It’s almost inescapable — everywhere you go, everything you read, every conversation that you have… the world is trying to tell you how to spend your money.
Don’t believe me? Try walking through an airport terminal, watching a sporting event on TV, or even just reading a magazine. Advertisements abound in all these media, and the advertisers invariably want to sell us something. They tell us that to live a rewarding life, we need to eat X Food, drive Y Car and and vacation in Z Islands. If you’re part of a sophisticated audience, you may be pitched by certain stock brokerage or financial planning companies. They use a lot of great sounding words, like “retirement,” “future,” and “confidence.”
What’s the problem with all this? Well, there’s nothing wrong with advertisement. But taken together, the world we occupy, and the inhabitants thereof, have given us some pretty crappy financial advice.
It’s easy to find evidence of how the world’s financial thinking can lead to greed, poverty, debt and slavery. So what’s the alternative? Well, God has a plan for your finances. And it’s not as complicated as you might think; in fact, many of these things make sense once you give them some thought.
Here, in brief, is God’s Master Plan for Your Money. It’s a plan that comes from Scripture, and outlines the key things that God intends for us to do with money. Some of these elements don’t fit in very well with a worldly financial outlook. But remember, this isn’t really your money. It’s God’s money. He’s given it to you to manage, and to use to further His purposes on Earth.
God’s Master Plan for Your Money
1. Providing for ourselves and our families.This is at the top of the list, because God says that a person that doesn’t provide for his family is “worse than an unbeliever.” This is the most fundamental duty that we must perform with our money. If we don’t use the resources that God gives to provide for the people that depend on us, we’ve veered off course from the beginning.
2. Tithing to support the local church and build the Kingdom of God. Sadly, this is a practice that has fallen out of use today; even many evangelical Christians don’t even give the 10% tithe of their income that God requires. It’s a shame, too, because our churches depend on tithe money to continue their work in our communities, not to mention foreign missions and other ministries. How can we expect to see effective work in the Kingdom if God’s people aren’t willing to fund His work with the money that He gave them to manage?
3. Giving to the poor, helping our neighbors and being a blessing. We live in the most financially blessed society in the history of the world, but many of us are quick to squander the blessings on ourselves. That’s not God’s plan, though; the New Testament makes it clear that we are blessed to be a blessing, to give to the poor, and to” be generous on every occasion.” Out of our bounty, we’re supposed to make the world a better place, and glorify God in the process.
4. Building an inheritance for future generations. There’s nothing wrong with accumulating wealth, and passing it on to your children. In fact, the more financial security and power you give them, the more effective they can be in continuing the work of the Kingdom. And God says that a large inheritance is a legacy of a righteous life.
5. Enjoying life. Yep, that’s right, I said that God wants you to enjoy your money. I say it because He said that He “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” But notice that this is the last part of the plan, and not the first. If we’ve provided, tithed, blessed and built, then it’s okay to enjoy. Getting this out of order, though, can wreck your whole financial life.
So there it is, God’s Master Plan for Your Money in a nutshell. Upcoming articles will examine each of these areas in detail.