We are continuing today on our “It’s Only Money” trek. In each of our Wisdom Notes, we are exploring a different trail on our trek to true wealth. As we accumulate wealth, it is also important to set priorities for the use of that wealth. So, let’s continue on our trail to financial independence as we examine these truths.
Biblical Priorities for the Use of Money
Proverbs has much to say on the subject of our financial obligations. While there may be some disagreement with the exact order of the priority of the following obligations, I believe that we will all agree that these should be priorities which govern the use of the money God has permitted us to manage.
1. We should give to the furtherance of the Good News.
In the Old Testament, God carefully prescribed the tithes and sacrifices which He expected from His people. While we are no longer under the law, the spirit of giving still applies to us today.
Proverbs teaches the need to give of the abundance He has provided, and that this will result in even greater blessings.
Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.”
Paula and I have personally found that our giving first to the Lord has developed our faith, and we have never lacked any necessity.
2. We have an obligation to pay our debts to others without delay.
Within the business world and for many personally, there is a tendency to withhold payment as long as possible. We should never withhold payments beyond the due date, even if there is a grace period. Others are depending on our prompt payments, even large companies. This also includes the taxes we owe. I don’t like paying more in taxes than is required, but if you owe it, then pay it.
Romans 13:6-7, “Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.”
“Pay promptly and fairly in every situation. It is a reflection of your character.”
If you are fortunate enough to own a business and have others working with you, always pay on time, including withholding taxes that are due.
James 5:4, “For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
3. We have a responsibility to provide for the needs of our own household.
While this concept is woven throughout Proverbs, it is clearly stated in 1 Timothy 5:8, “But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.”
You are to take care of your family and be fully responsible to them, but this does not mean that you provide for them in excess while others are in dire need.
4. We have an obligation to help provide for the needs of the poor.
If you are wise in how you handle your wealth, you will not only be able to meet your obligations and take care of your family properly, but you will also be able to assist those who are less fortunate than you are. In fact, as you become more prosperous you should use your wealth to minister to the needs of the poor.
Proverbs is filled with verses about helping others and, in turn, helping yourself.
Proverbs 11:24-26, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need.”
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
Proverbs 14:21, “It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.”
Proverbs 14:31, “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.”
Proverbs 19:17, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord— and he will repay you!”
Proverbs 22:9, “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.”
Proverbs 28:27, “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.”
Proverbs 31:20, “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.”
5. We should make provisions for our future needs.
You are obligated to provide for your families in terms of their present needs, but you should also save in order to meet future needs. This is not hoarding wealth but making wise provision for the days ahead.
Proverbs 6:6-8, “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 labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.”
Proverbs 21:20, “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.”
It seems like many people do not understand the correlation between spending even small amounts of money and the accumulation of wealth over time. Paula and I observe frequently that those who are in the habit of spending small amounts on convenience items, fast food, or premium coffee are usually the same people that struggle to meet their obligations each month. There is a direct correlation, especially over time.
“Be willing to make small sacrifices today so that you won’t have to make large sacrifices tomorrow.”
6. We should make wise investments.
You should invest your time and resources wisely, either in your own business, real estate, or in profitable and safe companies. Proverbs commends the godly woman because she took the money she had and invested it wisely.
Proverbs 31:16, “She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
She not only invested in real estate, she started her own agri-business.
As a career entrepreneur, I lean towards investing in your own business, but you must do what is comfortable for you. Consider, though, that nearly 70% of all millionaires became wealthy by starting their own businesses.
7. We should make provisions for an inheritance.
While I believe that we should pursue leaving a financial inheritance, it is far better for us to leave a heritage of godliness and wisdom to our children and family than a large amount of money.
Proverbs does encourage us to plan for future generations.
Proverbs 13:22, “Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.”
We do need to be careful on the timing of releasing of that inheritance. The person receiving it should be wise enough to grow it even more.
Proverbs 20:21, “An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.”
In our next Wisdom Note, we will explore the Biblical priorities for the use of money.