Do you believe your financial principles are a spiritual matter? Do you believe the Bible informs us on how we are to use money? If you answered “yes” to both questions, you’re right!
The Bible contains over 2,300 verses about money! According to Randy Alcorn’s book, The Treasure Principle, 15 percent of everything Jesus says in the gospels relates to the topic of money. But why? Alcorn says it’s because “there’s a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. We may try to divorce our faith and our finances, but God sees them as inseparable.”
The foundational biblical truth about money is that “our money” is not actually ours—it’s God’s. Nothing in this life is truly ours. We are merely stewards of God’s resources, and we are to use them for his glory, his purposes, and the furthering of his kingdom.
Not only does God entrust us with resources, but he also instructs us on how to faithfully steward them. In Simplifying the Money Conversation, Christian stewardship and finance expert Ron Blue sums up the entirety of Scripture’s teaching on how to handle money in five habits (15). These are what I call the “Thrive 5.”
1. Give Generously
God calls his people to give generously from the resources he entrusts to them. Generous giving is a continual act of faith, worship, stewardship, and obedience. From the Old Testament to the New, we see that believers are called to give generously from their income for the furthering of God’s kingdom.
Giving is often one of the most difficult stewardship or financial principles to live out, regardless of one’s financial situation. As humans, our natural leaning is to believe that we never have enough money, but when we obediently, worshipfully, prayerfully, sacrificially, and joyfully give, we actively declare our trust in God’s provision and resist the temptation to trust in money.
You may be wondering why I listed “give generously” first. The answer is simple—God is to be first in every aspect of our lives, including our finances. Colossians 1:18 reminds us “that in everything he [Jesus] might be preeminent.”
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
2. Spend Less Than You Earn
We must live on the resources that God entrusts to us now, not on what we think he will entrust to us in the future. We live in a day when outspending our income and having credit card debt is normal. But when we as believers spend more than has been entrusted to us, we tell God through our actions that what he has provided is not enough, and we presume upon God’s future financial provision (which he may or may not provide).
To spend less than you earn, you’ll need to budget and know the conditions of your finances well. Make a plan, strive for contentment, and enjoy what God has provided you with today!
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…” (Heb. 13:5)
3. Avoid Debt
Principles two and three go hand in hand. Though debt is not forbidden in Scripture, it is heavily warned against and never deemed wise. Debt binds our future income and makes commitments for resources we do not have today.
Debt should never be entered into lightly, and it should only be used with an abundance of prayer and wisdom. Be content with what God has entrusted to you now and be careful not to presume on what he may or may not entrust to you tomorrow.
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Prov. 22:7).
4. Save Biblically
Saving money is biblically permissible if it is done with a Christ-centered heart and proper submission to God’s will for the money he has entrusted to us. Save biblically for emergencies, to pay cash for all purchases (large or small), for retirement (the season in life where you are no longer earning a paycheck), etc.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” (Prov. 13:22)
5. Set Long-Term Goals
You may have heard it said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” When you prayerfully set long-term financial goals, you inform and prioritize short-term spending and saving.
Set long-term goals for generosity, getting out of debt, building an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses, paying off your mortgage, hitting your retirement savings need, paying for your child’s future education, etc.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)
The Thrive 5 principle applies to all ages, economic scenarios, and income levels. The Bible has so much to teach us regarding money. The question all of us must ask ourselves is will we listen?
If you want to thrive financially, follow these five steps:
- Give generously
- Spend less than you earn
- Avoid debt
- Save biblically
- Set long-term goals