Money-Wise: Principles of Financial Management from Proverbs (Pt.1)
Using the Bible to Justify War

Money-Wise: Principles of Financial Management from Proverbs (Pt.2)

Money Here are three more principles ...

4.      Say “No” to Debt.

Proverbs has much to say about avoiding debt. Debt puts a person in bondage and enslaves a person to their creditor (Prov.22:7). Advertising endeavours to make people unhappy with what they have now so that they buy something new or better. This often leads to impulse buying or the purchase of things that are not really needed. Society encourages people to go into debt and tries to make it as easy as possible. Debt can put a person under great pressure as a person which can destroys their peace and their joy. All debt is to be frowned upon except debt for an appreciating asset (such as a mortgage for a home or a start up loan for a good business opportunity). A person is in trouble when they’re spending more money than they are earning. Getting out of debt may require obtaining financial advice, forming a budget, and making some lifestyle changes.

 

5.      Say “Yes” to Savings.

Wisdom says to prepare for the future by establishing a savings and investment plan (Prov.21:10). Only a fool spends all that they have earned. Saving is making provision for tomorrow and is a mark of wisdom. Savings can create freedom, reduce pressure, increase joy, be a powerful witness and enable giving. Becoming a saver requires making a decision to do so, creating a savings plan and then having the discipline to save consistently. Wisdom advises being a steady plodder when it comes to investing (Prov.21:5). If a person spends less than they earn, then saves and invests the difference over a long period of time then their wealth will grow. Consistency over the long haul is they key not just quick bursts of enthusiasm. Financial growth takes time and continued effort. If a person is faithful with what they have now, God promises to give them more.

 

6.      Be a Generous Giver.

Wisdom teaches the importance of being a generous giver both to God’s work and to people in need (Prov.3:9-10). Generous giving is the key to further financial blessing not the result of it (Prov.11:24-25; 22:9). Wisdom teaches a person not to wait until they have a lot of money to start giving, but to give now of what they already have. Wisdom also teaches that it is right and proper to give to the poor and the needy (Prov.14:21; 19:17; 21:13; 28:27; 29:7; 31:20).

 

These financial principles are very much interrelated. When a person is in debt and has no savings, they miss giving opportunities. When they are moved with compassion to help needy people, they are not able to do it. The Good Samaritan had resources to help a needy person (Lk.10:25-37). Applause should be given not just to his compassion but also to his financial management, which caused him to have discretionary funds to meet the need at hand and more.

 

God wants his people to have money, but he doesn’t want money to have them. Riches can be a threat to a person’s relationship with God. Money is not the problem. It is the attitude towards it. Money is essential for survival and the expansion of God’s kingdom. God is very interested in money matters. It’s important to Him. He wants to bless individuals and his church too. It depends on a person’s motives, priorities and values.

Reflection Questions

  1. Reflect on society’s general view of wealth and poverty.
  2. What do you think are some common stereotypes about ‘rich’ people and ‘poor’ people?
  3. What lessons have you learned about money – through the advice of others or through your life experience? What have been your successes and failures?
  4. Hard work can be a means to generate wealth. When does work become obsessive?
  5. In a culture that encourages debt, how can we avoid debt becoming destructive?
  6. What have you learned about investing? What are some good and bad investments?
  7. What is your experience with giving and generosity? What have you discovered?
  8. How can we help the ‘poor’ more effectively?

Comments

Thank you Mark for all your wise advise and the research you gleaned from Proverbs. It's been really helpful and encouraging.

The Bible says that the rich can actually rob the poor. It says here in Prov. 3:27, "Do not withhold good from one to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." Rabbi Samson Rapheal Hirsch points out that the word commonly used for charity "TZEDAKAH" really does not mean giving alms. It's derived from the word "TZEDEK" meaning "JUSTICE." When people give "TZEDAKAH" they may feel that they are making a sacrifice by giving to another person from their own money. They may even resent the recipient taking away their assets. The BIBLE, Torah, God's Word, however, tells us that this attitude is wrong: "Do not give with a bad heart." - Deut. 15:10 ACTUALLY, what we give to the poor is RIGHTFULLY theirs, and the person of means is really only the TRUSTEE of the poor man's property. The BIBLE says: "Do not rob the poor." - Proverbs 22:22... What do poor people own that one can rob from them? This verse refers to withholding "TZEDAKAH", because when people do so, they keep for themselves what rightfully belongs to the poor. People who receive "TZEDAKAK" should NOT feel humiliated, and people who give "TZEDAKAH" should NOT feel superior. It is simply an act of "TSEDEK", justly distributing what rightfully belongs to each person.

Point number 4 (Say no to debt) is very true. My wife and I paid off all our loans and mortgage nearly two years ago. No debt really frees you to live and serve God. We are now free to give more to the Lord's work in a more spontaneous way because we are debt free and weighed down by it. We really were enslaved to it. We didn't realise how much until it was gone!

Interesting. I have a largish mortgage (average by today's standrds though) over my house - and have been serioulsy thinking about different ways of living.

Mark do you have MP3's of these teachings?

1-2. The most common stereotype of rich - something so broad and probably so often true that one wouldn't think of it - is someone who earns a lot and spends a lot. Why is earning high often so often accompanied by spending high? Certainly you can't earn low and spend high over the long term. But there's no rule that says if you earn lots you have to live the high life.

I think a simple deconstruction of this idea of "rich" is one of the great needs of the Church in our time. Earning high is good (if we don't neglect God's ways to do so) but spending high on ourselves isn't.

In the world, when you earn money, it belongs to you and your family. But in Christ, we're part of a bigger family - one which includes those in working in all kinds of gospel minstry who need support, a family that includes people in all kinds of poverty.

3. Money can be thought of just as numbers representing labour on one side and goods and services on the other. On the labour, we do well to work hard, whether for a job that earns money, or in kingdom work, or looking after our family, or whatever we do. If we're idle, look for something good to do. On the other side, there are some goods and services we need, and some we want - we need to learn the difference. It shouldn't require a big mortgage to make us know the difference.

4. Don't ask me on that one, I'm as slack as they come!

5. Biggest way to avoid debt becoming destructive is not to borrow much. Best way not to borrow much is to spend low in life. In particular, housing is where a lot of people spend lots - we need to be less fussy or more creative.

6. My bad investment was paying off half of my HECS debt, which because of increasing thresholds I never would have had to pay off! Also, one biblical investment principle is to trade in worldly wealth for what lasts.

7. My experience with generosity is that it's easy if you deconstruct it! If Earnings = Spendings + Net Savings + Givings, then that means you can see any part of the equation as a function of anything else. Commit all parts of the equation to God.

A single FT-working young adult can spend under a third of their earnings, save a third and give a third away. Easily. I admit this is maybe the easiest time of life, but it's these ppl that need to learn this the most.

8. Huge question. Some need things that can be bought, some need a better govt in their country, some need to learn stuff, and all of us need God's mercy. Start with the understanding that Christians in every part of the world are our family...

Sorry for the length, but this is a biggie in my worldview. It irks me when brothers spend big $$$ on holiday travel and talk about God blessing them, forgetting that the utter transferability of money means that they've just missed an opportunity.

Thanks for everyone's comments.

Hey Lionfish. Should be on our free podcast within a few weeks.

Thanks Mark. I am glad it will be free as I'm now trying to save more! :-)

Excellent info Mark,

I think it is interesting to note that some of the Ten commandments deal with our heart attitudes to things...

thou shalt not steal,
thou shall not covet.... ( want something of someone else's..) debt makes what we covet available....

here's another thought, I may covet my 'rich' neighbours wealth or property....yet if a political party promises to 'take'(tax) some of his wealth and give it to me (redistribute - social justice..)... is that theft....am I making the Government to be God? think about it..... covetesness and institutional 'theft'

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