from Godly actions, though I was able to put a nice white-wash veneer on it.
Thank God for my wife as I have grown into true stewardship.
Stewardship is not about saving money. For some, that may be a revelation, it was for me a couple years ago. Stewardship is a way of life, a life of accountability and responsibility acknowledging God as Creator and Giver of all. Sometimes good stewardship actually means spending money, lots of it. Sometimes it means saying no to great deals, even on Black Friday when you will never get that price again.
How was saying no to a phone good stewardship?
This phone upgrade was for my wife, for Mother’s Day.
I want to honor my wife on Mother’s day because she is amazing. This phone is a very insufficient thank you for everything she has done this year.
- For every “mom? Mom?! MOM?!?”
- For every “how did you get food there too?”
- For every “I hurt my finger!!! I need a bandaid!”
So when I hear “you could get a phone too,” I interpret it as “let’s make this about me too.” Takes away from honoring God. And I made a promise to her and God I would do my best to love her. Time to step up.
I can have patience.
Impulsivity is a tough conversation to have with techies in this generation. Gadgets are shiny. They are status symbols. They are talking points.
We justify getting them by saying they will make our lives simpler. That we could share the Gospel with more people, quicker and more effectively. That my device is out-of-date, the battery is not optimal, and I can’t get that one app.
If it is actually about honoring God, great. But with impulsiveness, it’s not. It’s about me. Give me, give me… selfish.
It feels like a deal to only pay $50, but I had no intention to spend money on me, so it’s actually not. It’s an additional expense that I did not budget for. I can wait the 8 months for my contract to end and then see what is available.
It’s not about $50, it’s about valuing things well.
The salesman pushed that “it’s only $50 to buy out the old phone” but in that moment I asked myself, do I actually need to? Nope.
If I were to say yes, it would not be because I need a new phone, but because I could have something my wife has. A bit of jealousy and envy there. I’m supposed to be the techie. She doesn’t know how to customize an Android device. I deserve that, not her. I’m going to be stuck with the old stuff.
That whole paragraph disgusts me. It is not based in any Christian thought. But that’s the selling point, right?
Where Are You with Stewardship?
I want to get your reactions to stewardship in the comments, but I want to first bring us back emotionally.
This is a personal topic for many of us techies. Let me reiterate my definition of stewardship, it’s not about saying no. If you can honor God and be accountable, you SHOULD buy the phone. But how many times do we actually think through that when we go to upgrade something?
For me, on that Mother’s Day, I needed to say “no” to a new phone.
What does stewardship look like with church tech ministries?
Are we doing it well?