What does the bible say about money management? It tells us what money is for, where you get it and how to not misuse it. The bible also explains why your relationship to money matters to God. Many Christians misunderstand biblical money management principles. Like my friend that never seemed to have enough money for important things.
It was a cold and snowy day in December when she got the phone call.
Her mother was sick in a hospital bed over 400 miles away.
She packed up the kids and was on the way out of town when the back left tire blew out. She called me asking if she could borrow enough money to buy a used tire. I said, “Of course!”
After closer inspection, it was clear the other tires wouldn’t last 400 miles either. With the freezing temperatures outside, it was risky to travel on them.
The Lord worked out a way for her to go see her mother but when she got home, we got together to talk about her finances. It was obvious that her belief about how Christians should use money was distorted.
She and her husband were new believers and wanted to please God in every way, including the use of their money. But they had misinterpreted bible verses about money and that’s why they were in financial trouble.
Like many people, they were once unsaved and lived only for themselves. They made good money and were good at spending it. But after a few bad decisions, they didn’t have any financial stability, or even decent jobs.
It was shortly after that they were born again. That’s when their attitude about money went from prosperity to poverty. They thought they were more spiritual because they were poor.
But they had problems besides the wrong attitude about spirituality. They were perpetuating their financial problems even though they thought they were doing “God’s will.”
Can You Spot Their Bad Decisions About Money?
- There were times they had no food in the house for their young children.
- They were not paying their debts.
- They continued to borrow money (like when the tire blew out) without regard to how or when they would repay it.
- When they earned a little extra, they “celebrated” and spent it on a restaurant dinner.
- They were giving 10% of their gross income to their church. (Keep reading to learn more about tithing.)
- They had the skills to work at better jobs but preferred ones that catered to their desire for undemanding work.
Are You Afraid Of Money?
I also had a lot of questions about money after I was saved. There were two bible verses about money and greed that made me think money was bad.
No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.
1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. And some, by longing for it, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
In time, I learned the proper interpretation of these passage, as well as many others that spoke of money. But it took a while–there are so many of them!
Christian financial expert, Howard Dayton, said the bible mentions money and possessions 2,350 times. These bible verses about money total far more than Jesus spoke about heaven and hell combined. It’s clear that our relationship to money has an effect on our spiritual health.
Why money matters to God
Money becomes a spiritual problem when we desire it more than we desire God. It is a problem when it becomes our Lord and Master instead of Jesus.
In 1 Timothy 6:10, the phrase “by longing for it” is the Greek word “orégomai.”
It is a verb which means to stretch towards; strongly inclined to; pulled towards; aspire to; desire to attain; reach to; to stretch oneself out in order to touch or grasp something.
It is in the Greek middle voice meaning, “stretching oneself out.” This emphasizes the personal desire of the subject, focusing on what the object personally means to the subject.
These explanations help us see that money can be an idol. Idols don’t care if you’re rich or poor. Either can be tempted to worship money instead of God.
God’s children don’t need to worry about money when they worship Him.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
God’s most common way of meeting our needs is with money. It is a tool. We use money to purchase our food, shelter, clothing, transportation, medicine, etc.
Having money and pursuing money are not the problem. How much we love it is the problem. Our relationship to money reflects our relationship to the Lord. You can’t love them both.
What Does The Bible Say About Money?
God owns everything.
The silver is mine and the gold is mine.
For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
God created you for work.
God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
God enables you to work.
… you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth…
1 Corinthians 4:7
What do you have that you did not receive?
What does the bible say about making money?
God expects you to work to earn money to provide for you and your family’s needs.
1 Timothy 5:8
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-8, 10-12
We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
What does the bible say about saving money?
The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
What does the bible say about money problems?
God wants you to exercise self control.
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.
Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.
God expects you to pay your debts.
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.
The wicked borrows but does not pay back.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
What does the bible say about your relationship with money?
God wants your faith.
But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
1 Timothy 6:17
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
God wants your heart.
“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?
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What does the bible say about tithing 10%?
God does NOT want a tithe.
Tithing is an Old Testament term which means 1/10 or 10%. Under the Mosaic law, the Israelites were to give a tenth of their first fruits. The tithes were associated with the Levites, priests, and the promised land given to the nation of Israel.
Technically, they were required to pay more than 10%. There was more than one tithe, maybe as many as fourteen, which would have totaled more like 20% to 30% of income.
In the New Testament, Christians are NOT required nor encouraged to tithe.
Christians have been set free from the law.
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
A fruit of the Spirit is love. God does want you to give with a cheerful heart that shows love to Him and your neighbor.
God wants you to spread the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:11
If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
1 Timothy 5:17-18
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”and “The worker deserves his wages.
God wants you to share with the needy.
1 John 3:16-17
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
2 Corinthians 9:6
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
How Much Money You Have Is NOT A Reflection Of Your Spiritual Health
In bible times, Jews believed that great wealth was a sign of God’s favor and poverty was God’s punishment for sin. Modern day “prosperity gospel” preachers promote the same message.
But Jesus didn’t show extra favor to a person because they were rich or poor. The bible teaches that we are evil when we judge others based on their financial status.
For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Regardless of how much money you have, God just wants you to be a faithful steward of however much he gives you and to be thankful.
Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Are You Confused About Money?
My friends had the wrong attitude about money. They confused poverty with spirituality.
They were not more spiritual because they were poor. They were poor because they were disobedient.
God provided them with abilities and opportunities for work. They were not willing to work enough in order to earn enough to provide for their family.
God occasionally blessed them with unexpected extra money but they wasted it instead of saving or paying down debt.
God wanted them to set aside a portion of the money for the church, as they prospered. Not give exactly ten percent of earned income, or money that should have been used to feed their kids.
In a twisted way, they were giving the church somebody else’s money.
They owed their parents lots of money but used “tithing” as their excuse not to pay them back.
The unsaved parents were justifiably angry. They didn’t loan money to their kids so the kids could support the church.
This situation made a mockery of God and His church. How would the parents ever see the beauty of Christ if they didn’t see the Lord taking care of His own, but relied on the world to do it?
It’s Not About How Much Money you have
We can dishonor God with our desires and attitudes about anything. But money seems to be a more powerful tempter than other things.
I’ve had to study the bible and pray a lot to get my own heart in line with God’s word. It’s not always easy to keep it there. Especially if you live in America! It takes prayer, self-control and learning from painful mistakes. God gives you freedom to fail!
God gives you a lot of freedom with His money.
But He also gives you principles for using it in a way that glorifies Him.
- God owns everything.
- God’s provides for you through your own work.
- God wants you to save for emergencies
- God expects you to pay your bills.
- God gives grace for you to be a cheerful, (not legalistic) giver.
- God desires you trust Him for all your needs.
- God loves you whether you are rich or poor.
The bottom line is God wants you to be a faithful manager of His money and whether you’re rich or poor, He wants you to be content.
1 Corinthians 4:2
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
God is more concerned with your spiritual health than your wealth.
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