Andrew Carnegie once said, “Millionaires seldom smile.”
If you want to know the things that are important to a person, find their account ledger. How we spend our money reveals the depth of our commitment to our faith, family, or self. Of the thirty-eight parables, Jesus used to teach the crowds half of them are about our relationship with money. Jesus was not talking about money because he was fundraising, He talked about money because money matters.
Money is not alive. It doesn't make its own decisions. It’s neither good nor evil. Money only does what it is told to do. When used badly it has dangerous consequences. Money is not the root of all evil but the love of money is the root of all evil. As important as it is as a tool, for some people it matters too much. It gauges our spiritual health. It doesn't take a lot of money to create a gap between a person and God. A little money placed at strategic locations is enough to obscure the view of a person completely.
Let us look at the lessons the bible teaches about money.
1. Pay your taxes
The question of taxes has evoked emotions and wrong doctrines inside and outside Christian communities. Indeed, our citizenship is not of this world and we should devote our resources to expanding the kingdom of God. However, it's more true that we must give to the earthly powers (Caesar) their due. Refusing to pay tax because of your faith is similar to denying your landlord rent because the kingdom of heaven belongs to you.
Paying taxes is one of the bedrock responsibilities of citizens who enjoy the services of their government. Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God. (Romans 13:7-8).
2. More Money More Problems
There are tons of reasons why people want to save, invest and have money. The increased inflation, higher cost of living, basic needs, unexpected expenses, medical bills are all reasons to be very anxious about the number in our bank balance. Due to this the shortcut to all these problems seem to be acquiring more. We work more, desire promotion, and a higher paying side business. But does more money solve our problems?
The writer of proverbs understanding this conundrum said, “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich; restrain yourself! Riches disappear in the blink of an eye; wealth sprouts wings and flies off into the wild blue yonder.” Proverbs 23:4-5
3. Don't be greedy
Our society yearns for better jobs, cars, houses, salaries, etc. The jails we have are full of people who got caught because of their greed seeking something that they couldn't acquire. Greed promises satisfaction that will never come. Whoever loves money will never acquire enough of it (Ecclesiastes 5:10). The goals of a greedy person can not be quantified. There is no end to their greediness. Greed is a thief and destroyer of joy, integrity, and families.
4. Reduce debt
Since debt in western countries is so common, it is the leading cause of financial stress and marital strain. The bible says that the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). This statement is an oversimplification of the relationship that a borrower has with their lender. Every debt you have cripples your ability to provide for yourself and your responsibilities. Debt brings a staying aura of frustration and anxiety.
5. Money is a servant
Money can do so much for a person if it is managed properly. it allows you the privilege of getting anything you need. You want a car, you can send money and you will buy a car. What about buying a new house next to the beach, money will rush quickly to fulfil the wish you have. You can get anything that has a price tag on it. Personal financial success is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. Most people know that they should be saving but very few do it.
Some of the strategies the bible recommends for investing include diversification and saving. You should have carefully distributed your assets (Ecclesiastes 11:2). God expects us to take action and leverage the gifts he has given us (money included).
6. Give to the needy
God often speaks about giving to the poor, orphans, and widows. We are commanded to give generously to reap a generous harvest. Planting our finances to the poor is equated to planting seeds on the farm.
Proverbs 28:27 reiterates that “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” With money comes power and with power comes opportunities to help the less fortunate. There will always be poor among us. True faith in Jesus is also sharing concerns for the poor. God commands us to love one another, and what better way to show that love than to the, “least of these.”
7. God owns everything
Seeing God as the owner of all the things that you would do is a fundamental principle that helps us when deciding how to spend money. It's no longer how much of my money I give to God, but how much of God's money do I use on myself. He owns your house, car, and business. If you want money to be your servant and not your master, you must give up the leadership of your money to God.
This is what God says in Exodus 19:5, “Now therefore if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine.”
If we are not careful we can easily fall into the trap of putting our hope in money. Money is something we can place in our hands when we have problems. However, the bible is littered with phrases warning against our relationship with money. “Don't be foolish with your money, guard your heart… etc.” Let us learn to place our trust in God and He will provide us with all we need to live for Him.