I am writing this post to encourage us all to consider what God has to say about money. A few years ago I found myself in some financial trouble and decided to research each of the Bible references regarding finances. I discovered the Bible has a lot to say about this subject. This post is a brief synopsis of some of the Scriptures that have been a help to me as I have sought to honor God with my resources.
One of the basic principles of Scripture is that God owns everything. (Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:9-10) We know as the Creator (Hebrews 11:3) he ultimately has the right to demand our time, talents and resources be spent for His glory. I Corinthians 6:19-20 teaches that all we are is His. Should the creation say to the Creator, “I will take what you have made from you and use it only for my pleasure?” This principle of God’s ownership is basic to understanding how to handle our money God’s way.
Another principle from Scripture that is foundational when it comes to money is that God gives and takes away as He pleases. (Job 1:21) God is sovereign in this physical matter just as He is in spiritual matters. This truth will remind us not to take pride in our monetary successes. (I Corinthians 4:7; Deuteronomy 8:18) This will also help us not to worry in failure if we’ve done our best. (Matthew 6:26)
A third Scriptural principle is that God does often entrust wealth to the faithful. (Matthew 25:21, 24-30; I Corinthians 4:2) A man or woman of God who can have wealth and use it as God would desire, without becoming enslaved by its power, is truly a faithful steward. We should all strive to be worthy of this honor, not simply to gain God’s material blessing, but so that we might be used to further His kingdom.
A fourth Biblical principle is that God wants us to earn a living. (I Timothy 5:8) Proverbs 11:1 teaches that a wise man delights in good business. Proverbs 28:19 says a wise man delights in hard work and Proverbs 21:20 commends a wise man for delighting in saving his money for the future (Proverbs 30:25). Also, Proverbs 24:3 says a wise man delights in planning and being prepared. (Proverbs 6:8;22:3)
Here are some guidelines of what to do with God’s money when He gives it to us:
- Know where you stand by developing a family budget. (Proverbs 27:23) This will help you know if you are able to save or if you are spending too much. Also, determine if you have enough of an emergency fund (at least 3 months of aafter-tax income). (Proverbs 6:8) Christians have often brought reproach on the name of Christ when they are not prepared financially for the unexpected. Ask yourself, do you have unsecured debt? Tackle your highest interest rate first and pay down your unsecured debt as soon as possible. (Romans 13:8) As Christians, we are to be ready to do whatever God commands and be free to follow his lead. We can’t do this if we have debts that we couldn’t easily pay off. Finally determine if you are protected against catastrophes? Do you have adequate health/life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance? While these were not available in Bible times, we see principles from Scripture that would lead us to protect our families from these financial “catastrophes”. (Proverbs 22:3)
Realize how much is enough and learn to say “no”. (Philippians 4:12) You don’tnecessarily need to take that higher paying position or that extra job. Buying a new car is not always necessary. But this is not popular in our culture today. Covetousness is rampant in the 21st century, to deny this is to proverbially hide your head in the sand. Scripture doesn’t condemn desiring money. But it does condemn loving money. Your motives are the key. (I Timothy 6:10)
Control your spending. (Galatians 5:22-23) Ask yourself, “Do I really need that thing?” and “Is there something God wants me to do with His money besides buy that thing?” (I Co 10:28)
Set up your work before you establish your home. (Proverbs 24:27) It is better to go on to college and establish your career before you marry and have children.
Never cosign a loan you’re not ready to pay! The Bible strictly warns against this. (Proverbs 17:18)
Give generously, freely and sacrificially to those in need (I John 3:17) and give a tithe (tenth) of your income to God’s work at your local church. The tithe was actually a form of taxation among the Jews during Old Testament times. (Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 12:6, Deuteronomy 14:28) While the tithe was not specifically commanded to the church by the apostles, the principle of giving to God’s work still applies. And 10% is only a starting point. The early church gave all they had! (I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 9:5-7) They gave until it caused them personal suffering, they gave sacrificially. (II Corinthians 8:2-3)
In 1744 John Wesley wrote, “When I die if I leave behind me ten pounds… you and all mankind can bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.” When he died in 1791, the only money mentioned in his will was the miscellaneous coins to be found in his pockets and dresser drawers. Most of the 30,000 pounds he had earned in his lifetime he had given away. As Wesley said, “I cannot helping leaving my books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but in every other respect, my own hands will be my executors.” Wesley believed as one’s income goes up so should his standard of giving, not his standard of living.
I believe if we follow these principles in handling money we will be blessed and bring honor to Christ Jesus. May we apply these Scriptures to our lives so that we can bring more glory to Him.