Thriftiness is multiplying my resources through wise investments so that I have more to give back to God.
Thriftiness is the basis for wise stewardship. Therefore, Jesus’ teaching on stewardship provides an understanding of thriftiness.
The Greek word for stewardship is oikonomia; it identifies a steward’s management of the property of his master. His faithfulness is determined by how successful he is in wisely using and increasing the resources under his care.
How Thriftiness Differs From Stinginess
Thriftiness is using as few resources as possible for my own needs so that I will have greater resources for generosity to God and to others.
Stinginess is keeping back what should be given to others so that I will have more for myself. God condemns stinginess. “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth” (James 5:4).
Thriftiness requires a long-range goal that is more important than immediate luxuries and conveniences. Our goal is to advance God’s kingdom and please the Lord.
Aspects of Thriftiness
Thriftiness begins with being content.
A person who believes that happiness is measured by personal possessions will not be capable of true thriftiness. He will use up valuable assets for things that neither profit nor satisfy. Jesus warned, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
On the other hand, a person who is content with the basic essentials of life will have the natural ability to be thrifty. “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (I Timothy 6:8).
Thriftiness uses creativity to increase assets.
Just as the two faithful stewards doubled their assets, so Jacob found creative ways to multiply the flocks that were entrusted to him. A thrifty man will understand how God designed things to work and will use this knowledge to increase productivity.
Thriftiness keeps only purposeful possessions.
Jesus is the ultimate example of thriftiness. He owned only the things that were essential for life and ministry. When He sent out the twelve disciples, He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece” (Luke 9:3).
Thriftiness gathers up the fragments after a project.
When Jesus fed the five thousand, He demonstrated thriftiness by not allowing the remaining food to go to waste. “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14:20).
Thriftiness saves during times of plenty.
When a person’s income increases, it is his tendency to also increase his standard of living, spending the increase on personal comforts and luxuries. This tendency is identified in Scripture. “When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?” (Ecclesiastes 5:11).
- Do you keep detailed records of your resources so you know how they are being spent?
- Do you save all you can so you can have available funds to give?
- Are you using your energies and resources primarily for yourself or for the needs of others?
- Do you study procedures to see how they can be more efficient and less costly?
- When your income increases, do you keep the same standard of living so you have more to give?