What does the Bible say about money?
You may be surprised to learn that Scripture references money than it does heaven and hell…combined. It’s no wonder – God knows how much money affects our day-to-day lives, and the power it can have over us.
The crazier the world gets the more frequently I’m reminded that Christians are called to live differently. Our standards for how we spend our time and money, the way to speak to one another, and how we view ourselves should not only be higher than the rest of the world but in some cases, entirely different.
Stewardship is not about judging or criticizing the way others chose to live. It’s about prioritizing and managing our lives in such a way that God can use us according to His will. It’s saying “no” to the things of this world so we can say “yes” to the things of God. When we see ourselves in light of God’s purpose, we understand that money is a powerful tool for present and eternal impact.
The following 5 biblical principles have helped shape the way I view my finances on a daily basis. They’re the lenses through which I see every spending, saving, and investing decision. I hope they help and encourage you as well on your journey to financial freedom.
1. God owns everything, and we are simply His managers or stewards.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Psalm 24:1
The best way to start thinking like a steward is to recognize that you don’t own anything. At the end of your life, you’ll leave it all behind – your house, your car, your 401(k). Your stuff doesn’t matter in eternity. What does matter is how you use the time, money and possessions that God has entrusted to you.
This means we need to order our lives and finances in preparation to leave it all behind. That’s why a budget is important. It’s an integral part of faithful stewardship. How you manage money determines how you will manage greater things. Your ambition and life pursuit should be to become rich towards God, not in the eyes of men.
2. Faithful stewardship honors God and leads to a lifestyle of godly obedience.
Would you hire an investment manager who is likely to lose all of your money? Of course not! And, yet each one of us is like a financial planner that God has entrusted with His money. But many manage God’s money like it belongs to them and use it like it’s really none of His business.
Faithful stewardship honors God and seeks to obey His ways in all financial decisions. That requires renewing our minds with truth and applying His principles to every area of our finances: budgeting, saving, debt, investing, and giving!
So, I encourage you to pray with the Psalmist: “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”
3. Humility is a great strength when making financial decisions.
God has given you unique and special talents that you can use to earn a living, take care of your family and be generous towards others. Since God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud (I Peter 5:5), it is important to be humble with money as well.
Consider Paul’s words to Timothy:
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
If giving money is a gift from God, then earning it is also a gift. There is nothing wrong with making money or accumulating wealth, as long as you’re using it according to His will.
4. God’s presence brings hope, even in extreme situations.
Money can be a tough challenge. Maybe you can point to a time in your life that you hit rock bottom with your finances; perhaps you’re there now.
But even in our most dire of circumstances, God is near to us. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Don’t expect your financial situation to change overnight. You’ll have to make sacrifices and exercise self-control before things begin to turn around. But, you can have hope when bringing your desires under God’s control.
In Romans 5, Paul taught on the reason for hope. “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
5. Contentment comes from understanding and accepting God’s sovereign plan for our lives.
We have to accept God’s sovereign plan for our lives and then be diligent about praying and seeking His will through reading Scripture. I think this is the best definition of contentment:
Contentment is knowing God’s plan for your life, having the conviction to live it, and believing that God’s peace is greater than the world’s problems.
Hebrews 13:5 says, Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
When we truly distance ourselves from the love of money, we are able to use it more effectively for Kingdom purposes. This is when we find freedom. These principles not only give us freedom now but prepare us so that one day we may hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21)
If you want to take a deeper dive into learning what it means to live as a faithful steward, join the online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study. You’ll receive access to 10 Life Lessons and can join a community of others on the same journey to financial freedom. And if you’re experiencing difficulty in your finances because of overwhelming credit card debt, get in touch with our partners at Christian Credit Counselors. They can lower your interest rates, negotiate with your creditors, consolidate your payments, and keep you on track with a debt-payoff plan.