Ahead of our upcoming retreat for single mothers and their children, we would like to share with you a piece written by Mrs. Edna King, intended to help single mothers, though it can apply to any struggling parent, approach finances and saving from both a practical, and an Orthodox Christian perspective.
5. Be an example for your children in how you give of your finances and yourself to others
If everything we have and are is a gift from God and we are called to be wise stewards, or managers of it, then giving back takes on a different meaning.
Whatever your financial circumstances are, there is always something you can give to the church and to others. Setting aside a portion of your income for this is important, but giving of your time and talent is also of value. Finding a way to give to others should not be yet another burden on your time and resources, it is a blessing for you and others. Ask God to help you find the right attitude in your own heart to become a cheerful giver and to provide the right place for you to really help others.
And so if you are rich or in power, do not please yourself but the poor and needy, because in this way you will at once have true glory to enjoy, and be doing much service. For glory from things of the world soon flies away, but that from things of the Spirit is abiding, if you do it to edification.
– St. John Chrysostom
Whatever you do, involve your children in giving too. Working together as a family in some kind of ministry, such as making a meal for someone in need, or creating cards for children in the hospital, can help them focus less on themselves, help them see that others have serious challenges too, and also feel more secure about their own family’s circumstances. Set an example of stewardship for them in how you take care of your home, your job, and your church.
- Creation – joyful appreciation for the wonder and beauty of nature; protection and preservation of the environment; bringing the gifts of creation to the Church for blessing (altar bread, wine, fruits, oil, incense, etc.); development of the material world through holy work (physical labor, professions, arts and sciences); respect for and protection of the sanctity of human life from conception to death.
- Vocation – fulfillment of our God-given calling in life as married or single people, adult or child, working or retired, clergy or laity, to extend the love and truth of God in Christ to those around us.
- Church – becoming active participants in working out our salvation as members of the Orthodox Church through the Christian nurture of children, regular worship and fellowship; spiritual formation through on-going education; service to one another and to the poor, sick, and needy; cooperating to make our parish a vibrant source of faith and work; and supporting Metropolitan, Archdiocesan, and international ministries that link us to the worldwide Church.
– From ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP by Father Harry Pappas
6. Recognize God’s abundance in your life
Like manna from heaven, God does provide for us each day whatever is best; the problem is that we often disagree with God about what the best is. God’s abundance means there is enough. What someone else has does not affect what you have, or what you will have, or what you should have. Each of us has unique opportunities, talents and choices. Cultivate a thankful heart and even the simple things before you become gifts, signs of God’s abundant care for you.
Our problems and challenges give us opportunities to lean on God and allow His strength to help us in our times of need and our financial problems are no exception to that. God knows our needs, He sees our broken hearts and He’s there to help us pick up and rebuild. By confessing our financial sins, facing the reality of our situation, creating routines to deal with budgeting, and setting an example of stewardship for our children, we can live a more abundant life now, even in lean times because our real treasure is in heaven.
Here are some of the resources I used while writing this. Each contains inspiration and practical strategies that can help us better manage our finances.
Web Based Resources: