Finding financial counsel
A commonly asked question from Christians seeking advice on financial matters is, “How can I find good Christian counsel?”
Perhaps even more fundamental would be the question, “How can I tell when I find good Christian counsel?”
Limitations in finding good financial counsel
It is very difficult to receive unbiased advice from someone who is trying to sell a particular product. So, an obvious limitation that Christians should easily recognize is whether the people giving them financial advice are actually giving wise advice or just a sales pitch.
A second limitation is to find financial counselors with like minds, attitudes, and principles. Many financial advisors who profess to be Christians live lifestyles that are far from Christ-like.
Likewise there are those who are very good Christians, but they have no knowledge or wisdom concerning the biblical principles of finances.
There are many guidelines in God’s Word for seeking and selecting good godly counsel. So, although seeking counsel is advised, selecting wise counsel is imperative.
Principles for seeking and selecting good financial counsel
Listed below are four basic principles that Christians need to consider in seeking and selecting good, godly financial counsel.
1. Seek and select Christian counsel. Seek and select financial counselors on the basis of a common value system. For Christians, that means to seek counsel from those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Psalm 1:1).
This does not imply that non-Christians are incapable of giving good financial advice. However, the standards by which decisions are made must be based on God’s Word and Christ-like character, rather than on the world’s humanistic get-ahead-at-all-costs standards.
2. Seek and select wise counsel. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The fact that people are professed Christians does not qualify them to be good financial counselors.
All too often Christians throw wisdom and caution to the wind when it comes to taking advice from professed Christians. Christian counselor and counselee alike must be in regular communication with God and seek His wisdom before any decision is made. So, not only must counselors be knowledgeable in areas of biblical principles of finance but they also must regularly seek God’s wisdom in prayer and in the study of His Word.
3. Seek and select multiple qualified counselors. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). No financial counselor can be an expert in all areas of finance.
The areas of taxes, securities, stocks, bonds, and real estate are so complex in today’s society that only with a variety of good financial counselors who are experts in their respective fields can Christians hope to attain a well-rounded perspective of biblical financial principles.
4. Weigh all counsel given. “The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). The purpose of counsel is to offer suggestions, alternatives, and options—not to make decisions on behalf of counselees.
Even the best financial counsel in the world lacks an essential element necessary to make sound and wise financial decisions—knowledge of God’s plan for the lives of the counselees. Therefore, there should never be a decision made unless it has been presented to God in prayer first.
The peace of God—or lack of peace—as a result of prayer is an indisputable indicator of God’s preferred directive. In addition, each decision should be tested against God’s Word. If it is not consistent with the purity and the spirit of God’s Word, the decision should be rejected.
Counselors’ motives and actions also should be evaluated. If counselors will deceive others on the counselees’ behalf, they also will most likely eventually deceive the counselees.
Review the five-year track record of any and all people who offer their counsel. Just because they are Christians does not mean that they have been successful in their financial counsel.
The best method for locating good, godly financial counsel is asking other Christians who have been helped. This could be fellow church attendees, pastors, or Christian businesspeople.
Additionally, this type of information could perhaps be found at Christian professional associations, societies, and organizations—both locally and nationally.
Without a doubt, good and godly financial counsel is available for all who seek such counsel. Prayer, wisdom, and caution must be foremost in order to select the most qualified counselors and those whose lives and expertise conform to God’s will for the lives of the counselees.
To find a Christian financial professional in your area, visit KingdomAdvisors.org.
Originally posted 10/26/11.