In the book which contains a wealth of wisdom, let us dig out from it the wisdom concerning wealth and finances. Solomon, the author of the book is one of the wealthiest persons who ever lived on this earth. With the help of the Holy Spirit he has given us several of God’s ways and principles for financial blessings in the book of proverbs. I would like to share some of them in this article. As you learn and live by these principles, God will certainly bless you financially!
- SERVE God with your finances.
Tos erve God with your finances means to put God first in your finances. Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brimover with new wine (NIV).” The Bible is full of promises that the Lord will provide for you, that he will meet your every need (Ps. 34:10; Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:33). But God’s promise comes with a premise: Put him first in your finances, and he will take care of you. Serving God with your finances means ‘giving to the Lord’s work, financing the church and the expansion of the gospel.’ I believe the minimum amount you should give to God’s work is a tithe, or ten percent. Malachi 3:10 says that the Lord will open the windows of heaven and bliss you if you obey him in giving tithes.
Next,it means handling your money in a way that is God-honouring. As a steward, you must learn to manage God’s resources faithfully in a way that brings Him glory. Don’t do anything with your money that would violate God’s word and bring dishonour to God’s name and God’s church. When you put God first in your finances, you are acknowledging that He is the source of all blessings in your life.
- SHARE with those in need.
What God wants you to do with your money, other than finance the church and expansion of the gospel around the world, is to share with others. When it comes to our finances, consider
this: The question is not how much you should give, but how much should you keep for yourself. Did you ever wonder why God gives you more than you need? Because someone else is in need.
Proverbs is filled with verses about sharing with those in need. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “Give freely and become wealthier; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.’ Proverbs19:17 says, “If you help the poor, you
are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!” Proverbs 21:13 says, “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.” Proverbs28:27 says, ‘whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing .Isn’t it clear? God gives you more than you need to help those who are in need. And his promise of provision for us is contingent upon us sharing freely with those in need.
- SKETCH out a plan
Thirdly,plan ahead. You will never get ahead financially unless you plan to get ahead financially. The old saying tells us that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Proverbs 21:5
says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Any good financial plan begins with goals and a good budget. Your goals are the “what”of your plan, and the budget is the “how.” You and your spouse, if you’re married, need to sit down and set financial goals together. Ask questions such as: What about tithing?What about charities? What is your plan for your children’s education? What do you want to do for a living? What kind of home do you want to live in? What kind of vehicle do you want to drive? Proverbs 24:27 says, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.”
Once you set your goals, the “what” of your financial plan, it’s time to work on your budget, the “how.” First, track your spending. Second, take all your expenses, and organize them into meaningful categories, such as food, auto, entertainment,clothing, savings, insurance, taxes, tithes, and your income. Third, decide how much money you want to spend in each category every month. When you’re calculating your budget, remember to be realistic. Also remember, when you add up all your expenses they must not exceed your income. Learn to live within your come. Be content with what you have. The bible says, ‘Contentment is a continual feast’ (Pro. 15:15). Proverbs 27:23, “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds.” Setting goals and making a budget does no good if you’re not tracking and evaluating your progress.
- STRAIN every nerve
The fourth financial principle from Proverbs is called hard work. The Bible is clear that the reason for poverty, in many cases, is simply laziness. Proverbs 10:4, “Lazy people are
soon poor; hard workers get rich.” Proverbs 6:6-11 says, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labour hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
The difference between riches and poverty is the difference between hard work and laziness. You see, we all have the potential to do well. But you can have all the desire, all the knowledge, and all the skills in the world, but if you’re not a hard worker, you will not receive financial blessings. Proverb 13:4 says, ‘The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.’ Proverbs 14:23 speaks of labour leading to
profit, but mere idle talk leading to poverty (Read also Proverbs 18:9; 19:15; 20:4, 13; 21:25, 26; 22:13; 24:20-34;26:13-17). We need to work hard without becoming workaholics. We must
learn to rest and relax. We should work to live and not live to work. The Lord instituted weekly rest for our physical,mental and spiritual health.
- SAVE for the future.
One reason many people struggle financially is because they don’t save. Any good financial plan will involve a plan for savings. Proverbs 6:6-11 pertains not only to hard work, but to savings also. If ants are smart enough to gather food for the winter, we should be, too. The best financial advice that I’ve come across goes like this. After taxes and tithes, save 10% and live on the rest. Imagine if you saved 10% of your income every month! Part of your savings should go
into a savings account so you can be prepared for unexpected expenses and unforeseen contingencies.
Proverbs10:16 says, “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” And Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.”
- STEER CLEAR of speculative investments.
The next financial principle is to avoid speculative, shaky investments. Many people end up in financial bondage because they violate these clear, scriptural warnings. What are these speculative investments?
- Going into debt. Scripturally speaking, borrowing is not debt. The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong to borrow. It says it’s not a good idea to borrow. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower is servant to the lender.”When you borrow without the means to repay, or when you borrow without knowing exactly how you’re going to repay, that’s going into debt. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.” You should never go into debt and as a Christian, if you are in debt, you are obligated by God to pay your debts. You hurt the name and cause of Christ when you enter into a financial agreement and then break it. Someone said, ‘The bottom line on debt is this: (1) Never put a lender in the place of God by depending upon the lender to meet your needs, and (2) Never play God by determining that the only way to meet your needs is to borrow.
- Co-signing. This is one of the most violated financial principles in the Bible. Co-signing
relates to debt. Anytime you co-sign you become legally responsible for the debt of another. The bible discourages co-signing. Proverbs 22:26-27 says, “Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed
will be snatched from under you.” Proverbs 17:18 also says the same thing. Many people buck God’s word in this area and find themselves in trouble.
- Get-rich quick schemes. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth from get-rich quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” And Proverbs 28:20 says, “The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.” People who want to get rich quickly are susceptible to scams and fraudulent offers. They are invariably cheated and swindled. Stay away from gambling, betting and lottery. Avoid any form of get rich quick schemes(Pro. 23:4, 5; 28:22). Proverbs 12:11says, “A hard worker has plenty of food, buta person who chases fantasies has no sense.”
- STOP wasteful spending.
Proverbs10:16 says, “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” Many people are struggling financially and are missing out on God’s best in their finances because they are squandering their money. To squander is to spend wastefully on things that are worthless. Someone said, “Many times people buy things they don’t need with the money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like. “Never buy impulsively anything you do not really need. Do not buy things to impress other people. Many people are in debts and are struggling to make both ends meet, not because they don’t make enough, but because they’re
squandering their money.
To avoid wasteful spending, you need to understand the difference between needs,wants and desires. Needs are the basic living requirements, wants are to improve our standard of living, and desires are the luxuries of affluence. Pay for necessities first, then wants, and then desires. Secondly, think before you buy. Many times people spend money without even
carefully thinking it through. Here’s a list of questions to help you think before you buy: Think before buying. Have I prayed about it? Before I pay, I pray.Is it necessary? Does it reflect your Christian ethic? Is it the best buy? Is it an impulse item? Would my spouse agree with the decision to purchase? Does it add to or detract from the family? Will this enhance my life? Is it a highly depreciative item? Does it require costly upkeep?
8. SEEK God in prayer
Finally,we need to seek God in prayer for our financial blessings. Unless the Lord gives us the strength and wisdom and blesses the work of our hand and keeps us from unnecessary and unexpected expenses, we will not be able to prosper. The Bible says, `the blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and he adds no sorrow with it’ (Pro. 10:22). He who trusts in the Lord shall prosper (Pro. 28:25). The Lord delights in the prayers of the righteous and answers them with his blessings and riches (Pro. 15:8, 29: 22:4).So let us pray diligently and trust God with all our heart so that he will grant us his strength and wisdom to gain wealth (Pro. 3:5, 6; Deut. 8: 18) and make us a blessing to others (1 Tim. 6:17, 18)!
Dear children of God, God loves you and cares for you. That is why he has given us guidelines
in His Word for financial blessings. Ifwe seriously and sincerely put them into practice, we will surely be able to prosper financially in God’s way. May God bless you and prosper you!