At some point in every marriage there is tension over the finances of the home. In this lesson you will be introduced to what God’s Word teaches on money and managing it in such a way that it brings honor to Him. These are Biblical principles of money management.
We are in the middle of a series of lessons on Home: Never Stop Improving. God created marriage and designed it to work a certain way. Today, we are going to take a look at improving family finances. At some point in every marriage there is tension over the finances of the home. Today I want to give you God’s Word on money and managing it in such a way that it brings honor to Him. These are Biblical principles of money management.
Before we get into this let me give two observations about money.
- Money management is spiritual warfare. The Prince of Darkness often uses our love for money and our greed to further his kingdom and agenda. Listen to 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil [spiritual warfare language]. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (NIV 84). Satan does not want you to obey God and receive any blessing from applying Biblical principles of money management. He does not want you to work for money, nor have a budget, nor save your money. He doesn’t want you giving to God, giving to others, and being a financial blessing to others. He wants you to be selfish and greedy. Money management is spiritual warfare. He will do everything he can to get you to love and focus on money so much that you are either driven by materialism, greed, or fear of the future. Satan will use money and things any way he can to distract you from walking by faith and trusting God. He does this to individuals and churches all the time. Money management is spiritual warfare.
- Money management reveals which kingdom you serve. Our use of money and possessions is a decisive statement of our eternal values. What we do with our money loudly affirms which kingdom we belong to. Whenever we give our resources to further God’s kingdom, we cast a ballot for Jesus and against Satan, for heaven and against hell. Whenever we use our resources selfishly and indifferently we further Satan’s goals.
Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one 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” (NIV 84). Your money management will indicate and reflect what master you serve. It always has and it always will.
The Expectations of Money
Let’s begin with the expectations of money. What do we hope money will bring?
We hope having more will bring satisfaction
First, we hope having more will bring satisfaction. All the advertisements tell us that. If you have more, you are going to be more happy. The American dream should be changed to “Life, Liberty and the Purchase of Happiness.” The problem is your yearning will always exceed your earning. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (NIV 84). Until you become content with what you have the desire to acquire just keeps growing with the hopes that you will be satisfied with what you have.
We hope having more will bring more significance
Second, we hope having more will bring more significance. We think, “If I have more then I’ll be more important. I’ll be more respected. I’ll be more powerful. I’ll be more admired. I may even be more popular. I can afford all those things that make me feel important and all those things I believe prove I’m important. I can buy the car, buy the clothes, and buy the house that says I’m significant and that I’ve made it in life.” Some people think, “If I can get the right job and have enough money then my family will respect me more, the church will respect me and listen to me more, and I’ll have greater influence.”
Yet, Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (NIV 84). Your net-worth is not the same as your self-worth. You should never confuse your value with your valuables. How much or how little you own has nothing to do with your personal importance.
We hope having more will bring security
Third, we hope having more will bring more security. How much money do you need to feel secure? Does your security come from your gold or from your God? You can lose your money in a million different ways. If you’re going to have security, you’ve got to put your security in something that can’t be taken from you. You may feel more secure when you have more, but it is a false security. Proverbs 23:4-5 tells us, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (NIV 84). By the way, have you ever notice that on every dollar bill is an eagle with wings? Let that remind you that your money can fly away and be gone very quickly.
The devil and his kingdom are trying to convince you that money and things will bring satisfaction, significance, and security. It may feel like it at first, but it is only a temporary satisfaction, an empty significance, and a false sense of security. Real satisfaction, true significance, and genuine security can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Acquiring of Money
Real joy is found in a deep relationship with Jesus, but God has a lot to say about our relationship with money because it can become a distraction. He knows it’s important in our world. He knows we have to have some of it in order to provide for our family, minister and bless others. So how can we gain the finances to meet some of our needs in life? Well, God gives us at least five ways we can gain money and possessions honestly. Whether you end up with a little money or a lot of money. Here is how God wants you to do it.
We gain money by working
First, God wants you to gain money by working. Only governments and counterfeiters make money. The rest of us have to earn it. Work is the God-ordained means for contributing to society, finding fulfillment, and meeting material needs so we can provide for our families. Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (NIV 84). God’s Word says if you will work hard you will make a profit. It may not be a job you like, but it is the job that God provided.
Then in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 we are told, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (NIV 84). When you work hard not only do you earn a way to provide for your needs, but you also gain the respect of those around you. Don’t be one of those Christians who is lazy and munches off of others.
We gain money by saving
Second, God wants you to gain money by saving. Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Don’t spend all you get. Save some of it. Put some in the bank. The Bible says he who saves money is wise, but he who doesn’t save money is a fool. People who put a little money back out of each pay check is smart in God’s eyes. You need to have a savings account, whether it’s in a bank or a piggy bank.
Proverbs 13:11 says, “He who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (NIV 84). Whether you are a child with a piggy bank or an adult with a big bank try to save some money. Saving money is Biblical. You can save money for emergencies or a special event.
I can already hear someone saying, “But I just don’t have any money to save.” When Pam and I first got married and we lived below the income poverty line I saved $2 out of every paycheck. Why did I do that? Because God says a wise person saves. Whether he saves $2, $20, $200, or $2000 from each pay check he is wise. Save something. Put something back.
We gain money by planning
Third, God wants you to gain money by planning. Planning means having a budget and keeping good records. Having a budget and plan for your finances helps keep your money from just wandering off and then wandering where it went. Your budget may be very sophisticated or it may not, but you need to have some kind of system regarding paying your bills and saving. Whether you use a computer system or an envelope system you need to plan your use of money. 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, and a crown is not secure for all generations” (NIV 84). In the Old Testament 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 or check or cards. Their money was in the form of flocks and herds. Look at Proverbs 27:23 again, “Be sure you know the condition of your [money], give careful attention to your herds [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. We are to give careful attention to our finances. We are to know where every dollar is going. This is keeping good records of your flock of money, whether it’s a large flock or a small flock.
Don’t be one of those people who say, “I just know where my money goes.” Know where your money is spent. Proverbs 24:3 says, “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts” (LB). “Keeping abreast of the facts” is keeping records and applying the Biblical principles of money management.
We gain money by investing
Fourth, God wants you to gain money by investing. In Matthew 25:27 an owner who had entrusted one of his servants with some of his money to manage while he was gone told him when he came back, “You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (NIV 84). Place your money where it can at least draw some interest. God wants us to make wise investments with our money, not wildcat investments or high-risks gambles. One way to gain money is through investing.
We gain money by receiving
Fifth, you gain money by receiving. God allows you to gain wealth by the giving of others. God allows you to receive from others.
Paul received financial gifts to meet his need (Phil. 4:10-18) and many of us have been the beneficiary of such gifts. Also, in the Old Testament we find people gaining wealth through the gift of an inheritance.
The successful steward understands that God’s way for him to gain wealth is through the gifts of others, investments, planning, saving and working. It is not by stealing, embezzling, lying or cheating.
The Distribution of Money
As you are gaining money through these various ways, once you have it what do you do with it? We have the responsibility to distribute Gods money God’s way. God tells us at least five ways we are to distribute His money.
We are to give a portion of our money to God
Number one, you are to give a portion of your money to God. The first part we should give to God. It is returned to Him as a tithe in recognition that He owns all that we have. Remember, we are merely stewards or managers of the finances God has blessed us with. All the money you have does not actually belong to you. God owns it all. Therefore we are told in Proverbs 3:9, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (NIV 84). God says, “Honor me with the first part of your finances. Don’t give me the leftovers.” The idea here is to put God first in your finances and He will bless the rest.
In the Old Testament we are told the amount to give. It is called a tithe which means 10%. In the New Testament we are told the attitude in which to give it. We are to give cheerfully. Old Testament gives us the amount, New Testament gives us the attitude. One of the reasons for tithing is to demonstrate that God is first in your life. Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (LB). When you tithe you are saying, “God, you are more important than a bigger house, nicer car, eating out, or whatever else I could do with that 10%.”
We are to give a portion of our money to the government
Number two, you are to give a portion of your money to the government. Jesus said in Matthew 22:21, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (NIV 84). Give to the government what is the governments and what they require and give to God what belongs to Him. “Caesar” refers to the government. So, pay your taxes and pay your tithes.
So the question is, “Are you paying your taxes?” If not, then you need to make it right. It is your responsibility as a Christian to pay your taxes.
The portion available after tithe and taxes is called net spendable income, which includes the next three areas we are to give a portion of our money toward.
We are to give a portion of our money to family needs
Third, you are to give a portion of your money to family needs. We have the responsibility to make sure our families are taken care of and have what they need. We are told in 1 Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (NIV 84). If you don’t help provide for your children or your parents the Bible says you are denying the faith, in other words you are living like you don’t believe what the Bible says or that God can meet your needs. You need to make sure your family has food to eat, shelter over their heads and clothes to wear and the other things necessary for life. Make sure their needs are met and provided for.
We are to give a portion of our money to debts
Number four, you are to give a portion of your money to debts. Make sure you pay those you owe. We are to pay our bills and pay them on time. This is paying off the house note, the car note, and the college loans on time. This is paying your utilities on time. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously” (NIV 84). You and I borrow electricity for our house until we have paid for it. You and I borrow the doctor’s time and expertise until we pay for it. But the “wicked borrow and do not repay.” Make sure you are paying your bills on time and don’t run up any bills you cannot pay.
If you have gotten yourself in a financial mess and you cannot pay your bills and debts, don’t ignore those whom you owe, but call them and ask if you can spread the payments out or some other arrangement. Most will work with you. Whatever you do, repay those whom you owe. Stay on top of your payments.
We are to give a portion of our money to personal ministry
Number five, you are to give a portion of your money to personal ministry. This is the surplus. This is the money that is left over. This is after tithe, taxes, family needs, savings, and bills. The creation of a surplus should be a major goal for the follower of Jesus. It is the surplus that allows you to respond to the needs of others. It is out of the surplus you are able to bless those around you. Look at 2 Corinthians 8:14, “Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it” (NLT).
What a wonderful feeling it is knowing that you have built up a surplus to help others when they need help or assistance. When you have built up a surplus you are able to help in many ways:
- Pay for a student to go on a life changing mission trip
- Give to International Missions
- Help your church purchase something that is needed for ministry
- Help pay for repairs for an elderly lady’s home
- Repair the car for a single parent
- Help pay for college for a student in need
There are a host of things you can do with a surplus.
You may be here today and money is your god. The salary, the house, the car, the clothes, and the gadgets are what you live for. You will never find true significance or contentment in things. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” The abundant life is not found in the abundance of your possessions, it is found in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s not about money, it’s about who is your master. Once you become a follower of Jesus you then begin to live and manage the life you have for His glory and honor.
But the first thing you need to do in order to get your finances in order, you need to get your faith in order. Instead of placing your faith in money and things for true fulfillment, begin trusting in Jesus. Give your life and heart to Christ.