What Does The Bible Say About Money?
When it comes to unsolicited advice, for some reason, it’s easier to give than receive. Much has been written about how to manage money. Some advice is helpful. However, most people don’t like being told how to handle their money.
What does Jesus say about how to manage money?
Jesus often taught about money and possessions. He never asked anyone for money, but he talked about it more than any other subject. More than loving your neighbor. More than heaven and hell. Sixteen of his thirty-eight parables dealt with how to handle money or possessions. For Jesus’ followers, managing money is of utmost importance.
And maybe the reason Jesus talked about money more than he spoke of heaven is that for many people, it’s easier to trust God with eternity than with their money. The bottom line of all Jesus taught on this subject is this:
Money is a helpful tool but a terrible master.
Jesus gave two simple but timeless principles.
- Money tests priorities.
- Money directs the heart.
First, he clarified that you can’t serve God and money. It will divide your attention and devotion if you don’t guard against it. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. “No one can serve two masters,” Jesus said (Matthew 6:24.
Additionally, money tests your affection. Money is a good medium, but a bad mate. If you love her, be warned that she will never love you back. Money takes and is never satisfied. Make money your servant, not your love interest. Love is reserved for relationships like loving God and loving one another.
Because money is a test of priorities, decide in advance what your relationship with money will be. Master your money, or it will become your master.
The second timeless principle about money is that your heart will follow your treasure. Many people misunderstand Jesus’s famous words: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). People assume that money follows the desires of your heart; however, if you want to know where the location of your heart, check where you spend your money.
Here are three ways to direct your money so it reflects your heart.
1) Give according to what God has given you.
Living with an open hand is a mark of a follower of Jesus. Scripture teaches us to give in proportion to what we’ve been given. Choose a percentage and learn to discern where to give money that will make a lifelong impact. Prioritizing financial giving towards the mission of Jesus will cement your heart to it. Give to help other people who are in unplanned distress. We can’t do everything, but all of us can do something. Choose a percentage to set aside to give.
2) Save for emergencies and future opportunities.
The ability to save is more in your control than you think. Savings can be created by spending less. I appreciate Morgan Housel’s explanation of how to build wealth regardless of the size of your income.
“You can build wealth without a high income, but you have no chance of building wealth without a high savings rate.”
Learning to be content with less money creates a gap between what you have and what you want. The skill of saving regularly requires you to choose to live on less even though you could have more. You cannot save without self-control. Choose a percentage to set aside to save for emergencies, future opportunities, and your later years in life.
3) Live according to a spending plan.
Practice the skill of tracking. This practice, called a budget, is not just looking at where your money went but developing a spending plan to determine where it’s going. A financial plan is your best pathway to financial peace. Evaluate how you live according to budget.
Say no to unnecessary expenses so you can say yes to what lasts.
Every day presents unexpected twists and unplanned turns. Learning to adapt is important. Having a flexible plan is essential.
Money tests priorities and reveals values. If we don’t control what we think about money, we’ll never control what we do with our money.
Be content with God’s provision. More money does not equal more happiness. Materialism takes a good thing and makes it the ultimate thing.
Contentment is being at peace with what you have and adjusting to living within his provision while looking for ways to multiply it.
For those seeking more help in managing money to gain financial peace, we offer a group experience called Financial Peace University. Click here for more information!