God gives us nine principles of money management that He intends for us to apply. If we will commit ourselves to these principles we will eventually enjoy financial freedom and financial joy. Some deal with attitudes, while others address our actions.
Entrusting: The money you have is not yours
This deals with the idea of stewardship. A steward is someone entrusted with another’s wealth or property and charged with the responsibility of managing it in the owner’s best interest. A manager is not the owner, he only manages what has been given to him. As a steward (manager) you are responsible for the treasure God has given you. God has given you money, possessions and material goods. It is your responsibility to manage it for God’s best interest (Matthew 25:14-30). As a manager of God’s money entrusted to you, you want to apply God’s principles of money management as described below.
Accounting: Keep good records of your money
God wants you to keep good records of the money He has entrusted you with. Proverbs 27:23 says, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever” (NIV 84). In the Bible people didn’t use money the way we use money today. Often they would trade livestock for whatever they needed. Their money didn’t come in the form of dollar bills, checks, or cards. Their money was in the form of flocks and herds. God tells us to know the condition of our money and to give careful attention to our finances. We are being told to know whether our money is healthy or sick, if we are doing well with it or poorly with it. This is keeping good records of your herd of money, whether it’s a larger herd or small herd. The way you know the “condition” of your money is to keep good records of your money by applying the principles of accounting.
Budgeting: Have a plan for your money
God wants us to have a plan for the money He has entrusted with us. God’s Word teaches that the wise person plans ahead, the foolish person simply lives for today. As followers of Jesus we are told to plan how we are going to spend or invest God’s money. Proverbs 24:3-4, “Any enterprise [including your finances] is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts” (LB). Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (NIV 84). Having a plan for your money is called a budget. A budget is telling your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went. Every believer needs to develop a God driven plan for the money they have.
Tithing: Give 10% back to God
God wants us to give 10% of the money He has given us back to Him. The word “tithe” is an Old Testament word meaning 10% and in the Old Testament you find the amount, but in the New Testament you find the attitude behind the tithe: an attitude of joy and generosity. The New Testament does not get rid of the tithe, it just explains the attitude that should be behind it. Deuteronomy 14:23, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (LB; see also Proverbs 3:9). Tithing is a demonstration that God is number one in your life. 2 Corinthians 9:7, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (NLT).
Sharing: Be generous with your money
God wants us to be generous with the money He has given me. God tells us to share with others who have a need. Proverbs 11:24-25, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (NLT). Sharing with those in need is more than charity; it’s smart financial management. You are not throwing money away when you bless someone who has a legitimate need. The Bile sees it as an investment. Proverbs 19:17, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and He will repay you!” (NLT). When you give to someone in need, God says He accepts that as if it were an actual loan to Himself. That’s amazing.
Saving: Set aside money for the future
God wants us to set aside money for the future. God knows the value of conserving money for a rainy day or a later day. Proverbs 21:20, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (LB; see also Prov. 30:24-25). People who save money are wise. Putting a little money back out of each paycheck is smart in God’s eyes. You need to have a savings account, whether it’s in a bank or a piggy bank.
Contentment: Be satisfied with the money you have
God wants us to be satisfied with the money He has entrusted to us. Proverb 15:16, “Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil” (NLT). In other words, it’s better to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a happy home, than to eat steak and shrimp and be at each other’s throat because you can’t afford it. Hebrews 13:5, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have” (NLT; see also 1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Enjoyment: Take pleasure in the money you have
God wants us to enjoy the finances He has entrusted us with. He wants us to enjoy the benefits of managing His money. Ecclesiastes 6:9, “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless – like chasing the wind” (NLT). Appreciate the house, car, and salary you have rather than getting caught up in ungratefulness or greed. Find a way to enjoy what you have. Ecclesiastes 5:19, “It is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God” (NLT).
Patience: Financial freedom doesn’t come overnight
God wants us to be patient with our finances. Proverbs 21:5, “If you plan and work hard, you will have plenty; if you get in a hurry, you will end up poor” (CEV). If you are in debt and trying to get out of debt or if you are trying to get ahead don’t expect it to happen overnight. You cannot get in a hurry when it comes to financial freedom. It’s day by day, week by week, check by check, and year by year. Its saying “no” to what you don’t need over and over. It’s saying “yes” to God’s way of money management over and over. The Bible says if “you plan and work hard” eventually “you will have plenty.”