My parents recently purchased a new home, which has a small apartment attached to it. After my older brother and his family decided not to move in to the extra space, my parents offered to have Chelsea and I move in. They knew that we are working through a significant amount of student loan debt and that living in their home for a period of time would accelerate our ability to pay it off.

Admittedly, it was odd to consider moving into our parents’ home, particularly since we had been married for four years and were used to being out own on our own. We were also concerned how this would affect our involvement at Church on Mill since living at their house would put us significantly farther from the church. We prayerfully considered these effects and sought Godly counsel to weigh the pros and cons. Ultimately, we decided to give it a try and moved in around Thanksgiving 2018.

Here’s why we were willing to give it a try despite reservations. First, we made a decision to make the drive and continue our membership at Church on Mill. Next, we realized that the time living with them is for a season, in addition to the added benefit that the apartment attached to the home is separate and can only be entered into from the outside. We want to obey Scripture’s command and wisdom of leaving mom and dad and clinging to one another, so these factors were helpful. The drastically reduced living expenses also mean we are able to put a majority of our income towards paying off our student loans. Finally, we have decided to focus on giving to the church and reducing our debt so that we are in a better position to give and serve in the future while being faithful to God’s commands now.

As we consider dramatic life changes or minor life changes for the purposes of better money management, we should acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God. Our homes, cars, bank accounts, even our own lives belong to God. When contemplating our budgets, we should keep this in mind and giving should be our first expense item. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,” Psalm 24:1.

Check out this week’s tool, Deciding What and How to Give, to consider practically how and what you can give in the situation you are in now while considering how your decisions will also enable generosity in the future.

If you are just tuning in to the Dat Dough Tho Blog series, an outline is available here that includes links to all sermons and postings.

-Stephen Shelton, Member of Church on Mill

Deciding What and How to Give