Summary: A study on how to be financially faithful in marriage
Foundation Seven: Financial Faithfulness in Marriage
How can couples practice financial faithfulness in marriage? Many Christian couples give their tithe and offering to God but act like the rest is theirs. However, this is an incorrect use of finances. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Crucial to financial faithfulness is recognizing that God is the owner, and we are simply stewards who will one day give an account (cf. Lk 19:15, Matt 25:19-20). When God created the earth, his intention was for humanity to rule over it under his dominion. To use his resources as though they were ours alone will always lead to unfaithfulness. Because of this predominant mindset among married couples, there is a constant misuse of finances, leading to financial stress.
Financial stress is one of the top reasons for marital conflict and divorce. This was never God’s will. It was God’s will for finances to be a source of blessing and a door for his overflowing grace in each marriage (cf. 1 Cor 9:6-11). But to be faithful and reap the blessings of God, couples must understand and follow God’s plan for their finances.
How can couples practice financial faithfulness in marriage?
In Order to Be Financially Faithful, Couples Must Use Their Wealth to Win Souls for Christ
In Luke 16, Christ taught a parable to his disciples about wealth, to help them be faithful with it. We will consider this parable and apply it to married couples. This is what Christ said in Luke 16:1-13:
“There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Christ shared the story of an unjust steward who was misusing the master’s money and, therefore, was going to be fired. Because of this, the steward devised a plan to provide for himself when he lost his job. The steward approached his master’s debtors and gave them a discount, with the hope that they would provide for him when he lost his job. It almost appears as though Christ is praising this steward’s dishonesty, but he is not. He praises his “shrewdness”. This steward realized his future was uncertain and acted prudently to prepare for it.
Christ paralleled this with the Christian’s preparation for eternity. Essentially, he said, in the same way the world seeks to provide for their earthly future (through storing up for retirement, making business connections, etc.), Christians must use worldly wealth to “gain friends” who will welcome them into “eternal dwellings” (v. 9).
What does he mean by eternal dwellings? Obviously, he was referring to heaven. Christ understood that to reach people with the gospel, money is needed. For churches to run and reach people in their neighborhood, it takes money. To send missionaries to other countries with the gospel, it costs money. Ministry work costs money. In fact, the Bible teaches those who “preach the gospel should get their living from the gospel” (1 Cor 9:14), meaning our teachers, pastors, and missionaries should be compensated for their work.