What the Bible Says About Money - 4 Financial Principles to Follow
As a Christian, it is important for me to understand what the Bible says about money and finance. I believe that if we handle our finances the way God wants us to, God will bless us in surprisingly many ways. Hopefully this hub will help us understand more about finance management from a Biblical perspective.
What does the Bible say about Money?
Money is not the root of all evil.
Many shortcut the verse written by Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10. It says "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
This verse shows that money per se is not the root of all evil but it is the love of money. Why? Because those who become obsessed with money will do almost anything, even if it goes beyond what is right, just to have it.
Have you seen people steal or even kill just for cash? And in so doing, many people, even Christians, have wandered away from the faith and suffered many griefs. Have you seen those playing in casinos how they suffer great loss and fall into debt just because they played and played thinking that they would win more money?
Money is not our Master.
Matthew 6:24 says "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
In our world today, we need money to buy what we need, for doing business, to pay for services, etc. But then life on earth is just temporary. Therefore, we should always remember that money is not our master. God is our Master. In fact, God is the one who provides us the resources we need and he wants us to be good stewards of it.
So, as God's good stewards how can we best practice good finance management? I've divided the information on this in 4 key areas: Giving, Saving, Spending and Investing.
4 Financial Principles to Follow
Give and you will receive. Now, this is a principle that many have difficulty making a sense of. When a Christian gives his or her tithe and offerings to God, how will that add anything to his/her finances? Isn't that actually subtracting from what you have? No wonder many do not want to give.
Let me quote 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
To say it simply, when a person gives his tithe and offerings, he is sowing into the Kingdom of God. What he will reap is the assurance that God will take care of ALL his needs. See the "all" in the last sentence of the quoted passage above? This is one important principle in the kingdom of God that every Christian should understand.
What the Bible says about tithing and giving?
- Understanding Six Principles of Giving
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Learn from the Ants. I like watching these little creatures. They teach us a good lesson on saving for the rainy days. Proverbs 6:6 says " Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!" and Proverbs 30:25 says "Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer."
We should not only be wise spenders but we should also be wise savers. We should not spend everything that we earn but rather save a part of it. Exercise frugality as much as possible. Think about financial planning and saving for future expenses like the college education of our kids, retirement and emergency expenses like paying for hospitalization or even interment.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. When it comes to spending, godliness with contentment plays a big part. The reason why many people get into trouble with debt and finance management is because of lack of contentment. They are the "what you see is what you buy" type of people. Do you see the problem with this attitude?
1 Timothy 6:6-8 says "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."
What is the guideline when it comes to wise spending. Mine is just simple. If you need it, buy it. If you don't, don't buy it. In the verses above, it mentioned the need for food and clothing. Obviously, in our times now, we need more than that. The point is, we have to distinguish between our NEEDS and our WANTS.
It is a must to spend on our needs. We can also spend on our wants, why not, but we have to set limits to what we could and could not buy. Otherwise, we might fall prey to all sorts of debt.
There is a parable taught by Jesus called the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. There was a man who entrusted his 3 servants with different amounts of talents (A talent then was worth more than a thousand dollars). Two of the servants put the money to work and doubled the initial amount. The last one just dug a hole in the ground and hid the money. Of course, the master commended the first two for a job well done while the last one he called wicked and lazy.
From this parable, we can see that God wants us to use and grow our talents, both our personal abilities and wealth. Let me use the term investment. Investment means using money or any asset for the purpose of gaining profitable returns. Isn't that part of what God wants for his wise stewards? Whatever investment you go into, whether in bank savings, stocks, real estate, etc, just be sure to follow what the Bible says about the related issues mentioned above.
To summarize what the Bible says about proper money management - Don't forget to Give to the Lord; Save for the future emulating the ants; Spend wisely by exercising contentment; and Invest and grow your talents. This is how I simply understand finance from a biblical perspective.