The other day I read a quote by Dave Ramsey that reads, "How a family spends money represents its value system. What you do with money shows who you really are." That really jumped out at me because it's Scriptural. The Bible teaches "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:20, 21).
I was curious what our value system is in our home so I took a photo of my checkbook to evaluate. As an accountant I love looking at this type of stuff!
The top entry was a purchase of tickets for Church @ the Lake for our family. Every Labor Day our church has morning service at the church, then goes down to the lake for an afternoon and evening of fellowship together as a church family. This photo also shows gas, a check reorder and some food purchases. We had Hungry Howies Pizza at the beach on our family getaway. The Red Box movie was the "God's Not Dead" movie we watched on Friday night. Our family really enjoyed that movie and the message it gave. GNC, this was to purchase women's mufti-vitamins for me. Tim and Matthew had Vanilla Frosties together at Wendy's. We contributed to savings accounts, gave BBC and Score International charitable contributions and finally, we paid our car insurance.
This is a decent usage of money. Most of these purchases have to do with our family, church and simply paying our bills on time. That is basically our life!
One thing I'd like to encourage others to do is give. The Bible says to "Lay yourselves treasures in Heaven." This is the idea of giving to others because it honors God and cheerfully donating makes people joyful. Material items may bring joy momentarily, but those that focus on eternal things will bring even greater joy in Heaven.
Most of the time people do not give because with so many charities out there, they don't know which charities are authentic and which ones are shady with the resources they've collected. One recent example is the ALS research. Some of you may have done the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of the disease. I read a few articles online that said that ALS research money was not going to be used for as much research as you might think and also some of the research is done on unborn babies scientists have murdered. I know there are several adoption charities that are more likely child trafficking businesses than legitimate orphan care organizations.
It's best to first give to your local church and then give to a well-researched organization in which you are passionate about. I wanted to list 3 great charities that I love.
1. Score International (www.scoreinternational.org). We fell in love with this organization when we went on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. We support and have kept in touch with our missionaries from that trip. Score International specializes in sports mission outreach, short-term missions, orphanage ministries, and Spanish language studies. They hold sports camps for sports such as soccer and baseball and spread the love of Christ to the children. When we were in the Dominican we shopped for and donated cleaning supplies, diapers, food and clothing to the orphanages and the poor families in the outer villages through Score. I love this ministry and they stretch every dollar given to meet the needs of the people and evangelize the lost!
2. Show Hope (http://showhope.org/sponsor). Show Hope is an organization founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his family in honor their adoptive Chinese daughter. This organization provides grants to adoptive families, provides funds for life-saving medical care and cares for older orphans with various special needs. While our family never was awarded a grant from them for our adoptions, we have friends whose adopted daughter had a cleft lip repair paid for by this organization, and other friends who did receive an adoption grant. This non-profit is close to my heart because they experienced a similar accident and death of a child as our family. The book they wrote "Choosing to See" ministered to my grieving heart in the months following Brandon's unexpected death.
3. Little Flower Projects (email@example.com). This non-profit provides specialized care of abandoned infants, nurturing love to orphans and education for older, disabled orphans in Beijing, China. I follow their work and the progress of several little ones online. It is absolutely amazing to see the life-changing medical care and love this organization provides.
I could go on and on with legitimate organizations, but these three are the first ones that came to mind as I began to write this post. Feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website if you'd like more information on donating to these companies.