Monday, September 07, 2009

September - Stewardship Month

As we consider how we are stewarding our lives, relationships and resources in the midst of a tough economic and social global environment, a short book by Klaus Nürnberger Making ends meet is of value. It is available from the CB Powell Bible Centre in Pretoria.

Prof Nürnberger states that poverty is the discrepancy between income and needs, and that the nature of need is that it is always greater than our financial resources. This means that even the most wealthy may be poor, and often deeply in debt! Could that be us?

We try to beat poverty by finding ways to increase our income, but in tough times like the present global meltdown, the best way is to decrease our needs. Prof Nürnberger describes needs as: basic essentials; social expectations; personal desires; pure luxuries.

He gives four tips on breaking even:

  1. Orient yourself down to the less privileged, rather than up to the more privileged.
  2. Don’t crave for what you don’t have, but praise God for the precious gifts God gave you.
  3. Avoid debt at all costs. If you cannot afford something, simply do without it.
  4. Make a budget and stick to it.
Here Prof Nürnberger suggests a budget formulated as follows:

ü       Work on a monthly basis.
ü       Get the whole family together.
ü       Be absolutely transparent.
ü       Add up all household income.
ü       Make a schedule.
ü       Allocate to specified items.
ü       Agree on priorities.

And he suggests we allocate it as follows:

ü       The money of God.
ü       Debt redemption or saving.
ü       Fixed items: rates and taxes, rent, water, light, school fees. 
ü       Household expenses: food, cleaning material, etc.
ü       Transport. 
ü       Clothing for each member.
ü       Pocket money for each member.
ü       New acquisitions.

Using these principles in the following order of priority for our allocation of available funds:

  1. The money of God.
  2. Debt redemption or saving.
  3. Fixed items: rates and taxes, rent, water, light, school fees. 
  4. Household expenses: food, cleaning material, etc.
  5. Transport. 
  6. Clothing for each member.
  7. Pocket money for each member.
  8. New acquisitions.
Prof Nürnberger says the challenge, however, in getting ourselves out of poverty are:

Ø       Can we trust God to provide for our healthy survival?
Ø       Can we trust each other?
Ø       Can we swallow our pride and be transparent to each other?
Ø       Can we overcome our selfishness and cooperate?
Ø       Can we sacrifice for each other?
Ø       Can we discipline ourselves?
Ø       Can we be an example for others? 

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