Part 7: Essential Needs

After we deduct from our income what we have purposed for both God and the government, we need to cover four more important priorities. The next is Family related expenses. I want to break those down into two pieces. The first piece is Essential Needs.

God’s normal desire is to have everyone clothed, fed and protected from the elements. Jesus beautifully states God’s intention to beautifully care for His children in Matthew 6: 28-29: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say to you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Much of the sixth chapter of Matthew, in fact, is devoted to expressing how each of us can trust God completely to take care of the essential things we need including food and clothing. Jesus challenges us to have faith that if we seek first His government and His righteousness, that all the essentials will be given to us.

God knows we need a few essential things, and we have His promise. But the normal way that He provides these essentials for those of us able to work is through our work. Isaiah promises that God’s “elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isa 65:22). Paul reminded Timothy that those who could work, but would not work, were not to be supported through the ministries of the Church.

So the third portion we set aside for our budget is money for our essential needs. These are essential – not elaborate, but if we are spending money on sensations instead of essentials, we may find that we actually don’t have left enough for even the basic requirements of living.

What do I mean about spending money on sensations as opposed to essentials? Sensations for me are things like entertainment – tickets to a big basketball game, theatre, movies, vacations, books for pleasure, and the like. With almost all of these, the moment comes, is experienced and is gone. Forever. The cost of these types of activities can easily deprive you of being able to provide for the other six top priorities, and they can certainly threaten your ability to pay your rent or even feed your children. It seems impossible, but I have seen it happen, unknowingly, in many cases.

So we must allocate enough for our basic – no frills, essential needs. In today’s society, the following would be considered somewhat essential:

Absolutely Essential:
1. Food for the day.
2. Clothing.
3. Modest Shelter.
4. Health requirements.
5. The essential care of dependent parents.

Somewhat Essential:
6. Telephone.
7. Transportation

Think now about what is as low a monthly budget number as could possibly be reasonable for each of these. A little later, we will get into actual budget numbers and templates, but this is a good time to think about what might be reasonable.

We need this section to be as tight as possible, because we still have four key priorities that first must be covered before we can consider the remaining money as discretionary. If we spend too much on Essential Needs, we will be up-side-down. Here are those priorities we discussed earlier:

1. God (church)
2. Government (taxes)
3. Essential life support needs
4. Savings
5. Critical Family needs
6. Church ministries and direct work with prisoners, the Poor, the orphaned, etc.
7. Those who work for us

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