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