Money, Time, and Family Management in the New Year


God has given us many gifts and we are called to manage these gifts well for the sake of the one who has given them to us. We will be looking at three of these gifts – money, time and family – and how we should manage them.

The biblical word for managing God’s gifts to us is called stewardship. A steward in the ancient world was a person who was given the responsibility and authority to rule over the affairs of a household. His role was to make wise decisions on how best to manage the resources of the household.

The number of days you have to live in this world are fixed and God knows the number. All the money we will ever have is also finite and fixed. Our role, like the servants in the parable of the talents, is to make the best of what has been entrusted to us.

To use any finite resource well, you need to have a priority list. Think of how things are managed in an emergency; the priority is usually “Women and children first”. Civilised society has established that in any emergency, we prioritise the weakest first. For every area of your life, you also need to have a priority list to help you make decisions.

I will be looking at how to set priorities in the followings areas:

  • Time
  • Family 
  • Money

Time Management

When considering the use of our time, it can seem that we have limitless time and an endless list of possibilities on how to use our time. Biblically speaking, however, there are only a few clear priorities and projects that God wants to use to occupy most of our time. And there are always a thousand tasks of secondary importance that will tempt us to devote a disproportionate amount of time to them.

So, how should we use our time? I like what CJ Mahaney says about this; “it appears to me that being faithful, productive, and fruitful for the glory of God requires that I accomplish three things: define my present God‐given roles, determine specific, theologically informed goals, and transfer these goals into my schedule.”

What are your roles?  Ask yourself; what are the things that God wants me to achieve in each role- those things are your goals. Those goals are the things that should dominate your schedule. You should try to schedule your days ahead as much as you can.

To make it practical, one of your roles as a church member is to maintain good relationships and regular visits with other church members. This year, instead of saying to someone after church service “Hey, we should meet up soon”, say instead “what Saturday are you free this January so I can come and visit you? Let me book that in my calendar right away”. 

Family Management

    What does the New Testament teach about parenting? You will very likely struggle to answer this question, for Paul made just one statement (repeated twice in 2 separate letters) which borders directly on parenting advice: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). There are 2 separate pieces of advice in this verse, one negative and the other positive.

    Do not provoke

    The Greek word translated “provoke” has a wide lexical range. Other translations have embitter (NIV), aggravate (NLT), antagonise (NASB), exasperate (NASB 1995), irritate (AMP), and don’t be hard (CEV). The Greek–English Lexicon BDAG defines the word as: “to cause someone to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge”. Thus, Paul is encouraging parents to raise their children in such a way that they avoid triggering a rebellious posture.

    A commentator Andrew Lincoln explains this verse this way: “What Paul is ruling out here is excessively severe discipline, unreasonably harsh demands, abuse of authority, arbitrariness, unfairness, constant nagging and condemnation, subjecting a child to humiliation, and all forms of gross insensitivity to a child’s needs and sensitivities.”

    This is an important lesson for us to learn as African parents where we have been raised to be tough on our children. The Bible must be used as a plumb line to measure all of our cultural practices as Africans. Are we using the authority that God has given us for the good of our children? Are we seeing any of the signs that our children are being provoked by our behaviour? May God open our eyes and give us the grace to change. 

    Discipline and Instruction

    While we must avoid provoking our children, we must always ensure that we are following the “b” part of the verse as well: but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

    An important passage that teaches about instructing children is Genesis 18:16-21 where God testifies about Abraham and why he was a friend of God. Verse 19 is the key verse: For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. Abraham was chosen by God, out of all the people of the earth, because God could trust him to bring up his children and his household in the way of the LORD. Indeed, the story of the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 shows us how completely Abraham obeyed the commandments of God.

    Fathers, do you want to be a friend of God? Then you also take seriously your God given role of bringing up your family to know and obey God, just like Abraham did. One of the most important goals you can set to help you fulfil your role as instructor is to have family worship. As we start 2024, this must be a key goal for every father. This must be clear in your mind, and you must have communicated it so often and so clearly that it is also clear in the mind of your wife, your children and any other person who is living in your household. The practical step you now need to take is to transfer this goal into your schedule for 2024. You need to know exactly when you will do your family worship. You need to know exactly how you will organize your time of worship. You must have a clear plan for that. A good family worship session will consist of the reading of God’s word, singing of biblically saturated songs and prayers. 

    It is important to be flexible in how you manage your family worship. It will change from time to time depending on the circumstances of your life; the time you have the devotion and the length of time will be affected by being single, married or married with children.

    It is important that I stress that singles also have family responsibilities. If you are a single person living with your parents, you must be contributing to that household in all ways (financially, spiritually and sharing in household chores). If you are a student, one of the holiest things you can do is to go home during the holidays and help out your parents. If you are a single adult living alone, then your primary household is the church, and you must be contributing to that household. It is people who are responsible as singles that would be responsible as married people. Responsibility is not a spirit that comes upon you on your wedding day. 


    The principle behind the wise use of money is the same as that behind using time well. To use any finite resource well, you need to have a priority list, which is what we call a budget. A budget takes into account what income you expect to come in (either through your salary or your business) and what you expect to spend.

    I think a good budget should contain 3 things:

    1. Living expenses which is all the things that you need to do to live your life
    2. Giving which includes giving to church, parents, benevolence and so on
    3. Savings or Investments (The difference between these two things is that savings do not earn interest, while investments are savings that have been put into any venture that brings interest, but which also increases the possibility of losing some or all of that money)

    I insist that even if you are earning 10k now, you should have a budget that contains all the 3 things I have mentioned above.

    Here are some of the benefits of having a budget:

    • It teaches you to prioritise. There are always 1 million things that you can spend on, but what are the most important ones? Making a budget forces you to determine what things are your priority.
    • It teaches discipline. Sticking to a budget requires discipline because if you don’t have a budget, then you can spend as you want now, but regret it in the future.
    • A personal budget makes you face reality. For example, if you plan to take Uber to church every Sunday and then you see it ,in black and white, that if you do that you won’t have any money left to save at the end of the month. You might still decide to take your Uber, but at least now you will know why you don’t have any savings. 
    • If you are married, a budget will help you and your spouse to have a better relationship. Early in our marriage my wife and I used to have a lot of disagreements about household expenses, but that has reduced since we started having a monthly and annual budget some years ago. We have just finished our 2024 budget planning which made us have many discussions on what we are trying to achieve this new year. Since we have both agreed on our priorities upfront, it is much easier for us to hold each other accountable as the year progresses.

    If you have never made a budget before, don’t worry as it is simple to do. Write down all the income – from all sources including gifts- you have and then write down all the various expenses that you have. 

    Remember that I said at the beginning that the biblical word for what we are talking about is stewardship.  Listen to how Paul describes Christian stewardship: This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1 Cor 4:1-2)

    Our prayer in 2024 should be that God will find us faithful in how we manage our time, our family and our money to his glory.

    About the author

    Wole Akande

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