There are a million books out there on money and wealth. Some focus on strategies to get rich, others proclaim some no-fail get rich program, and still others focus on the hard work required to get there. They probably all contain some element of truth, but understanding the timeless Biblical principles of money is where you should focus as you consider your future. Your career path, options for starting a business, and even what to study in school, should all be guided by Biblical principles. Here are just a few uncommon principles of finance to get you started.
1. Recognize that prosperity comes from God. “For it is God who gives the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).” This doesn’t discount hard work, wise decisions, or the right opportunities, but these things also come from God. Another mistake would be to apply this only to the believer, or to think God would not prosper the heathen. Don’t assume this only applies to the believer. You might be surprised as you read through the history of the king of Tyre, Ez. 27-28. God takes credit for this pagan king’s great business accomplishments and financial success, and then judges the king for taking all the credit.
2. Respond to God’s reproofs when things are not going well. There are many reasons you might not be prospering. God doesn’t promise his children material wealth. However, when you see your finances dwindling, or your business unprofitable, it is right to ask “why?” Consider Haggai 1:9 where God reproves his people. In the preceding verses the Lord says, “Consider your ways…you have sown much, and bring in little…and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” Wow, this sounds like a business that has money coming in, but yet ends the quarter in the red. “Consider your ways! (Vs. 7)” “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?…because My house is in ruins…” In what ways have you neglected God’s house, His people, or the praise of His great works?
3. Financial success requires responding Biblically to the ups and downs. John Calvin explains, in his Golden Book, that God sends his children trials to keep them focused on the right things. He does this to constantly remind us of our dependence on God. It is better not to think of wealth or poverty as a permanent state, but rather a phase of growth in our sanctification process. Expect there to be years of plenty followed by years of need, and perhaps more years of plenty. Learn to respond as Paul does, “I know how to be abased, and i know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” I am constantly working to trust God in both cases – asking God what he would have me do in either case.
4. Avoid all debt. Think of debt as giving away your personal freedom. We see in scripture, principles that set us free. The ultimate story of redemption is one of gaining freedom in Christ – being purchased from a life of slavery to sin. We read about the borrower being a slave to the lender, being lenders rather than borrowers, and owing no man anything. People often borrow to build a bigger business, betting on the future. Scripture tells us, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)” This has historically been a key principles regarded by Jewish businesses, and they have often prospered for it, regardless of their religious position. Biblical principles work, regardless of your religion, because the Bible transcends all religions. Start by paying off any credit card debt…and refuse to buy Christmas gifts you can’t afford.
© 2012, David Stelzl