If we are to be a generous people, is there any place for saving money?
And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.Genesis 41:25-36
God revealed to Joseph that there was coming a time plenty followed by a time of great want. Joseph used this time of plenty to save for the time of want. He saved 20% a year during the times of plenty in order to sustain the nation through the time of want.
And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.Genesis 41:53-57
Joseph’s savings plan enabled him to love his neighbor. If Joseph had not saved during the times of plenty, the entire nation of Egypt and other surrounding nations would have starved to death. Saving money is not at odds with being a generous person. Many times it is saving money that enables you to be generous. You cannot give away what you do not have, and in many cases you will not have it unless you save it.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 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 5:10-11
He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.Proverbs 21:17
Joseph also teaches us a tremendous lesson concerning savings. If possible, live well below your income level. Without Joseph’s wisdom the land of Egypt would not have had any food saved for the coming famine. Where would all that food have gone? Human beings are notorious for living well beyond what is necessary. We have a tendency to engorge ourselves and live lavish lifestyles which go well beyond what is necessary for survival. Joseph teaches us that we should strive to live well below our income level. He demanded that people save first before they did anything else. This will enable us to both save money and be generous at the same time. We are way too prone to live up to our income level as opposed to live a frugal life no matter our income. Just because you can afford something does not mean that you should purchase it!
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.Proverbs 22:7
We will talk about debt in depth later on, but for now it is sufficient to say that we want to avoid debt at all costs. How do you buy an item without incurring debt? You save until you have the money to purchase it outright.
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.Proverbs 13:22
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.Proverbs 19:14
We also need to save money to help our children live generous, debt free lives.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.Proverbs 21:31
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.Matthew 6:31-34
Ultimately, our needs will be met by the Lord. He sometimes meets those needs in advance by giving us the wisdom and foresight to save as He did with Joseph. However, even if our savings fail or we are unable to save money, our hope must always be in the Lord alone.