Friday, August 13, 2010

Frugal Advice from the Master

A while back my husband and I were talking about all of the reams of frugal advice being doled out like candy: advice on cutting spending at the grocery store, how to stock your pantry, how to find bargains galore, making do with less, determining your wants from your needs.  And yes, I have linked to the Dollar Stretcher because I sometimes need ideas on how to do these things. It's kind of amusing to see the shift in advertising as well; it wasn't too long ago where ads for luxury items tried to entice consumers with mantras like "Because you deserve it" or "It's all about you", or something to that effect.  We don't see these ads with those messages anymore in these "hard economic times".  Or do we?

The problem as I see it, with all of this new-but-really-not-so-new-everything-that's-old-is-new-again frugal advice is that the message still conveys that it's all about YOU.  Or me.  Sorry, I should have capitalized that: ME.  There is alot of frugal advice out there...probably more than we've seen since the Great Depression.  Most of it is practical, sensible, and self-centered.  It's also based on our propensity to worry.  I am not advocating uncontrolled spending and self-indulgence; nor am I advocating penny-pinching stinginess and hoarding.  The truth is, I don't have any easy answers...I am not the "Master" in the title, not even in jest.  But I will tell you this, if you are a Christian, or even if you're not, some of the best advice (believers would say it is a command) came from the Master:

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:24-34

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