ON THE MONEY: DOLLARS, SENSE AND LASTING CHANGE
Our attitude about money is established in our heart. How we handle our money is a heart issue. The challenge for most people is the heart is attached to the head, and the head is not thinking the way the Bible teaches about money. So what does the Bible have to say about money?
It may surprise you to learn just how much the Bible has to say about finances. There are more than 2,350 verses on how to handle money and possessions. Jesus spoke more about money than any other subject. Wow!
Several years ago I starting asking: What is my financial plan? Do I know where every dollar is spent? Do I want finances to continue to be a source of conflict in my marriage? Do I have a plan to get out of debt? What are my financial goals? So, I created five categories and started living by a simple plan. So here are my top five:
1) Earn Diligently
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23-24). In Scripture, hard work and diligence is encouraged. The most important question you can ask yourself everyday as you begin your work is: “For whom do I work?”
2) Give Generously
The basic level of giving is the tithe. Tithing lets us know how we are doing with our attitude about money. If you don’t trust God with your money, then you will trust in your money. I like what Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
3) Save Appropriately
Proverbs 21:20 says, “A wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Saving is making provision for tomorrow. The most effective way to save is to do it every time you receive income. Save for both long-term and short-term. Long-term savings are intended to fund long-term needs such as retirement. Short-term savings should be in an account that is easily accessible for planned future spending like replacing appliances, making major home repairs and other emergencies.
4) Spend Moderately
Spend less than you make. You will never be free from the money trap if you don’t spend less than you make. Dave Ramsey says, “90 percent of people in our culture buy things they can’t afford.” The most helpful tool to keep you from spending more than you make is called a budget (or spending plan.) John Maxwell has the best quote on budgeting: “A budget is people telling their money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
5) Invest Wisely
The best advice I have received when it comes to investing is to diversify. Ecclesiastes 11:2 says, “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.” Never risk money you can’t afford to lose. It is probably not a good idea to make uninformed or hasty investment decisions.