Money is a strong theme in the Bible. Over 2000 verses about money give a sometimes confusing picture. See how your money management agrees or disagrees with these strategies.
Manage Your Money to Reduce Stress
Pay savings like a bill. It is a habit. Just like exercise, it is a discipline. If you have a steady paycheck (yea!), direct deposit, plus an automated draft into your savings makes saving simple. Dollars jump right over to your savings account. $5, $10, $20 a paycheck starts this habit of faithfulness.
Proverbs chapter 30 says the following:
vs. 24–Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
vs. 25– Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
As God’s stewards of many types of gifts, health, homes, children, and money we are expected to act wisely.
The story of Pharaoh’s dream Genesis 41 results in Joseph saving up grain so that all Egypt and Israel were spared during 7 years of famine.
Investing For the Future a Form of Obedience to God
Lest you think Jesus did not agree with saving and investing reread the parable below.
Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Now, this does get confusing when Jesus also says to leave everything and follow him to many of his disciples. Management is part of the disciples’ lives too. After the miracle of the bread and fish, Jesus asks the disciples to collect the leftovers. Temple taxes get paid and Judas is the treasurer of the group.
The question is not, will you manage the provisions God has given you, but rather will you serve those provisions over God Himself?
Manage Your Money As An Example
Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
Little eyes and ears are always watching. What do married couples argue over most–money?
What we do not say sets an example louder than what we do say. Leaving a legacy of poor financial management is far from what parents want for their children.
Talk about money, teach about money, but most of all exhibit excellent habits around money.
Do you really want your 30-year-old hitting you up for rent?
Ecclesiastes 5:10 10 The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile.
Displaying to a child that it is God who makes the provisions for the household is also important. A young person who becomes a collector of money, whether a spender or a saver, will never find happiness in money alone.
Building wealth to build wealth does not satisfy the soul.
Thoughtful Money Management Creates Discipline
Purposefully go out to the mall, the supermarket or wherever you shop and leave your wallet at home. Fast from spending on anything for a week. How long can you eat from all the items in your fridge? Take your bike to save gas money? Make your own creative coffee drink or London Fog Tea Steamer. What can you live without for a day, a week or a year?
Not buying takes practice.
Take it down to the minimum just to see how little it really takes to live. If you are frustrated or angry after this exercise, pray.
What is it that is triggered if you do not have money for a coffee, gas, clothing. Is it entitlement ( I work hard so…) or is it fear (I won’t be able too…) or addiction ( I feel better if I can buy…).
Release the Fear of Not Enough Money
Doing the above exercise helps you detach from items or services you think you “need”.
Fears are often centered on the false reality appearing real. Your bank accounts are O.K., you do have a job, you have housing, you have food in your pantry, why are you still afraid.
What if there is not enough? What if something unexpected happens? What if I lose my job, house, spouse? One of the reasons for the “what if fear of not enough money” is that you feel inadequate.
Does not enough money mean you are not enough?
Are you defined by the number you make and the numbers you bring into the bank?
As a family who lived through several times of actual family crisis, where food on the table became a true issue, I can tell you; it is not about the money.
It is about faith, courage, and strength to develop habits and mindsets that will bring you and your family through the hard times.
Luke 12:27– “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 28 If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith? 29 Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious.
This verse is set among many others that Jesus gave to explain to us just how precious each human being is to him. In lean times or in fat times it does us no good to be fearful or anxious. What does help is to count our blessings and pray.
What You Don’t Know Can Harm You
While we are not to worry about money we are to be good money managers. The verses from Mathew above attest to how we are to manage. Knowing where your money is, what it is doing, and how you are making and spending your money is important.
In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, the Rich Man is begging Abraham to send Lazarus back to his bothers to explain how they need to change their lives so as not to end up in eternal torment.
Abraham says no, they have all the tools they need to manage their affairs and their money already.
Luke 16:27 “‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 because I have five brothers—to warn them, so they won’t also come to this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”
Just as Jesus was fond of saying those “who have ears to hear, listen”. Money management is biblical. Money management is part of our responsibilities.
There is no lack of courses, spreadsheets, and mentors to help us manage our money smartly and biblically. Why wait?
Last Thoughts on Money Management
Mathew 25 shares God’s thoughts on giving. No money management plan is complete without giving. No matter how little or how much God is always giving to us. As reflections of the Divine, we are expected to give to others.
:42 For I was hungry
and you gave Me nothing to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger
and you didn’t take Me in;
I was naked
and you didn’t clothe Me,
sick and in prison
and you didn’t take care of Me.’
44 “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’
45 “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’
Harsh words in the land of plenty. As Christians figuring out how and where to give is complicated. Even how much is not completely clear.
A recent book, God and Money by John Cortines and Gregory Baumer addresses this issue for today’s tech-driven fast-paced world. Two Christian businessmen ( John and Greg) meet at Harvard Business School while prosing an MBA to improve their already stellar careers in Finance and Engineering.
Taking a course on God and Money at Harvard Divinity School changes all their well thought out plans. To get a taste of their lives and work in the area of God and money listen to this thoughtful podcast from The Bible Project.
It will rock your world! By using the link you support the work of this blog at no cost to you.