Ancient Teaching of Financial Peace
Dave Ramsey, a well-known financial success story, teaches financial peace to his listeners and viewers on his radio and television shows. He suggests three major divisions to achieve financial peace: budget, save, and give.
Certain steps in each of the three divisions, which pertain to individual families, must be followed to ensure potential success in arriving at the goal of being debt-free and thriving. There is an organization to the system. Giving, charity is a large part of the system.
King Benjamin, an ancient American king and prophet, taught financial peace hundreds of years before Dave Ramsey packaged it.
In one of his last addresses to his people from the tower at the temple in the city Bountiful before relinquishing monarchal control to the next king, Mosiah, Benjamin counseled,
See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. (Mosiah 4:27)
Do no more than what is in their power to do, he counsels. Reasonably providing help when necessary constitutes wisdom in serving to avoid burning out. God, the servant of all, expects time, thought, and planning to go into ministrations rendered in His name.
King Benjamin instructed, that "all things must be done in order." (Mosiah 7:27) Order in and of itself requires planning for success, accessing resources, and determining what resources to render.
Budgeting doubles as a process, or an action to perform.
Saving or spending resources or currency defines the process and function of a budget. Every person has a budget, good or bad. A budget represents the resource available to use. If the budget has no provision to give barring the family needs, Benjamin instructs,
Ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give. [Mosiah 4:24]
Give only if wisdom constitutes it from rational means above the care of family. Exceptions exist to this principle, tithing. God provides a promise and a blessing with tithing, a command given directly from God by revelation; otherwise, family always comes first. Having the desire to give if resources permitted demonstrates the most important part of giving. Structuring a budget with the intention to give helps to keep the commandment of God to assist those less fortunate than the givers.
Having substance to give without the organization to give it due to poor financial management is not an excuse to avoid giving.
Do only what you can now and leave the rest to others who have the ability to do more. Not all of humanity has the same abilities. Moroni, the ancient prophet who last recorded in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ recorded:
I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them. For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom; and to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; and to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit.
And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles; and again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things; and again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits; and again, to another, all kinds of tongues; and again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues. And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. [Moroni 10:8-17]
Budgets come from a divine source so that we share and support one another with the gifts we possess.
Set aside money for unexpected circumstances.
Preparing for the family means arranging for those not-so-favorable times or to have a surplus in general. Surplus means to have more than adequate to sustain life. These resources or monies serve as additional funds for purchasing wants. It constitutes a reservoir for needful things: cars, houses, college, retirement, religious missions, etc...
As the Scripture in Mosiah 4:24 teaches, give not if there is nothing to give, but wish to have it. God does not expect His children to give all that is prepared for one family so that both families are without. He does not expect one family to give away its store of wheat until there is nothing left. He does expect a willingness to give. The attitude of giving proceeds the act. The attitude of giving is the goal. The behavior of saving constitutes a means to eventually give.
Give one-tenth of the Income
Within that budget and above all else, give ten percent of all income to God or charity. It needs to be a part of the budget and not something that comes afterward.
The key to a winning budget comes with a plan to give. If there exists the expectation of giving within the budget, then likely no reason to "say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not." [Mosiah 4:24] God blesses those who willingly give, returning again that for which they worked.
How? The "How?” differs for each person and family.
One family may work for extra income just to give. God blesses each willing giver with success in some form--physical ability to work, extra income liquidity, access to resources, etc.
King Benjamin exhorts, preaching of the generosity of the Lord towards them,
He doth require that ye should do as He hath commanded you; for which if ye do, He doth immediately bless you; and therefore He hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto Him, and are, and will be, forever and ever. [Mosiah 2:24]
King Benjamin reveals forgiveness as the grandest reward. He teaches that serving a fellow person means service to God for which He immediately blesses them. Taking care of the poor fits into the call to serve people.
Benjamin tells of the type of attitude to have in order to receive the full benefit of the blessing of heaven, a willing heart, often and indefinite.
For those under covenant to give 10% of their income as a tenet of faith, going above and beyond that conviction helps to cultivate hope and frugality. Offerings to religious organizations, charities, and philanthropic pursuits help to enrich the lives of others in addition to the giver, especially the anonymous giver.
Benjamin Implicitly Teaches
Budgeting, Giving, and Saving.
Benjamin Explains Why Do These Things;
For the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God. [Mosiah 2:26]
In the scriptures, nothing recorded indicates King Benjamin taught explicitly to his subjects to save and budget; however, the implication exists. In order to provide for a family, these people understood planning has a place in providing properly.
King Benjamin instructed further,
I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath [Mosiah 2:26]
The king understood that a person could not provide things that he or she does not have; so, he clarified for his audience that it must provide things that it has to the poor and needy for a remission of its sins as a part of its covenant—speaking of the individual covenants within the audience between a person and God both modern and ancient.
He even lists the things each covenant person needed to do:
- feeding the hungry
- clothing the naked,
- visiting the sick
Clearly, he taught what constitutes "sick" and what service to provide when visiting them by explaining that the faithful should administer "to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants." [Mosiah 2:26]
Again his budgetary warning to all:
And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. (Mosiah 4:26-27)
Everyone begs before God, Who works tirelessly to provide needs and righteous wants. Benjamin testifies God will help his people, and He expects His people to help others in unity.
Does God care about your finances?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2014 Rodric Anthony Johnson