Summary: If you follow these simple principles of finance, your bills will be paid, your testimony will be protected, your marriage will be enhanced, and your Savior will be honored!
Money, Money, Money ! –Rev. Dr. Edward Job
Matthew 6: 36
“Money isn’t everything in life, but it’s far ahead of whatever is in second place.” That famous quip is wrong; money is not life’s most important ingredient. Nevertheless, the significance of money should not be treated lightly. Some Christians consider it unspiritual to be interested in money; the plain truth, however, is that we cannot live without it and the Lord’s work cannot continue without it. If Christian people used more of their money for evangelistic outreaches, the gospel of Jesus Christ would make a far greater impact on this needy world. For the sake of the gospel, as well as for our own sakes, we need to learn how to manage money.
Our Christian testimony depends in part on the proper management of money. The Christian who does not pay his bills is a poor testimony to the saving power of Christ. The believer whose finances are a fiasco is a poor testimony to the wisdom and guidance of God. The husband and wife who are at war over money are a poor testimony to the love and peace of the Holy Spirit. Money ranks high on every family counselor’s list of problem areas in marriage. Some one has estimated that at least sixty percent of all married couples have had some degree of conflict over money. The Bible never suggests that it is a sin to be rich. On the contrary, some great men of faith have been among the wealthiest people of their day—men like Job, Abraham, David, and Solomon. It is this love for money and the things it can buy that destroys many a marriage. The Bible says that people who determine in their hearts to accumulate wealth create a trap for themselves. (Timothy 6:9)
The problem is basically a matter of heart attitude. We have all met people who lived in the barest of quarters, ate the plainest of food, and wore the simplest of clothing—yet were perfectly happy! Enjoy what God has given you! The sin of covetousness is listed with such other sins as fornication, stealing, and drunkenness. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) If we want God’s fullness of peace in our marriages, we will have to conquer our covetousness. “You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24b) Most money problems can be solved by learning to manage properly the money God has entrusted to us. In addition to telling us what our attitude toward money should be, the Bible presents certain basic principles regarding the administration of our money.
Christ mentioned government first, too: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17, KJV) Even though many of us gripe about paying our taxes, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself sanctioned the government’s right to levy them. The Apostle Paul added this inspired exhortation: “Pay your taxes, too … Pay everyone whatever he ought to have: pay your taxes and import duties gladly, obey those over you, and give honor and respect to all those to whom it is due.” (Romans 13:6, 7, TLB) After our government obligations are met we turn to God’s part. God should get his part before anything else is paid, even if we must sacrifice something we would like to have in order to give Him his part.
Some professing Christians spend more on dog food, tobacco, recreation, or hobbies than they give to the work of the Lord. Christ said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21, KJV) He was establishing the fact that we come to love the things we pour our money into. For example, if we spend every spare penny on our houses, then we will come to love those houses more than we love the Lord, and that is idolatry. If we are living to increase our assets, sinking every possible dollar into stocks and bonds, it will not be long before we will love those pieces of paper more than we love Jesus Christ and His work.
Conversely, if we give sacrificially to the Lord’s work we will grow to love that work. This matter is entirely between you and the Lord. It is hard to imagine that most people in this land of affluence could not give at least that much to the Lord’s work if they planned their budgets wisely. The Lord has a way of making sacrificial stewardship enjoyable for the people who practice it with the proper attitude. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)The second biblical principle for the administration of money is to lay aside a specified amount for savings. This will include, first of all, money to buy the things we believe God wants us to have. It is far better stewardship of the Lord’s money to put it in the bank, where it earns interest, than to buy on time and pay interest. All of our money is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for how we use every penny, not just the amount we give to his work. It is not a sin to buy on time. Before you buy anything on time, however, evaluate the whole situation before God. “Do I really need this now, or will I be a better steward of God’s money by waiting a little while and saving for it?” Our savings might also include long-range investments. Paul mentions parents laying up for their children. (Regular savings, wise investments, and adequate life insurance will be particularly helpful if the Lord should allow the husband to be taken away from his family. A wise steward of God’s money will also be sure to prepare a will. You might also investigate the advantages of remembering the Lord’s work in your will.