Did you know that by the age of 20, the average American has seen over a million TV commercials? Is it any wonder that Americans carry a total of more than a billion credit cards? According to the PBS television program “Affluenza,” money plays a major role in 90 percent of U.S. divorces. Could our culture of consumerism be to blame?
Our financial health is important to God. This is well illustrated by the number of scriptures that speak to financial issues. In his topical scriptural commentary titled, The Word on Finances, Larry Burkett discovered more than one thousand references to money in the Bible, second only to the subject of love.
CAN MONEY MANAGEMENT ENHANCE OUR HEALTH?
Matthew 13:22 speaks about the “deceitfulness of riches.” An improper view of money can produce many problems. Here are just four:
- The thought that the wealthy are superior to others.
- The belief that gain is godliness.
- The idea that the wealthy are superior in wisdom and judgment to those in poverty.
- The sense that accumulating wealth will bring happiness.
Poet E.E. Cummings quipped, “I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.” While we may smile at this wordplay, when financial strife hits personally, it really hurts.
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-10
Notice that money by itself is not the root of evil. It is the love of money that is the problem. Money is like electricity — a power that can both heal and kill. We must learn to use this power wisely or else it will have negative effects on our lives.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8
Author and radio personality Dave Ramsey points out how we have all seen a child in a toy store screaming, “I want it! I want it! I want it!” This demand frustrates and embarrasses parents and observers alike. Then Dave brings the point home to us “adults.” Inside each of us is an I-want-it kid. Unless we train that child to live within its means, embarrassment, frustration and shame will come.
We all know people who live within their means and others who don’t. Which group do we observe being in financial bondage and which do we see enjoying financial freedom?
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” – 3 John 2
When we manage the money God has lent us, we experience improved health in many realms — emotional, spiritual and professional. It is difficult for a person whose finances are in shambles to keep focused on their job, family and friendships.
“Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches — feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.” – Proverbs 30:8, 9
Notice the Proverbs 30 request of God: “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” What the author is really asking God for is to have his immediate needs met. With an abundance of riches, he fears he will forget God and turn away, but with too little, he fears disgracing the name of God by stealing. “Just give me what I need — no more, no less.”
What do you think? Could you pray that prayer right now?
WHAT IF WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY?
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” – Hebrews 13:5
“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” – Psalm 40:17
“For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper.” – Psalm 72:12
An ancient parable from India describes a wise woman who found a precious gem in a stream while traveling in the mountains. The next day she met a hungry traveler, so the wise woman shared her food with him. When he opened her bag, the traveler spotted the gem and asked her to give it to him. She gave it without hesitation.
The traveler left, rejoicing. He knew that the stone was valuable enough to provide him security for a lifetime. But a few days later, he returned the gem to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how precious the gem is, and I know you know. I bring it back in the hope that you can give me something even more valuable. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the gem.”
HELPING AND SHARING
Perhaps you’re familiar with Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. This beautiful story is actually a radical prescription for living.
The Old Testament had clearly taught the Jews to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but just exactly who is our neighbor? What determination are we supposed to use? Jesus taught us through the example of the Good Samaritan that anyone in need is our neighbor.
“If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs . . . for the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.'” – Deuteronomy 15:7, 8, 11
“Then He also said to him who invited Him, ‘When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.'” – Luke 14:12-14
“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” – Proverbs 11:25
If you need help getting your finances in order, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is a great place to start. It is also a good idea to consult with a reputable financial planner. Ask for recommendations from friends and neighbors or check out Google reviews of professionals in your area. It is a great time to get out of debt and experience the peace that financial stability can bring to your life.