What Are Wise Ways To Handle Money?
Wise ways to handle money means that by biblical “understanding and knowledge” we give generously, save reasonably and spend strategically.
- “Giving” is freely transferring a portion of our money or possession to someone else for their benefit. The dangers of wealth is becoming high-minded and trusting in our money and possessions instead of God. To guard against this, we are to first give ourselves to God and trust in Him above all else and, secondly, do good to others and being “rich in good works”—which includes willingly and generously giving and sharing our wealth.
1 Timothy 6:17-19; Matthew 5:23-24; 6:1-4; 26:6-13
- The blessing of giving—we can’t out give God. There are two main blessings we can partake in from giving: (1) For with the measure we give, in the same way it will be measured back to us again or we will reap what we sow—meaning that God will supply all our needs as we are obedient to Him. (2) Fruit will abound to our accounts—meaning as we use our money and possessions to support God’s work in this world we are laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven. For example, if you give to support a preacher of the gospel and someone gets saved through his ministry, then you partake in that fruit too.
Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Philippians 4:17-19; Matthew 6:19-21
- The Biblical understanding of tithing—that God commanded the children of Israel to give multiple “one-tenths” of their agricultural produce and/or livestock as a way to support the Levites, celebrate festivals, to help others in need and worship God—has been fulfilled in Jesus and does not apply to believers today. One of the great dangers of misunderstanding the “tithe” is believing that God only owns 10% of your income and you get to own the remaining 90% and use it as you desire. On the contrary, God owns 100% of everything we have, including all of our income, and we are to be faithful stewards.
(Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16-23; Ephesians 2:11-22)
- The New Testament paradigm for giving is generous grace giving. This resembles the Old Testament freewill offerings. Its principles are as follows: complementary—a balance between the spiritual and material workings within the church; proportional—the amount given is “within” and sacrificially “beyond” our financial ability; regular—a pattern to follow so that we can excel in our giving; cheerful—a joy because it is a privilege and not an obligation; honest—the process of dealing with money that is given through the church needs to be done in a way that is accountable so there would be no reason for criticism.
2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 8-24; 9:1-15; 1 Corinthians 16:2-4
- Making giving a priority—choosing to give first. Giving goes against our sinful nature of selfishness, but believers are to be selfless and generous givers. Thus it seems wise to make giving a financial priority. This means as God prospers us (as we receive our salaries etc) we should first take a portion of it and give it or lay it aside so that it can be given when needed. This protects against spending everything and having nothing left to give or only having a little left over to give. Giving to God should be a priority.
1 Corinthians 16:2
- Question: “How much should we give?”—this seems to be a question that many believers ask, but it can’t be answered with a percentage or specific amount because the Bible doesn’t permit us to do so. Everyone must give as they purpose in their hearts. But also we know that God wants us to be generous—and generosity is not measured by “how much you give” but by “how much you have left over” after you give. Jesus told His disciples that a poor widow who put “two mites” into the offering box had given more than all the rich people who put money into the offering box because she gave “all her living” and they only gave out of their “abundance.”
Mark 12:41-44; 2 Corinthians 9:7
- “Saving” is setting aside a reasonable portion of money or possessions for future use. This allows a person to have resources in the future when they are needed for foreseen or unforeseen reasons. The Bible teaches that it is wise to have “savings” and foolish to “devour” everything that we have so there is nothing left. It even tells us to look to the ant to know how to plan ahead in a responsible manner—for an ant prepares and gathers its food in the summer and harvest because it knows that winter is coming.
Proverbs 6:6-11; 21:20; Genesis 41:25-57
- Hoarding is stockpiling away unreasonable or large portions of money or possessions for future use. This is usually motivated by: (1) greed—we are wanting to build great wealth for ourselves at the expense of others; (2) fear—we are fearful about the future and we start building a great reserve incase of a shortage or emergency; (3) selfishness—we don’t want to have to trust in God for our continued provision, so we accumulate enough so that we don’t have to daily rely on God. Whatever the motivation, hoarding usually leads us to breaking the great commands of loving God and loving others.
Proverbs 11:28; Luke 12:16-21; James 5:1-6; Exodus 16:16-20
- Question: “How much should we save?”—there seems to be a balance or tension in scripture about what is reasonable and unreasonable “savings”. Thus, we need to evaluate our motivation about our savings. When we are considering how much to save (including retirement and insurance), we should ask the following questions: What is my motivation for doing this? Does this prevent me from seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Does this prevent me from loving others like myself? Is there a better investment of this money or possession? Am I avoiding today’s “known needs” to provide for tomorrow’s “unknown needs”? Is this rooted in greed, fear or selfishness?
Matthew 6:25-34; 22:36-40; Haggai 1:1-11; Isaiah 30:1-2; Deuteronomy 8:13-14
- “Spending” is using money or possessions for current use. The Bible expects us to use the money that we obtain to provide for ourselves and our relatives. We are to be content in God and enjoy the things He blesses us with. We are allowed to purchase possessions for our needs and enjoyment. This spending also includes paying taxes to the government as required, distributing to the necessity of saints and showing hospitality.
1 Timothy 5:8; 6:17; Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Romans 12:13; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 4:9; Matthew 17:24-27; 22:15-22
- If the Bible instructs us to provide for our families, be generous givers, save a reasonable amount and not go into debt, then we need a wise financial plan or a budget. A budget is an estimate of our income and expenditures that we wisely plan in advance so that we can: (1) live within our means—reduce the chance of making unwise decision and going into debt (or a plan to get out of debt); (2) live a strategic lifestyle—meaning limiting our lifestyle to a certain “amount” and not living above it, even if our income allows, so that we can maximize our giving potential.
- Question: “How much should we spend?”—as believers, we don’t live for this world, but for the world to come, thus when we spend money we need to ask several questions: Will owning this be a hinderance to me? Will owning this steal too much of my time maintaining it? Will spending money in this way prevent me from helping someone I know in need? Am I deceiving myself by trying to rationalize this purchase?
- How should we give?
- Should giving be a priority?
- What is the difference between saving and hoarding?
- What does strategic spending or lifestyle mean?
- How much should we give, save and spend?