Budget-Fudging, and Other Small Crimes
I don’t know what you and your husband have set up financially, but I have a budget. After an ongoing discussion, I have an amount of money each month that I use to keep our home running—groceries, packages of underwear, dog food, whatever. I’m blessed with a husband who decides with me what will both meet our family’s needs and allow us to live within our means, allowing for regular saving, giving, bills, and other items.
But … I was finding myself “fudging” (this is a fancy word for ignoring the truth, known in some circles as lying) on my budget. I would find a great sale—and I’m a penny-pinching addict—and rationalize just why I should borrow some money from next month’s budget. And I would do this without consulting my husband. And since we’re on a cash-only system, this would mean whipping out the credit card. Or maybe I’d be out of cash for the month, so I’d spend some extra money on groceries. But … then I would do the same thing the next month. Um, and the next month.
God used one of Jesus’ parables to convict me, in Matthew 25: 23, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’ ” (emphasis mine). And then there’s 1 Corinthians 4:2, “it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”
I had to realize, what if I were in a poorer country, where I didn’t have the cash to fudge? What if, like many of you, my husband lost his job? Even though I think this verse is about more than money, was I really proving faithful—to the point that God could put me in charge of much, even in eternity?
Well, I’m not out of the woods yet, but God is changing me. Some months, my kids may need to go without something they’re used to, because I had too much month with too little budget left. But those consequences may be good for me—and for them.