Once a year you take a financial reading of your life. It's called tax time. As you prepare your tax documents, look over your spending for the last year. How has your money been spent? This gives you an indication of what's important in your life.

When we realize that our Heavenly Father has entrusted us with His wallet, we will want to get our priorities right in all our purchases. God has deposited His wealth with us so that our money and resources can be used for His Kingdom.

How to spend God's way:

* Honor Him with your money. We must not give Him 10%, then do whatever we want because we have paid our dues. Where you invest your treasure is the true location of your heart (Luke 12:34). An accountant should be able to look at your entire budget and conclude that God is given weighty consideration in your life.

* Train your children. Your child should be trained from the toddler stage to give in order to help relieve the hard times of others - as an expression of their love for God and to support the work of His church. Challenge them to think, How can I honor God with my allowance? If you begin teaching them early, they will learn the habit of generous giving. As their resources grow, so too will their giving.

* Meet the material needs of your family. Credit cards should not be used to fake a higher lifestyle than you can afford when there is not enough money to pay for necessities. Wise people settle down, earn the bread they eat, and live within their means. God places a high value on meeting the needs of one's family when your priorities are in order.

* Graciously give to those in need. There are so many people who are suffering in poverty, who desperately need all the help you can give. From worldwide relief organizations to the poor fellow on the corner, each makes an appeal to our resources. But a worthy cause, alone, is not enough. God looks into your heart to determine your motives in giving. God wants you to give cheerfully and generously.

* Enjoy with others what God gives you. You don't have to feel guilty for your abundance if you share it with others. You can use your abundance to bring joy to others, particularly when you realize, and share with others, that your wealth is a result of God's blessings and not your own doing.

David Wyrtzen is a graduate of Houghton College and received his Th.M. and Th.D degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is pastor of Midlothian Bible Church in Midlothian, Texas, and the author of Unexpected Grace: How God Brings Meaning Out of Our Failures. He and his wife, Mary, are the parents of four children.
From Raising Worldly Wise But Innocent Kids by David Wyrtzen, copyright (c) 1995. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, affiliated with RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49512, 1-800-658-8333.