Closing the Holes in Your Pockets


Growing up, often I would hear my elders using a phrase, “You are going through money like there are holes in your pockets” or “You cannot seem to keep any money.”  Those two quotes have remained with me over the years. It appears to me the believers in Haggai 1:2-6, possessed similar challenges when it came to keeping money in their pockets. 

Perhaps the people in this text had misguided financial priorities like many of us who live and are influenced by a consumer-driven culture and society. Similarly, the people were employed and had more than adequate incomes, but seemed unable to save any money. Today, we struggle with the same issues about priorities, saving money, and maintaining the House of God.

Setting priorities and establishing a personal budget helps us manage and focus on the things that we value. The frequency of the things we value or treasure is often recorded in our checkbook register or credit card statements. Reviewing those documents provides a glimpse of our priorities. Have you had a values and priorities check lately?

The believers in Haggai suffered because they failed to make God’s house a priority. As a result of their neglect, the members could not manage to save and create personal financial reserves. Their failure to make the House of God a priority became their downfall. Ultimately, the God’s house fell into ruins due to lack of support and misplaced priorities.

A remedy for this issue lies with a re-evaluation of personal finances. First, place your tithe or proportionate gift in your personal budget/spending plan. Further, set aside a percentage or dollar amount for personal savings, emergencies, or retirement. This will allow you to establish priorities, help you to manage your financial resources, and seal holes in your pockets and pocketbooks. Consider taking a personal Christian Financial Management course like - Good Sense and Financial Peace University - or encouraging your congregation to offer them. These courses provide believers with spiritual and practical insight into biblical stewardship and generosity.

Preservation of church facilities should be a priority. Funds should be allocated for future maintenance. Delayed, deferred, or denied capital improvements have a tendency to overwhelm congregations large and small. The Board of Trustees need to create an ongoing list of items for renovation or replacement. Allowing these projects to accumulate can stifle ministry. Visitors want to see a welcoming, well kept campus.  Your church and its appearance is a reflection of its members. 

Remember, all that we have belongs to God.  If we seek God first, maintain the House of God, and prioritize the rest of our provisions, we will have more than enough to live on.  Simply, it is required of stewards to be found faithful. (I Corinthians 4:2)

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By: Melvin Amerson

The Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist/Area representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Amerson is the author of Celebrating the OfferingFruit for Celebrating the Offering and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership and visioning. Currently, he serves as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and is a nationally-recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations.