Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Biblical Wisdom for Personal Finance

I find money frustrating, and I always have. With money, comes greed. Yet it is impossible to live in civilized society without money. I spend probably a little too much time thinking about money, trying to make the best use of what we have. I have searched countlessly for advice on the topic of personal finance. Then I though, what better place to look then the Bible? Here is what it says about money: 

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important that they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?"
-Matthew 6: 25-27

Wow! I couldn't think of a more powerful quote. While, it doesn't mention money specifically, it does bring up material possessions. It is so important that we put our trust in God, in everything. This applies to even our finances. God will provide for us, if we trust in Him. This can be so hard for me to do in my own life, because I always want to budget down to the cent. If we find ourselves with an unexpected situation like a flat tire, I find myself worrying the whole rest of the month about money. I need to remind myself that God says not to worry, and trust in Him. He will take care of us!

"Rely not on your wealth; say not: 'I have the power'."- Sirach 5:1

We again are reminded to trust in the Lord, and not in our wealth. Money gives us the illusion of power. But really, we have nothing without God. 

"Barter not a friend for money, nor a dear brother for the hold of Ophir."- Sirach 7:18

This is one of those quotes I wish I would have read long before I came across it. We shouldn't lend our family and friends money! This is hard for some people to hear, but it really is true. Lending family and friends money puts a barrier in between you and the other person. It can cause a lot of harm in your relationship. Now this doesn't mean that you shouldn't help out someone close to you who needs help. But maybe it means that you should help them out, without expecting return payment. 

"One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. A man's riches serve as ransom for his life, but the poor man heeds no rebuke." - Proverbs 13: 7-8

What does this mean? It means we should live within our means. We shouldn't buy a home we can't comfortably afford, we shouldn't max out credit cards to give others the false illusion that we have money. We end up tied to our belongings and they really can't and won't serve us. On the flip side, if we have been blessed with wealth, we shouldn't flaunt it. It might be tempting to spend it all on really nice things, but we are told not to. We will find a much greater wealth in giving to others and finding joy in people and Christ, rather than stuff. 

"Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts."- James 5:4

We should be generous with the money we do have! If we go out to eat and the waiter serves us well, we should tip them well. If we have a hard working babysitter that lovingly watches our children, we should pay them well. If we are in a position of management we should pay our employees well. 

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in your own life about personal finance?

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