Keith's Comments
Managing Your Money, Biblically
With the nation's unemployment rate approaching ten percent it's the highest it's been in twenty-six years, and it appears it's not going to recover quickly, if at all. With Christmas approaching in less than two months financial stress will be compounded for many people who will feel obligated to spend money they don't have. There are countless television commercials and well-known personalities advising everyone to buy gold and silver in these tough financial times as a hedge against a faulty economy. I've even heard some so-called 'End Times financial managers' making these pleas as if they've been given a 'new revelation' about money management. But if one believes we're in the End Times, and I do, and the world's financial system is going to get worse, not better, what does the Bible say about such investments?

"Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days." (James 5:3)

We're not to depend on so-called 'experts' nor our own financial intuition to see us through tough times:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:" (Matthew 6:19)

We're to depend on God, who will provide our needs:

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:31-33)

Our Church, Central Calvary Baptist, has provided their congregation with "Guidelines to Managing Your Money." It's a guide to overseeing your finances according to Biblical principles. With my Pastor's blessing, I'm reproducing that here.

1. Start by spending your money according to God's priorities. Pay Him His ten percent (tithe) first, so you won't feel guilty about not doing so. Disobedience and guilt will plague the Christian who doesn't tithe:

"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD." (Leviticus 27:30)

2. Pray before you purchase anything. Ask yourself "Is this a need, or a want?"

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)

3. Stay aware of your expenditures versus your income:

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28)

4. Agree with your spouse regarding the household budget as well as your short-term and long-term goals. Don't hide or miscommunicate information regarding your finances:

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)

5. Commit to being excellent at work without overdoing your hours:

"Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase." (Proverbs 13:11)

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." (Philippians 4:5)

6. Payoff all consumer debt, excluding real estate, which is an investment. If necessary, keep one credit card for emergency and identification purposes:

"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7)

"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." (Romans 13:7)

7. Save monthly. If you're already out of consumer debt, ten percent of your gross pay is a good starting point:

"Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them." (Psalms 62:10)

8. Don't cosign a loan for anyone. Don't lend a relative or personal friend money you can't afford to lose:

"My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth." (Proverbs 6:1-2)

9. When you get a raise, don't adjust your lifestyle to consume the entire amount. Practice living beneath your means, not above them:

"Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." (Proverbs 30:8-9)

10. Establish an emergency cash reserve of at least two month's living expenses. Six months would be excellent:

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8)

11. Be content with what you have, don't keep striving for more, more, more:

"He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?" (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)

If we utilize these Biblical principles to manage our money, God will make sure we have what we need to survive, just as I offered above in Matthew 6:31-33. Thanks again to my Pastor for providing this much needed and timely material.

Life today is difficult financially and it's going to get worse. During the Tribulation a man will work one day for wages enough to feed only himself (Revelation 6:6). Have you noticed the news lately? Events taking place in the world right now tell us the Rapture is imminent and the Tribulation isn't far behind. Lord Jesus commands us to watch and know the time is near (Mark 13:37 & Matthew 24:33). Make sure you have a saving relationship with Jesus and won't be left behind when the Rapture occurs. If you're not sure, please start with our page The Truth to know how to be saved.

You can trust in God to save you, but you should also trust Him to manage your life and finances:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

What an exciting time to be alive and serving Him!

Keith

11-03-2009

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