Updated: Dec 14, 2019
In Howard Dayton’s book “Your Money Counts,” he contrasts worldly and biblical perspectives of money. “Society says: God plays no role in handling money, and my happiness is based on being able to afford my desired standard of living. Scripture says: As you learn and follow the scriptural principles of how to handle money, you will draw close to Christ and learn to be content in every circumstance.”
God’s financial principles are a message of hope for those caught in the financial traps of our culture, and although living by biblical financial principles won't prevent all financial storms, our outcomes get better.
But more importantly for a follower of Christ, how we handle money affects our fellowship with the Lord. Luke 16:11 reads, “If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of worldly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” In other words, by following the principles of scripture and asking the Lord for financial direction, our relationship with the Lord will grow stronger.
So, what would a financial plan that honors the Lord, look like? A basic plan would probably include the following in this order: Give first, save second, and live on the rest.
Give first, establishes the principle of “firstfruits” and demonstrates that giving is important, as well as being a priority. Proverbs 3:9-10 reads, “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.” Practically speaking, that means we give every time we earn income.
Whereas priority giving develops consistency in our giving frequency, being a percentage giver develops consistency in our giving amount. For many that is the tithe (10%) or above, but if you are not in a situation that allows you to tithe at the moment, prayerfully consider what percentage that you can give consistently now and grow that percentage over time. I’m confident the Lord will help you get there.
Progressive givers demonstrate generosity by giving offerings over the tithe and giving sacrificially. We find many progressive givers desire to establish God directed giving goals to make sure they are meeting the objectives the Lord has placed on their hearts.
In addition to a structured giving approach it is prudent to Save second. Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Saving allows us to prepare for such items as emergency spending (ex. replace the hot water heater), regular repairs or maintenance (ex. replace brakes & put new tires on our car), planned purchases (ex. a new sofa) or for future needs. By saving for these items we are prepared for the expense and it is more likely we won’t need to go into debt to cover the cost.
Live on the rest really is a standard of living question. Living on the rest does not mean to spend recklessly, but rather spend in a way that honors the Lord. When we recognize the Lord is the owner of all things, and we are stewards, essentially every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision. Make an effort to live simply and live with margin in your life. It is not likely that every financial decision will come in on budget, so give yourself some room for occasional cost overruns.
My prayer is that, by living God’s way of giving first, saving second and living on the rest, you would be financially free enough that God could work through you to impact His Kingdom, knowing that you would give Him the Glory!
Financially free enough that finances would not hold you back and you would not be encumbered by debt.
Financially free, and with enough financial margin in your life, that if God ever called you to do something that you would be able to do so without a second thought.
That you would experience contentment.
The Lord has given us a recipe for experiencing contentment. Why not handle money God's way and know the peace, joy, and contentment that He has for you?
To learn more about handling money God’s way, go to www.compass1.org. There you will find great resources, videos and financial calculators that may help you on your faith & finance journey. To receive a free download of Howard Dayton’s book “Your Money Counts”, go to www.compassebooks.org and create a login. It’s a fun read and gives direction for spending, saving, giving, investing and getting out of debt.