This is a book review of “The Christian Wallet:
Spending, Giving, and Living with a Conscience”, by Mike Slaughter.
The premise of this book, is that as Christians, we should spend our money better,
give more away, and live more simply with less.
The author says that how we use our money is a spiritual question.
This book will make you think about how you want to live, based on your Christianity,
instead of living to get more things based on our culture in America.
It will challenge you to make better use of your money and still live comfortably.
Problems happen when we consume excessively.
We run out of room to store all our stuff.
Then many of us pay to store it somewhere else.
We spend more time working to pay for all our stuff.
We want to be happy, but buying more stuff, will not make us happy.
Here are some ways the author shows we can change the way we spend money
to reflect our beliefs as Christians —
Last year, the average credit card debt for each family in America was $7,000.
What is your credit card debt right now?
How long will it take you to pay it off?
Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13:8,
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another”,
which is what Jesus told us to do. Love one another.
In America, we have so much stuff, that we throw out tons of it every year.
What we throw away is wasted.
Couldn’t the money spent on what we throw out, be better spent?
Last year, more than one billion people in other countries, lived on $1.25/day,
(which is only $37.50 per month).
That does not provide enough food, or rent, or clothes or not even an 8th grade education.
Do you have all these things?
You probably have more than you need of all these things and more.
The author of this book says that we should ask ourself before we buy something —
“Do I really need this?”
One of the ways many people overspend is at restaurants.
We go to restaurants and eat too much,
and spend much more than if we cooked our own food at home.
Many of us have so many clothes, we never wear some of them.
The author says we need to budget our spending, and he explains how to do this.
He says that your budget shows what you value in your life.
Does your spending show you to be selfish? Wasteful? Greedy?
Or are you thrifty? Generous?
Jesus says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
and “You cannot serve both God and money.”( from Matthew 6:24)
In what ways might we be selfish with our money?
Americans spend in total per year, $370 million on pet costumes.
Yep, that’s right, not pet food, pet costumes.
How can we justify that, when so many people in the world do not have enough food?
Maybe you haven’t bought clothes for your pet.
Americans also spend about $21 per week on fancy coffee drinks.
That adds up to $1,092 per person per year.
Or how about holiday spending?
Americans spend more than $2.5 billion on Halloween candy each year.
Do we need all that candy? We could use some of that money to donate to a food pantry.
Each year, $2 billion of gift cards purchased, go unused, wasted.
Do you have any unused gift cards?
Maybe you can re-gift them instead of buying a new present.
Maybe you can gather them up and sell them, and donate some of the money.
The author says that God owns everything in the world,
and God expects us to use it wisely, and be generous to the poor, orphans, and widows.
The author provides useful direction on how to pay off debt.
He also shares more ways to save money, using his own family as an example.
He also shares the stories of other people, and how they use their money.
These stories were very interesting,
and helped to explain the author’s ideas on how to relate our money to our religious beliefs.
This book could change the way you think about your money,
and the way you spend it.
The author would argue that spending your money more as God would spend it,
will make you a better Christian, and make you happier and healthier.
I plan to use some of his questions to guide my future spending,
and to use some of his ideas in order to give more donations.
This book does make me more grateful for what I have,
and makes me want to find ways I waste money, so I can spend that money more wisely.
- To preorder this book, you can go to Amazon. The book will be out in January 2016.
For more information you can look at these sites referenced in the book:
- U2 song followed with Bono interview 3/27/2008
- Another book by the same author (Mike Slaughter) is “Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus.” available to buy or to read part of it on Amazon
- You could also look at an interesting article in “USA Today”, by Katherine Muniz, to help you find ways to save money by avoiding the ways people often waste their money.
(I did receive a free e-book copy of “The Christian Wallet” from the publisher, Westminster John Knox Press, through www.Netgalley.com The review contains my honest opinions of this book.)
In the comments below,
please share ways that you save money to give to the needy.
If you go to any of the 3 sites referenced above,
share your feedback in the comments section here.
What do you think about spending your money to reflect your religious beliefs?