Confessions of a Tightwad (a devotional)

This devotional was recently featured in the Summer 2008 issue of "The Gift", a quarterly journal published by TwoShirts.org.

Confessions of a Tightwad
By Brian Stevenson

Some people have said that admitting your problem is the first step to recovery. I'm desperate, so let's give it a shot, "Hello, my name is Brian, and I'm a tightwad." Here are some telltale signs of a tightwad:

  1. We will agonize over the idea of buying something, then agonize a second time after the money has been spent.
  2. When we go to a restaurant with friends we breakdown the cost of every appetizer and divvy up the cost down to the penny.
  3. If we find one small thing wrong with a product or service, we will insist they waive all or part of the bill rather than give an opportunity to correct what's wrong.

We tightwads might outwardly claim noble titles such as "frugal" or "thrifty". However, we pass up purchases not because we enjoy saving money but because we hate to part with our cash. We will often abstain from buying material things not because we are striving to live a simple life, but because we find security when we hoard our money. In other words, tightwads are dominated by a sense of fear.

I believe that God has spoken words of encouragement for us in Psalms 112. When you read this passage, look for three things: 1. How do we relate to the LORD? 2. What do we receive from the LORD? 3. What is our response to the provision of the LORD?

Psalms 112:1-10
1 Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

2 His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.

6 Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.

7 He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked man will see and be vexed,
he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

The author of this Psalm draws our attention to a righteous person. This righteous person relates to the Lord with praise, reverence, and delighting in His commands. In other words, the righteous have a relationship with God that is full of life. In Psalm 119 we read how the words of the Lord are sweeter than honey! Our relationship with God is not supposed to be bland or boring; it is supposed to be enjoyed.

The righteous receive several things from their relationship with God; blessings, provision for our needs, and sense of security. God does not promise a smooth-sailing life; he promises to be with us in all of our circumstances. The righteous still go through darkness (v. 4) and get bad news (v. 7). The difference is that when a righteous person places their trust in the Lord, they will have no fear during their circumstances. In other words, our foundation should be built on the Lord, not our wealth.

The righteous respond to their relationship with the Lord in several ways. They are generous, compassionate, and do what is right. The righteous simply do what they see their Father doing. Since they have placed their trust in the Lord, they are now free to respond generously with all of the resources they are stewarding.

Take some time to meditate on your relationship with God. If it has been a little dry lately, consider a reading one Psalm each day for the next eight days (Psalm 92, 103, 104, 106, 111, 146, 147, 148). Ask yourself, "Where am I finding security; in my money or in the Lord?" Remind yourself that your greatest treasure and source of security is not your money, but rather God Himself. When we begin to embrace the immeasurable treasures of our Lord, our natural response is to give freely and generously.

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Brian Stevenson is a Twoshirts.org member and student at Vineyard Leadership Institute. He is married to his wife Tanya and together they live in Columbus, Ohio.