Note: This post has been contributed.
You might think that money and your faith have very little to do with one another apart from maybe donating a little to your church and a chosen charity each month, but you would be quite wrong. The bible actually has quite a lot to say about money and its management and by following its teachings on the subject, you can take better control of your finances and develop a much healthier relationship with money…
All Things Come from and Belong to God
The first thing you need to know is that everything we have here on earth comes from God and all of our posessions belong to him. When you begin to view money in this way, it can help to relieve some of your anxiety around your finances, because you will come to realize that everything is unfolding as it should do and that your money is never really yours - not completely anyway. Obviously, we all need a certain amount of money to get by and we must all work hard and make good decision in our financial life, but ultimately God can look after our money much better than we can and giving it up to him, looking to him for advice and acting more mindfully around money will help us to have a far better relationship with it.
Debt is to Be Avoided
Most Americans are managing at least a small amount of debt, so there is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you too have racked up debt. However, it is worth noting that the bible is very clear on the fact that God does not want people to be in debt. Quotes like Romans 13:8: "Owe no man anything, but to love one another" and Proverbs 22:7 which states that borrowers are servants to those who lend them money make it very clear that debt is not ideal. So, if you’re currently in debt, see what you can do to get out of it fast; that could mean getting a debt consolidation loan on the web, talking to a debt counselor to help you come up with a plan, or simply tweaking your budget so that you can clear your credit card balance a little quicker. Once your debt is gone, do whatever you can to avoid putting yourself in that position again, but know that if there are emergencies and it is unavoidable, that you will not be judged harshly and you can always get back to a place of no debt again with the right effort.
Being Rich is Not the Ultimate Goal
A lot of people make a lot of bad decisions and do things that are less than kind and respectable in order to make more money and get as rich as they can. Although it is fine to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor, the bible is clear that the love of money is the root of many evils and that going after wealth above all else is a bad idea. Knowing this is so helpful in life because it allows you to take the pressure off and pursue forms of work that you enjoy and which serve others, if you want to, rather than those which will make you money, but also bring unhappiness and compromise to your life. It also helps us to better appreciate exactly what we do have, which is certainly the route to greater happiness here on earth.
Greed is Not Good
There are countless people who would strongly disagree with this statement, but from the Christian perspective, there is nothing good about greed. There are countless bible verses that talk about the importance of charity, which show just how important it is to use your money for good. It is really helpful to give a percentage of whatever you have to those in need. Not only does it show you how abundant you really are, but it also helps others, and it makes you think more about money, what it is, how it is and should one used and how much you really need to be happy, which can help to prevent you from getting into debt or going after more money at the expense of everything else in your life.
That is not to say that you should not save money for a rainy day. It is important that everyone, even Christians, save enough money for emergencies, so that they do not end up getting into debt and so that it is possible to look after oneself and one’s family, as well as the wider community. So, do open a savings account, but be as generous as you can with your money too.
Money is Not God
A lot of people in the 21st Century seem to almost worship money, They judge others and themselves, not on their character or their good deeeds, but on how much money they have in the bank. The bible is very clear that this is wrong; it says that you cannot serve God and mammon. What does this mean in practical terms? That money is a tool just like any other, and although it is pretty impossible to function without it in the modern world, you should not look at it as anything more than a tool like a hammer or a screwdriver. Or is nothing special and you should not elevate its status. It is worshipping money that leads to people being reckless, wracking up credit card debts, working themselves into the ground, lying and stealing to get more and that is one of the worst things anyone can do.
The Bottom Line
The bible has a lot to say about money, but its primary message is that we should not get caught up in the pursual of riches. We should not get into debt or put ourselves into compromising situations for it. We should be careful with money, work for what we have and be generous where we can. This will lead to a healthy relationship with our finances.