1. The Bible has a lot to say about personal finances.
I have read that there are over 2000 verses in the Bible related to financial matters. However, one needs to read ALL of the Bible to understand what the Bible says and why God said it. To put the 2000 verses into perspective, the Bible has a total of 31,103 verses. Reminds me of that commercial where the dad finishes assembly of the families’ new above ground pool. Then he stands beside his wife ready to enjoy watching the kids splashing in the water. Just as he looks at his wife and says, “I wonder what these nuts are for,” the pool crashes and floods the backyard sending all sorts of water toys and kids on a fun-ending, split-second surf ride into the backyard. The lesson: don’t just read and understand only part of the instructions.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 Bible references which give financial advice. The hoped-for result is to learn some Biblical wisdom AND to stimulate a desire to study the entire Bible.
2. A monthly financial budget is the single most important document your family needs.
“Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?” Proverbs 27:23
No one would argue the importance of documents such as deeds, insurance papers, wills, powers of attorney, birth certificates or marriage licenses. But, without a mutually crafted and agreed upon written budget, those other documents exist in peril.
Yes, we do own a small safe where we keep important documents. I went straight to Wal-Mart several years ago to get one after thinking I had lost a stock certificate leading to an hour of frantically ripping apart closets and drawers throughout the house. The primary value of that safe for me is to prevent scenes like that more than for theft prevention!
But, the budget does not stay in the safe because it is consulted and updated at least weekly unlike those other documents which are rarely needed.
3. Making the first item on your budget your *tithe demonstrates that your relationship with God is the first priority of your life and family.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.” Proverbs 3:9
God does NOT need my money
Writing a check to my local church every week or month reminds me of my dependence upon God
Doing so expresses faith in God as Provider for me and my family, and it is one way to express to what extent I believe Him.
*a tithe is 10% of gross income
4. The husband and the wife need to formulate and agree on the family budget.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him”. Genesis 2:18. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
A budget that is written by one spouse alone and given to the other is an instrument of division. A budget that arises from time set aside for equal input and agreed upon as mutually beneficial is a powerful instrument of cohesiveness.
Formulating a budget together also reveals some formerly hidden traits. Whoever said opposites attract must have been thinking of Connie and me. I mean, come on: a veterinarian and a musician; a guy who loves to sweat and get dirty and a “prissy” lady; an introvert and an extrovert; just to name a few traits. For us, all of that has been a blessing. If it were left up to me, we would probably have the first nickel we earned, whereas Connie would have spent every last cent before it could gather any dust. Together we have not compromised. We are not the sum of two different people. We are much MORE because of mixing our differences, stirring the pot, and agreeing on what the priorities of life are for us.
5. Wives and children need financial security within the family.
“When the hay is removed and new growth appears, and the grass from the hills is gathered in, the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family and to nourish your servant girls.” Proverbs 27: 25-27
Financial security means somebody has worked and produced income and that income is being managed responsibly.
Not long after we moved to Hartselle and opened Pearson Animal Hospital, there was a time when all we had to our name was about $25. I made Connie a promise then which I remember repeating a few times over the next few years. As a matter of fact, she asked me a few times if I still remembered my promise. I had told her not to worry because if it came down to it, I would sack groceries for a living. I meant it; she believed me, and her anxiety subsided. That tells me the amount of income was not as important as the assurance of a commitment from me to somehow provide some income.
6. The best way to teach financial responsibility to children is to teach them the value and privilege of work which produces an honest income.
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” Proverbs 28:19
I admit this one may be more difficult in our culture today than it was a generation or two ago when ours was a much more rural and agricultural economy.
I try to avoid negative statements, but it is hard to ignore the pervasive attitude of entitlement in our culture today. Add to that the open promotion of an undermining notion that anyone who is financially successful must be inherently evil and parents have their work cut out for them, so to speak.
At the same time, all this presents an encouraging opportunity. Have you driven at the speed limit on an interstate highway lately? Did you feel like you were noticed by other motorists? Keep in mind that if you can instill a strong work ethic with honesty and integrity, they will “stick out like a sore thumb” in the workforce and will ultimately be sought after like a 5 star football recruit!
7. It is wise to save and invest part of your income each month.
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has”. Proverbs 21;20
I’m a squirrel, and Connie is a honey bee. I enjoy hiding acorns while she enjoys taking pollen from one flower and releasing it on another one. 🙂
The point is that putting back savings is not easy, let alone enjoyable, for everyone. So, for some people saving money becomes a necessary discipline. Oh boy, she’s gonna love this one!
8. You can have anything you want. You just can’t have everything you want.
“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28
If you need proof of this one, consider the list of athletes and lottery winners who have squandered away incredible amounts of money in a short time ending up in poverty.
A very wise friend shared this one with me, and it is worthy of some thought and consideration because it is applicable to a lot of areas of life beyond spending money.
9.Decisions about priorities for management of family finances which are made mutually and based on Biblical principles seldom require changes.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10
This week Connie and I are once again in our annual sparring match over how much time and expense to invest in Christmas decorations. The Griswalds’ house looked impressive on TV, but dragging out all those lights and stuff wears me out. Not to mention dragging it all back in before the new year.
But, we made the decision to give at least a tenth of our income to God through our local church only once shortly after were married. We have needed to make countless decisions about countless matters through the years, but whether or not to tithe on our income has never come up again.
10. When all is said and done, relationships are the most valuable product which money cannot buy.
. “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” I Timothy 6:10a
Here is why I am grateful that Connie is a honey bee. If not for her, I may never have had the courage to take the first steps to owning a business. I may never have taken a vacation beyond Florida or Tennessee. If not for her, I would never have taken a family vacation to Hawaii with 3 young children. I could go on, but hopefully you get it. And do I wish we had saved and invested those dollars instead? Of course not! How valuable do you think those memories and the resulting relationships are today?
I would be pleased to hear from you. What would you change or add to this list?