Summary: God’s practical wisdom for managing money from Proverbs. Used some of Rick Warren’s material on similary titled sermon.
We continue our series looking at God’s wisdom for making the right choices in our everyday living from the book of Proverbs written by the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon. Not only was he the wisest man, he was also the wealthiest. The Bible says God gave Solomon more riches than any before him or after (2 Chr. 1:12). If anyone knows a thing or two about money, it’s Solomon. And apparently we need help in managing our money, sixty-four percent of all families argue over money (I’m surprised it’s not higher), and fifty-four percent of all divorces are over money. Let’s look at some of the principles God gives us for financial freedom from Proverbs.
1) Plan Your Financial Future
The first principle God gives us is to plan our financial future. Read with me Prov. 21:5:
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Last week we looked at God’s principle of hard work, God expects us to work hard, but the principle of good planning is also a crucial piece. We can be hard workers but if we fail to plan we plan to fail because the income we earn from our hard work is squandered if we don’t have a plan and stick to it. Do you know what we call that plan today? A budget. A budget begins with knowing your financial condition.
a) Know your Financial Condition
Prov 27:23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever,
Remember when this was written people’s assets were not a bank account or an IRA or a pension or social security, the only assets for their future were their flocks and fields. God’s wisdom tells us we need to know our financial condition because it gives us a picture for where we are already at. As Solomon reminds us, riches do not endure forever. If you are not careful in managing your money and having a plan it may evaporate and not be there when you really need it. Begin by answering these questions:
• What do I earn? – How much money do you bring in?
• What do I own? – What are your assets? House, car, investments, pension, anything worth something.
• What do I owe? – These are your loans, student, car, or mortgage.
• Where does it all go? Where am I spending it all? Add up all the bills you have and figure where it’s going.
Today knowing the condition of our flock requires good record keeping. We need to keep track of where we are financially with a ledger or computer or whatever system you come up with. Personally I use a computer program because it keeps all of this information in one place and I can download my statements through the internet and keep up to date. Whether you use a computer or not you should have this recorded in one place and keep track of it. Perhaps you are married and one of you is better at this than the other, give it over to the financially astute one.
b) Plan Your Spending
Once you know where you are at, you need to plan your spending lest it get out of control.
NLT Proverbs 21:20 The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.
We have a huge problem in our country right now. We enjoy spending our money way too much, we are spendaholics. A study found that nine out of ten people interviewed said they have a problem with impulse buying. I see it, I want it, I buy it. Why do you think grocery stores have all that stuff stacked up at the end of the aisles or in the check out line? Because they know we will buy it, after all what’s a candy bar or magazine going to hurt? Perhaps we argue with ourselves, “but it’s on sale.” It might be on sale but you don’t need it in the first place. It’s a running joke in my family that my dad can’t go to the grocery store without finding some great “deal” and instead of buying the two or three of whatever item is on sale he will buy ten or twenty.
“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.”
Errol Flynn, actor (1909 - 1959)
With the availability of credit cards we have an easy way to express our gross habits. If we don’t have the money to pay for it right now, no problem, charge it. However Solomon’s wisdom tells us to plan your spending, have a plan and stick to it because only fools spend more than what they have.
“Never spend your money before you have it.”