An Interview with Rick Warren
Money-Wise: Principles of Financial Management from Proverbs (Pt.2)

Money-Wise: Principles of Financial Management from Proverbs (Pt.1)

Money The book of Proverbs contains some excellent wisdom for managing your finances.

 

Proverbs are not absolute rules for life but rather they are general principles that usually lead to a blessed and happy life. Here are six principles that I gleaned from my reading ...

 

 

1.      Live a Righteous Life.

Wisdom teaches that God watches over those who are righteous and who walk before him in integrity (Prov.13:25; 22:4; 10:22). This does not mean that the righteous will never experience poverty, adversity or suffering (e.g. Job). Life may appear to be unfair at times, especially when righteous people are poor and suffering while ungodly people are rich and blessed. However, in the long run, the righteous will be blessed and the ungodly will be punished. Character lasts forever while wealth is transient and there is coming a day of judgment where all wrongs will be righted (Prov.11:4; 13:22; 23:4-5). There are many more important things than wealth, such as wisdom, knowledge, honour, a good name, and the fear of the Lord (Prov.3:13-16; 8:10-11, 18-21; 16:16-17; 22:1-2). Even a little with these things is better than wealth without them (Prov.15:16-17; 16:8; 17:1; 19:1, 22; 28:6). Unfortunately, our contemporary culture often sees being well off financially as more important than living a godly life. Success is determined more by what a person has than who they are. Many people assess their self-worth by their net-worth. Today’s heroes are often the rich and famous. However, as Jesus once said, “… one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Lk.12:15). Wealth and possessions are only temporal (Prov.11:28).

 

2.      Work Diligently.

Proverbs praises diligent hard. Hard work leads to God’s blessing. Diligence brings wealth and profit, as well as personal satisfaction and promotion (Prov.10:4; 13:4; 14:23). Proverbs also condemns and ridicules laziness. Slothfulness frequently results in poverty and scarcity, slavery and bondage, and it never satisfies. Proverbs rebukes the lazy person, often referred to as the “lazybones” (Prov.6:6-11; 20:4; 21:25-26; 24:30-34; 26:14). From the beginning, human work is the God-ordained means by which a person can generate the income necessary to live their life (see Gen. 2:5, 15; Ex.20:9-11). God has given each individual person skills and abilities so that they can use them to serve others in exchange for income (Deut.8:17-18). Christians today should work diligently as unto the Lord, doing their very best to the glory of God (Col.3:23-24). They should develop their skills and abilities, taking responsibility for their own growth and development so that they maximise their God-given potential. Work done well and with a good attitude is rewarded and often leads to promotion (Prov.22:19). When a believer excels in their work, God is honoured. However, work holism and striving to be rich should be avoided (see Prov.23:4-5).

 

3.      Avoid Trying to Get Rich Quickly.

Wisdom teaches avoidance of the pursuit of any activity that promises quick riches (Prov.12:11; 28:20-22; 20:21; 13:11). Wisdom seeks to help a person grow in maturity as their income increases. People who want something for nothing don’t always develop the character necessary to handle it wisely. This can be observed by considering what happens to a person after they win a lot of money through gambling.  Usually within a few years, they are back to where they were before. Getting rich quickly seems to be diametrically opposed to God’s financial plan as he connects the acquisition of money to hard work. As they work diligently, their income grows and they can handle it because they’re growing in character and maturity. There are a plethora of schemes today that promise a quick dollar, yet often result in disappointment and financial loss. Believers would do well to exercise wisdom and caution in all their financial dealings and seek to generate income through hard work and wise investments not through get rich quick pursuits.

 

More tomorrow ...

Comments

Hi Pastor Mark, Im a frequent visitor of your blog site because I find your subject matter helpful as a Christian and as one of the pastor of Victor U-Belt.
Anyway, as I was scrolling down on your past blogs, I was able to read your Money Wise topic. And I remembered my recent discussion with my co-pastor at U-belt as we talked about tithing and its relevance in our time.
I regularly exhort people in the time if giving during our Sunday services.
But as we discuss things regarding this matter, there had been some questions we've been getting from some church goers regarding the relevance of tithing.
Some more inquisitive people say that tithes was never really found in the New Testament so that its relevance was also in question.
some of the people who emailed this co-pastor of mine also said that tithing has no solid Scriptural evidence from the New Testament standpoint so why exhort during Sunday services?
As I checked on the New testament, I found the word generosity more, particuarly as the Apostle Paul used it in 2 Corinthians.
Anyway, Pastor Mark, does Citylife Church include tithes and offering in your regular Sunday service program? If yes, how do you or your co-pastors there exhort the people in giving?
If not, how do you teach tithing to people so that they give?

thank you very much for the time. :)

-Pastor Richard

Hi Richard.

Good to hear from you.

No doubt the New Testament emphasis is on 'generous giving' rather than a set percentage, such as the 'tithe'. In fact, the Israelites paid around 23% of their income in various tithes to run the nation at that time.

We take a voluntary offering up at each weekend church meeting and simply teach people to give generously based on God's blessing on them and based on faith that God will provide all their needs. We do encourage the 'principle of tithing', or giving 10%, but not as an obligation that if people don't meet they are under a curse.

Hope this helps.

Hi Pastor Mark, appreciate your response. this would surely help.
Anyway, Pastor Mark, I'd like to ask a few more questions if it's okay with you.
Since becoming a Christian in 1992 (back when I was still a senior high school student), I was taught that any income or blessing I receive financially, I ought to take off 10 percent from it as my tithe.
I've been doing that since, and I have no problem with that. I was just thinking how could I better explain it to some church members who are a bit confused with tithing (and its relevance today) as well as the offering.
-Personally, do you take off 10 percent of every income you make?
-And another, what's your comment on this statement I once heard from a pastor: "how do you want God to bless you, from the gross or from the net?"

Pastor Mark, thank you very much for the time.

Pastor Mark,
Just remember the other question that I had in mind,
You mentioned in your first response to my query that you encourage tithe but not as obligation, that they won't be cursed if they failed to give. Now my question is, how about what Malachi 3:10 that says, that if you don't give the tithe, "you are robbing God".
Now if people are just encouraged to give (and not as an obligation), what if they don't give the whole tithe, can we say they are not robbing God?

(I do understand that Malachi's context is different from our time. People during Malachi's time offered blind or lame animals to the Lord as offering. And they fail to give their tithes but instead, prioritized their own needs.)

thanks again :)

Hi Richard. I am currently doing a thorough study on 'tithing' and will blog on some of my results in due time.

In the Old Testament era, God's people paid a number of tithes (totalling around 23% of their income) to provide resources to run the theocratic nation of Israel. In the New Testament period, the emphasis is on 'generous giving'.

Personally, I have always tithed 10% of my gross income and given offerings above that. That's what we encourage the people in our church to do. In fact, our church members make a commitment to that.

The Malachi text is important. The principle is that if we don't honour and put God first, we will miss out on his blessing on our lives. However, we are under a different dispensation now. I don't like it when pastors say things such as, "Some of you are sick today and it's because you haven't been tithing." Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of the law. In the NT, we should give because we 'want to' and out of love, not because we 'have to' and out of fear.

As I said, I'll post some more comments in due time on this topic. If you do a Google search, there are quite a few web sites and books with more extensive teaching both for and against 'tithing'.

Thanks Richard!

Great. Thanks.

Hi Mark,

I stopped tithing for about a year - I guess it was since I started having serious concerns about the prosperity gospel. I think I just tied all the teaching in together and threw the baby with the bathwater. I felt like I was treating God as a genie in a bottle. I resolved that it wasn't about the percentage it was about the heart. But then I gave nothing at all. Oh the irony, not giving money away because I didn't believe in having a prosperous lifestyle!

But then my pastor said something. I'm paraphrasing but she basically said, "there's a lot of people who don't believe in tithing and will say that it's not about a percentage but what does it say about you if you can't even give 10%." Well it pretty much says that I'm a hypocrit... and I'm greedy and I'll do anything to justify not giving money because I LOVE money.

So now I tithe, because;

1) God is my provider and he gives me everything I need
2) If I can't even give 10% then must really be attached to my money
3) I really believe in what my church is doing and I know that they need the financial support

Someone once said; "when you give to give, you get. When you give to get, you don't get." So previously when I was tithing I was giving to get. Now when I tithe I give to give. And if God chooses to bless me abundantly then go Him.

The reality was that I was tired and disorganized most of the time. I didn’t have a structured discipline strategy. I ‘lost it” more often than I’d like to admit, and I could barely get through the piles of laundry, let alone take that weekly trip to the library. Instead it was a monthlasfdy library trip, mostly to lug back the ambitious bag of unread, overdue books.

Hi Reverend Mark ! This is an really informing post and very much applicable to today's society and economic scenario. Appreciate this very much and thank God for you for this really blessed me in my knowledge of finance.

God bless !

Thanks for your encouragement, Ben!

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