“Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today”

Since I have created this blog to help you stretch your money, I have decided to do just that and have put new pricing on my book.

Check out Amazon and Smashwords for new pricing. There are reviews and a sample chapter on this site. Check out tabs above.

I would love to hear from you after you read it. 41NydAJhNoL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Here is a preview of Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today

“Money is often on my mind. Chances are it is on your mind, too. Whether we have a lot of it, just enough of it, not much of it or none at all, money is on our minds.”

With frugality in her DNA, the author explains her lengthy title in the foreword: “Since your perception of riches has a great deal with how you approach your handling of money, the best starting place is Money, How to Rich Without It. In this book, I talk about millionaires who don’t fit the profile you would normally expect as well as some people I know who are rich beyond description although they don’t have any money. In these two extremes, I found a common denominator: the right attitude toward money.

… perhaps it’s time to rethink the wisdom of those who have gone before us. A miserly attitude is not the answer, but because they survived during some very rough times, maybe their advice is worth another look, thus the reason for a look at Money: How to Stretch It Using 10 Hints from the Past.

We do, however, live in the 21st century and have advantages that our ancestors could not have even dreamed of, thus the addition of and the Technology of Today. The appendix has an abundance of websites and resources that will help you stretch your dollars.”

Written from a Christian perspective, the book also includes an overview of what the Bible says about money.

Order paperback and Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Money-Without-Stretch-Using-Technology/dp/1479389161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391084095&sr=8-1&keywords=money%3A+how+to+be+rich+without+it

Download available in all formats, including PDF and Sony Reader: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/221060

How to Manage Money: Conclusion and Powerful Illustration

This is the last post of what was originally going to be seven posts on how to manage money by my guest blogger Richard L. Blake. This eighth post presents a conclusion and a moving illustration. For the other seven posts, begin with 3/11/2016 with “How to Manage Money.”

FINALLY . . . .

We have considered the foundational biblical principles that God owns everything, and that we are his stewards who will one day give an account. The practical counsel offered is consistent with those biblical principles. Now is the time for an examination of your own stewardship. Are you ready to give account? Remember, the landlord in the Parable of the Talents came at an unexpected time and demanded an account. Wouldn’t today be a good time to ask the Lord to show you ways you can be more faithful with the assets he has entrusted to you? God is telling us to prepare for a long tomorrow by using our short todays to exchange earthly treasures for heavenly ones. Resolve now to build those riches for eternity.

 

I want to share with you the story of a man who did just that. In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. For his graduation present, his wealthy parents gave him a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the need of the world’s hurting people for the Gospel. Finally, Borden wrote home that he desired to spend the rest of his life as a missionary. Upon hearing the news, one of his friends expressed disbelief that Bill was “throwing himself away as a missionary.”

William entered Yale University and soon began a small prayer group that gave birth to a movement that eventually spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting in such groups. His father passed away during his years there, leaving him the vast family fortune that came from silver mining and real estate. Upon his graduation in 1909, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers, not because he was a wealthy heir but because he was still focused on fulfilling his missionary calling.

Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he followed through with his plan to sail overseas in obedience to God’s call on his life, and in 1912 he set sail for China. Because he was hoping to work there with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted cerebral meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

Was Borden’s untimely death a waste? Not in Heaven’s perspective. When the news of Borden’s death was cabled back to the United States nearly every major American newspaper reported on it. As stated in his biography, “A wave of sorrow went around the world . . ..” Borden had walked away from his earthly fortune to take the precious Gospel of Jesus to the nations of the world. Most regarded it as a tragedy; however, God took the tragedy and did something far greater than Borden could ever do himself. When thousands of young men and women read Borden’s story in the newspapers of America, it inspired them to leave all they had and give their lives to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Borden left an extraordinary legacy, one that extended beyond his brief life and example, as he bequeathed $1 million to Christian missions (equivalent to $24 million in 2016), including the China Inland Mission (CIM) that he was joining, Moody Bible Institute and Moody Church, Princeton Theological Seminary, several Presbyterian mission boards and other Christian agencies. CIM established and dedicated the Borden Memorial Hospital to ministry in Lanzhou in northwest China, an area populated with Muslims like those Borden hoped to serve. In her introduction to his biography, Mary Taylor wrote, “Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice.”

When Borden’s family was given his Bible, they found three statements he had penned inside the cover. Just after he renounced his fortune to go to missions he wrote in his Bible the words, “No Reserves.” Originally, his father told him he would always have a job in the company, but at a later point he told him he would never let him work in the company again. At that time Borden wrote in his Bible, “No Retreats.” And then below those two statements his family read these words written shortly before his death in Egypt, “No Regrets.”

No reserves; No retreats; No regrets.

Borden’s story exemplifies the biblical teaching of stewardship of all of life’s resources. And it humbles me. We must continually evaluate our lives by the teaching of sacred Scripture. We are all challenged to keep eternity’s values in view in the investment of our time, our talents, and our treasures. If we will do this, we too can live without reserve, retreat, or regret. Will you join with me now in humble commitment to this standard?

—Richard L. Blake, President, Xtend Ministries International

 

How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel: Get Out of Debt, Save, Invest

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part seven), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

Get out of debt

         This is part of the matter of budgeting and spending control but I mention it separately because debt is a particular problem for many. I want to plainly state that you should avoid debt. It is not that debt, per se, is sinful, but that it is burdensome. Proverbs says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (10:22). Debt and payments are sorrowful; they are a burden, not a blessing.

The primary pathway to indebtedness for most people is using credit cards. In the United States in 2015, for example, the average household credit card debt was $15,355. Here in Poland the average debt per card is $1,675, much better than the U.S. but still a threat to financial peace.

Credit cards facilitate impulse buying, typically for unnecessary and self-indulgent purchases. When using credit, consumers buy more, buy what they don’t need, and pay more for it.

The “buy now, pay later” mentality brings people into debt that often entails exorbitant interest. People decide to buy on credit, thinking they can afford to make the payments. A person who carries a $2,000 balance (at 19.5 percent interest) is told he can pay just $75. But he doesn’t realize that the first $32.50 of that $74 is interest! And if you carry a $7,000 balance on an 18 percent credit card and pay the 2 percent minimum payment each month, you’ll end up paying more than $20,000 for that $7,000. That’s selling yourself into slavery!

Some people use credit cards for the convenience, paying off the full amount each month so they don’t ever pay interest costs. I do this myself. While this has advantages, it also has drawbacks. Citibank, a global financial company, calculates that a consumer using a credit card will buy 26 percent more than he would if he were carrying cash, even if he pays it all off without interest charges.

Here is helpful counsel if you use credit cards:

  • Never use credit cards for anything but your budgeted purchases.
  • Pay your balance in full each month.
  • The first month you have a credit card bill you can’t pay in full, perform plastic surgery—cut your credit card in half and don’t get another one.

If debt has you in its grip, resolve right now to do something about it. Make debt repayment a significant part of your monthly budget, paying off the highest interest balances first and then adding that monthly payment to the payments you are making on other debts. Cut all future expenditures to the minimum until you have paid off all debt. And especially, do not incur any new debt. Operate on this principle: “If I can’t afford it now, it isn’t God’s will now.”

This is a complex subject that is worthy of more time than we have now. Yet you must start now dealing with this danger. Proverbs speaks a relevant word to us about this: “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (22:3).

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Image title: Marines and sailors get paid twice a month to pay their bills, necessary expenses and travel expenses, regardless if they are driving out of town or driving to work. In order to have extra spending money for holiday gifts, personal attire or video games, a Marine or sailor needs to ensure they limit themselves to how much money they can afford to spend.

 

Save

         Any money management plan must also include savings. The Bible speaks plainly at this point: “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get” (Proverbs 21:20). A good biblical example of this is Joseph, who led the Egyptians to save the produce of the ground during seven years of abundance so as to be prepared for the future seven years of famine (Genesis 41:25-57). Saving plans for an uncertain future.

Saving is good practice for at least two more reasons. First, it brings needed discipline to our lives. It helps us to say “no” to impulsive and unnecessary spending.

Furthermore, saving helps to build wealth not only from mere accumulation of money but also from the amazing effect of “compounded interest.” Compound interest means that the interest you earn each year is added to your principal, so that the balance doesn’t merely grow, it grows at an increasing rate. This is one of the most useful concepts in finance. It’s the basis of everything from a personal savings plan to the long-term growth of the stock market.

The longer money compounds, the faster it grows. Money growing at 6 percent per year will double in about 12 years, but it will be worth four times as much in 24 years.

You may think the amount you can save is too small to matter, but it adds up faster than you think. If you were to save $5 per month, at 5 percent interest compounded each month and did that continually for 10 years you’d have put $600 into savings. But the account would be worth $776. And, even if you didn’t add a single dollar, it would be worth more than $1,500 in another 15 years.

1-1204463487cJKyCredit cards and other open-ended accounts use compound interest against you. That’s why “minimum payments” are likely to keep you in debt forever. But when you save, this principle is a great help to you. Albert Einstein said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”

Compound interest requires you to sacrifice today to reap a benefit tomorrow. It may be that you’ll have to adjust your lifestyle a little to save a few dollars today. But, it’s certain that the future reward will be greater than the sacrifice.

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Please note this, however. Saving should come after giving. A good personal rule is to tithe 10 percent, save 10 percent, and live on 80 percent. And that’s just a place to start both in giving and savings. John Wesley, whom I mentioned earlier, offered this wise counsel: “Make all you can; give all you can; save all you can!”

Invest

         The wise woman of Proverbs 31 “considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard” (verse 16). This is an illustration of investing. It is using a smaller sum of money wisely in order to get larger gain, or return on investment, at a later time. Sound money management would include investment of some of your savings in some venture after you have gotten your financial house in order, that is, after you’ve adjusted your lifestyle and have done all the things we’ve just mentioned.

Silver-Coins-Public-Domain-300x225Common places where you may invest your money include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and business ventures (even your own). Other investment opportunities are also available. Be on guard against supposed “great opportunities” to get rich overnight. Those are nothing more than gambling. But if you will do your research carefully, pray diligently, and be willing to wait for the return, you can help to provide for your family in the future. Your gain can also free you up for other opportunities to give and minister—to lay up treasures in heaven. That’s the ultimate investment opportunity!

Before investing in any area, make sure you get wise counsel from people who are experienced and knowledgeable about that investment product. Never trust your instinct. And the more important the decision, the greater should be the number of counselors. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

 

How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Work, Give, Live on a Budget

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part six), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

At this point we need to look at the lifestyle of a steward. While this is not the place for technical financial advice, we would do well to consider how to apply the biblical principles we just reviewed to the matter of managing money. I want to offer some basic money management counsel consistent with scripture and sound financial practices.

Work

         This is foundational to a steward’s lifestyle. The first thing God did with Adam was to put him to work: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). And in the New Testament, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

God is surely the provider of our money and every other blessing. But he expects us to work. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (3:23-24). And Proverbs says, “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase (13:11). Getting wealth is the result of faithful, diligent, hard work along with biblical management of that income.rucni-prace

Give

         While stewardship involves more than giving, it never involves less than giving. God entrusts wealth to us, not so we can spend on ourselves lavishly, but so we can give to others. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed . . . you will be enriched in everything for all liberality . . . ” (2 Corinthians 9:8, 11). Author Randy Alcorn says, “Too often we assume that God entrusts more to us to increase our standard of living, yet his stated purpose is to increase our standard of giving.”

The starting point in our giving should be the tithe, a biblical term meaning “a tenth part.” This was God’s requirement of the ancient Israelites. God made clear that the tithe belonged to him. Failure to tithe was to rob God: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). Notice that last sentence, “In tithes and offerings.” Giving is something that goes beyond the tithe. Since a voluntary “offering” was something God considered “due” him under the Old Covenant, why would we think it acceptable to do less under the New Covenant? Put another way, why should we do less under Grace than under Law?

Far more than mere tithing, the Old Testament emphasizes “freewill offerings” or “voluntary offerings.” These were included with the tithes: “Bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, your offerings to fulfill a vow, your voluntary offerings . . .” (Deuteronomy 12:6). The people were thrilled with giving far beyond the tithe, as evidenced in their joyful contributions toward the building of the Tabernacle: “The people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord” (Exodus 35:29).

Christians who consider tithing the high ground of giving are actually lowering the Old Testament standard, which merely started with the tithe but did not end there. Should the church, transformed by the redemptive work of Christ, experience such devoted, joyful giving any less than our Israelite counterparts? Or should we experience it all the more?

Remember what we said earlier about laying up treasures in heaven? Giving is one of the chief ways we do that.lossy-page1-800px-The_Child_At_Your_Door,_400,000_Orphans_Starving,_no_state_aid_available,_Campaign_for_$30,000,000._American..._-_NARA_-_512726.tiff

Live on a Budget

         This seems a logical thing to do yet many fail to employ such an important tool in money management. This involves planning and record keeping and it’s something any wise money manager should do. But before going into the specifics, some general lifestyle counsel is in order.

  • Learn to be content. The source of your contentment must never be from having more money or things because you will always require more to maintain the same level of contentment. True and lasting contentment comes from the Lord. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am . . . I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11, 13). “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Two great threats to contentment are coveting things and comparing our lifestyle to others, so be on guard against those dangers.
  • Make an effort to live more simply. Every possession requires time, and often money to maintain. Too many or the wrong type can harm our relationship with the Lord and others. Advertisers communicate their message that you can’t live without their product—but you really can. A simple, quiet life is the best environment for us to grow in our relationship with God and with others.
  • Submit spending decisions to the Lord. When it comes to purchasing things we rarely have to do it “right now.” Major purchases, especially, should be avoided until you have prayed about it and asked God to bring clarity to the decisions. Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean God wants you to buy it. Since he holds us accountable for wise money management, it makes sense that he would want us to seek his guidance in deciding whether to spend. Remember, decisions have consequences. God will help you, but he will not eliminate the consequences of your bad decisions. Therefore, seek the Lord.

th-2While you’re working on adjusting your lifestyle, begin living on a budget. This is simply your plan for how you will allocate your income. Most people have a fairly regular monthly income. A budget is your plan to divide that income into some specific categories so that you don’t overspend. These would include things like your tithe, rent or mortgage, utilities, food, clothing and all your other regular needs, even a small amount for some miscellaneous things. The implementation of your budget requires careful record keeping for all expenditures. Budgeting and record keeping will help you get a grip on your spending. Many problems in managing money occur simply because people are not paying attention to what they are spending. Proverbs counsels, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever” (27:23-24).

 

How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Stewardship

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part five), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

While God retains ownership of all things, he entrusts the management of those things to us, expecting we will use them wisely and in a way that honors him. This is the main point of several stewardship parables in the Gospels.

562px-Parable_of_the_Talents_001Consider the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). A man about to leave on a journey entrusted his possessions to three of his servants, giving to each different amounts but having the same expectation of faithfulness in their stewardship. Two of the servants invested wisely what was entrusted, but the third simply buried his master’s money in the ground. Upon the man’s return he called his servants to account and rewarded the two who had been faithful in their stewardship. But to the servant who had buried the money, refusing to steward it faithfully, the master said, “You wicked, lazy servant.” He was too lazy or scared to do what was right by his master, unfaithful with his money. Seeking safety, he lost everything.painting1

This parable teaches that we’re entrusted by God with different financial assets, gifts, and opportunities to have an impact on people for eternity, thereby making preparations for our own eternal future. The Scripture says, “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We’ll be held accountable for how we’ve stewarded God’s assets in this life. We’re to prepare for our master’s return by contributing to the growth of his kingdom through wisely investing his assets. That is not just money, but it does include money. A faithful steward handles all of God’s blessings in God’s way for God’s glory.

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How to Manage Money:What the Bible Says About Ownership

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part four), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

Appletons'_Wesley_JohnA man once rushed upon John Wesley shouting, “Mr. Wesley, Mr. Wesley, something terrible has happened! Your house has burned to the ground!”

Thinking for a moment, Wesley replied, “No. The Lord’s house has burned to the ground. That means one less responsibility for me.” Wesley’s response reflected a basic reality of life—God is the owner of all things and we are simply the manager of his assets.

God’s ownership of all things is clearly expressed in many passages in the Bible. Consider these, for example:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1).

“Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14).

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“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).


“Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me”
(Job 41:11). 

“For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it” (Psalm 50:101-2).

“‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:8).

There are many other scriptures that make this point but these are enough to convince us that we own nothing; God retains ownership of everything. That extends even to our very selves, for God says, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Not only does God own everything, He gives to us our ability to make money and determines how much of his wealth he will entrust to us:

“Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up” (1 Samuel 2:7).

Any consideration of managing money, therefore, must begin with this: God owns it 600px-Globe.svgall.

How to Manage Money: Why A Biblical Mindset Matters

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction on this series, see the 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”

Maintaining a biblical mindset about God’s provisions matters for at least two reasons. First, it matters because of our relationship. We have been made in God’s likeness, fashioned for fellowship with him. He has redeemed us by the blood of his Son, showered us with blessings, and loves us with an everlasting love. Our response to this must be one of gratitude, and one way our gratitude is evident is in the way we manage the gifts he has given.

Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s expectations in response to his goodness:

800px-Foster_Bible_Pictures_0065-1_The_Israelites_Gather_Manna_in_the_WildernessH.M. Snyder, illustrator for the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster

“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth . . . And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:16-18a, 19).

In other words, God is paying attention to our response to his goodness in providing so abundantly for us. When we ungratefully receive and improperly use his provisions we wound his heart and injure our fellowship with him. Guard your relationship with the Provider, not the provision.

Another reason for maintaining this biblical mindset is because of our rewards. Scriptures teach us to view money and all materials things through the lens of eternity. Heavenly rewards await those who faithfully manage the provisions God entrusts to us on earth.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of money and rewards this way:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

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Jesus is asking us to see material things with an eternal perspective. This view sees all earthly treasures as not only a provision God makes for our own temporal needs, but also as a means to serve God and help others. In the process, we store up eternal treasures in heaven. To be sure, Christ’s words about storing up treasures in heaven can be broadly applied to how we spend our time and use our abilities. The Scriptures are clear that there are rewards for those things, as well. However, the central emphasis of this text is about giving and unselfishly using money and possessions.

We store up treasures on Earth by accumulating and preserving them. We store up treasures in heaven by holding loosely, sharing generously, and giving away earthly treasures for God’s Kingdom purposes. This is very practical investment counsel; invest in what has lasting value. Money is only of temporary value—unless, that is, it’s used and spent and shared and given with a view toward heavenly treasure. Moths destroy fabric, rust corrodes metals, and thieves can steal almost anything. No earthly treasure is safe. Yet even if they escape moths and rust and thieves, they cannot escape the coming fire of God that will consume the material world (2 Peter 3:7). Therefore, Jesus is not condemning wealth as morally wrong, but rather, he’s telling us it’s a bad investment.

Ultimately, we will die and everything we managed to hold onto in this world will be left behind. Whatever treasures we store up in heaven will be waiting when we arrive. Jesus is not telling us to avoid storing up treasures; in fact, he specifically tells us to do so. He’s just telling us to stop storing them in the wrong place—on Earth where they won’t last—and start storing them in the right place—Heaven, where they’ll last forever. Missionary Jim Elliot had this insight when he wrote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

How to Manage Money: Biblical Principles

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series, see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

The_Black_Death

The Black Death

I ask you to come with me 669 years back in time to Lubeck, Germany. In 1347, as the Black Plague swept across Europe killing over 30 percent of the population, the people of Lubeck were terrified. The wealthy citizens sought to enter the huge fortified monastery for shelter. But the monks, afraid of contamination by the disease from the outside world, locked their gates and strictly refused admission.

The nobles and the wealthy pleaded in vain. They then took their money, jewelry and valuables and threw them over the wall, pleading for admission that they might find safety. Within a short time, the money and valuables piled up a meter high. Yet the contaminated treasure was left untouched and the gates remained closed.

Now, why did all these monies and valuables lie at the base of the monastery walls? Because the rich thought that money thrown away would save their lives, and the monks thought that contaminated money accepted would kill them.

There were two entirely different views of wealth. What is your view? This is a very important issue for us to consider.

Develop a Biblical Mindset About Money

When it comes to money and material possessions we find three different views in the church.

Poverty Theology

The premise of Poverty Theology is that money is inherently evil and thus to be poor is to be spiritual. The orientation then is towards shunning wealth. This makes no sense because some of God’s most godly saints are wealthy. Job was the richest man in the ancient east (Job 1:3; 42:12). Abraham was exceedingly wealthy (Genesis 13:2). It’s not a sin to be rich, nor to enjoy the things wealth may bring. In 1 Timothy we are told that God is the one who “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (6:17). Solomon, famed for both his riches and his wisdom, wrote, “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

Some may ask, “Doesn’t the Bible say that money is the root of all evil?” No, it does not. Rather, it says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Money itself is not evil but evil resides in people who love it. People may be moral or immoral, but money is morally neutral and can be used for good things or for bad. Therefore, we must reject the idea that money or material things are inherently unspiritual.

Prosperity Theology

The premise of Prosperity Theology is that money is a signature gift of God and thus to be rich is indicates God’s special favor. The orientation then is toward splurging wealth. Prosperity theology looks exactly like materialism but it professes to be based on God’s word and is therefore not only permissible but also desirable. Following God through giving and other forms of obedience become a formula for abundant provision and the celebration of prosperous living. There are some Christian leaders that exhort their listeners to give liberally while they live in palatial mansions, own private jets, and pay for luxurious hotel suites while they travel to spread their message of prosperity.

Of course, there are scriptures that seem to link material prosperity with God’s blessing. For instance, God gave material wealth to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, and Job because he approved of them. Some passages offer material rewards for faithful financial giving:

“You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings” (Deuteronomy 15:10).

      “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine; The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 3:9-10; 11:25)

      “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (Malachi 3:10).

God does do those things these scriptures promise, but that’s not the whole picture. The scriptures also warn against the dangers of wealth—especially that in their prosperity people often forget the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:7-18). But even when people love and obey God they still may suffer. In fact, they’re promised suffering (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12). Jeremiah, a righteous man who lived in adversity, complained to God, “Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? (Jeremiah 12:1). His question echoed the psalmist who wrote, “This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth” (Psalm 73:12).

If, as prosperity theology maintains, material wealth is a reliable indicator of God’s reward and approval, then crime bosses, drug lords, and embezzlers must be his most favored people, while Jesus and the apostle Paul must be on his blacklist. So, prosperity theology does not square with the teaching of scripture.

Provision Theology

The premise of Provision Theology is that money belongs to God but He has entrusted wealth to us to be used wisely. The orientation then is towards stewarding wealth. This is the biblically correct view of wealth. Our good God has promised to provide for all our needs according to his riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). His provision is therefore good and not to be shunned or apologized for. Neither is it to be coveted or boasted about. The right approach is to see money and all materials resources as God’s property placed under our management. We are stewards of his provisions.

 

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