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Have you received your W-2 yet? That little slip of paper is always so surprising. Not surprised at getting it, surprised at what it says about us. It is just a simple piece of paper that tells us how much we made last year. It reports a few other things too, but it is the income surprise that always catches me.
You find it in block 1 labeled “Wages, tips, other compensation.” For a good portion of my life that block surprised me because I saw it and said, “Really, that much? Where did it all go?” I am not saying I ever made a lot of money, just that I couldn’t understand where it all went. And I have to admit, that was not a good feeling.
I imagine a lot of people experience that same thought, “Where did it all go?” For all too many Americans, our savings program consists of hoping we get a few bucks back from Uncle Sam at tax time. And sadly our income level doesn’t matter too much, we simply don’t manage our money well, we don’t know where it went. We get it, we spend it, and then wonder why we are broke all the time.
A few years ago I happened to be a part of a church that actually talked about money. I mean they didn’t just ask for money, they really taught about it. Did you know that the Bible has about 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 on faith, but more than 2,000 dealing with handling our finances?
Listen to this, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.” That quote is from Proverbs 27:23-24 (NIV).
Back then they didn’t have banks and CD’s, but they invested in other things, so your flock was your savings account. Maybe that is why we call it the “stock” market?
That passage in Proverbs, as well as many others, reminds us to be careful with money. To manage it well and wisely. To pay attention to where it goes and how it is used. Once I began to understand my financial responsibilities from God’s point of view, something amazing happened. I still am surprised at the number in the income block on my W-2, but now I am not saying “Where did it go?” Instead I am able to say, “Wow, look how far it went!”
What sort of surprise will your W-2 bring this year? Let me challenge you, try handling your finances God’s way. I bet you’ll be surprised at what he can do!