Five Biblical Principles for Managing Finances
Money can be a great servant but when unmanaged is a harsh taskmaster. During the first ten years of our marriage, Roosevelt and I faced that reality on several occasions. We also recognized while each of us has a unique personality style, we also have a specific money personality: Roosevelt is an investor/saver while I’m a spender/shopper. As you can imagine it was very challenging to come into agreement on our financial goals and a workable plan to reach them.
As a one-income family, our main focus was on making enough money to cover our monthly expenses. Savings and retirement were definitely not priorities since, except on rare occasions, we barely had enough money to meet the end of the month. Progress was eventually made once acknowledging that what we thought we knew about money management and how we approached it wasn’t totally aligned with biblical principles.
We were introduced to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University which revolutionized our approach to money management and became the catalyst for the much-needed direction which finally got us on the same page. These principles are derived from that enlightening journey
#1 - Understand Biblical Ownership and Stewardship
Matthew 25:14-30 TPT speaks of the correlation between the kingdom of heaven and the wealthy man who left the financial management of his possessions with his servants when he went on a long journey. Before he left on his journey, he entrusted a bag of five thousand, two thousand, and one thousand gold coins to three different servants, each according to his ability to manage money.
The two servants entrusted with five thousand and two thousand gold coins immediately went out and traded with the money, and doubled their investments; however, the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
After much time had passed, the master returned to settle accounts with his servants. Because the servants with five thousand and two thousand gold coins doubled their money, the wealthy man commended them both for investing well; thus, proving they were loyal and trustworthy servants and faithful stewards at managing small sums of money. They were instructed to ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord!'
Unfortunately, the servant entrusted with one thousand gold coins didn’t do as well. Because he knew his boss was a hard man to please and a shrewd and ruthless businessman who grows rich on the backs of others, he was afraid and decided to bury the money in the ground.
Furious, his master said to him, “You’re an untrustworthy and lazy servant! If you knew I was a shrewd and ruthless businessman who always makes a profit, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? Then I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. But because you were unfaithful, I will take the one thousand gold coins and give them to the one who has ten thousand. For the one who has will be given more, until he overflows with abundance. And the one with hardly anything, even what little he has will be taken from him.” He then instructed the other servants to throw that “good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!”
Ownership and stewardship are key principles in the Kingdom. This story was a lesson to us on the differences between ownership and stewardship and how we should operate as citizens in the kingdom of God. Very simply, God is the owner and we are the stewards.
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. To the Lord, your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth, and everything in it. (Psalms 24:1 NLT)
Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 10:14 NLT)
Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2 NLT)
Ownership is the act, state, or right of possessing something while stewardship requires conducting, supervising, or managing something entrusted to one’s care. Biblical stewardship involves managing everything (creation, finances, time, talents, gifts, relationships) God brings into the believer’s life in a manner that honors God and impacts eternity.
#2 - Understand basic money definitions
The following definitions are key :
1. Income – the amount of money/salary available monthly
2. Expenses - fixed (consistent), adjustable (costs based on usage), and occasional (infrequent like birthdays, Christmas, etc.) costs
3. Needs – must have to survive
4. Wants – optional to survive
5. Debt - the amount owed through loans and credit card balances
#3 - Create a Balanced Spending Plan
– (Income ≥ Expenses)
A successful financial plan starts with choosing a system that works best for establishing and reaching your financial goals. We chose The Envelope System which involved three very simple steps.
1. Label your envelopes
2. Place cash in the envelopes based on your spending plan
3. When it’s gone, it’s gone!
#4 -Develop your plan of action
Action is necessary in order for the plan to achieve success. It starts with answering these three questions about roles and responsibilities.
1. Who will pay your monthly bills?
2. When will expenses be paid (due dates)?
3. How will expenses be paid? (automatic payment, check by mail, credit card, etc.)
#5 - Establish a regular monitoring process
Even the best-made plans can face unexpected challenges. It’s wise to assess if the plan is really working. Are you consistently over/underspending in particular areas? Is each spouse seriously committed to the plan? And lastly, are you on target?
Be prayerful to ensure that your plan meets your priorities and is aligned with God’s guidelines. As you regularly monitor your progress, don’t hesitate to make necessary adjustments, and remember that God ultimately is your source who makes provision through various resources such as your job.
Proverbs 21:5 tells us that good planning and hard work lead to prosperity but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty so, work the plan and don’t give up. Our Heavenly Father owns everything but entrusts us with His material blessings to manage and steward wisely.
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
The Power of Agreement uses scriptural references, biblical examples, the Quick's personal stories, and testimonials from family and friends describing how working in agreement produces powerful results. Order your copy today!