How To Spend Money
The Bible says a ton about money. This week, we're going to focus on how God wants us to spend our money in a way that glorifies Him.
How To Spend Money
Last week talked about what money is and the Biblical work ethic and principles that point followers of Jesus to how we should make money. In doing so we made it a point to remember that money is not evil. We don’t need to be scared of it, BUT, we have to be straight up honest about where our heart is. That we are in love with Jesus who will never leave and not in love with money that will leave in a heartbeat! That we would remember what is written in Hebrews.
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
NOW, with that said. Living in the wealthiest most opportunistic society in world history means that if you work hard and work smart you are going to make money. So what does the Bible tell us we are to do with it once we make it. how does the Bible tell us to spend it.
Well, we need to begin by applying what we know Biblically. For Instance.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Money is for God’s glory and our good.
So what does that look like practically. How do we spend money in a way that glorifies God and our good. And in a way that doesn’t feed our flesh and facilitate our heart to love money.
There are 3 basic general principles in the Bible about how we can spend our money in a way that is both for God’s glory and our good.
The 1st basic principle in the Bible about how we can spend in money a way that is both for God’s glory and our good is:
Understand what needs are and use your money to supply them.
The Bible presumes that we understand part of living is that we must work to make money to supply our needs. But, listen to the presumption of this in a Scripture we looked at last week.
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
He is talking about earning what you need to live and participate in society.
Needs are defined in our society as food, shelter, clothing and transportation. One could argue communication as well, impossible to make money in our economy without it. But doesn’t mean you need the most expensive iPhone!
I can’t participate in society if I don’t have food to eat, I’ll be left begging for food or I will die.
I can’t participate in society if I don’t have shelter, again, I’m left begging.
Clothing, same thing, you die without it.
Transportation. In our society, the way our economy works, you have to be able to get from point a to point b. This doesn’t mean you need a new car, but the day of being able to walk from point a to point b and make a living is for all practical matters gone. It can be done but not in most places. The location of jobs, food and housing is not a reasonable walking distance in most places.
Communication is again a need in our society. You can’t get and keep a job without it.
NOW, a need is not TV, PlayStation, expensive cloths, expensive food, expensive vacations, expensive vehicles, expensive homes, expensive furnishings, etc. Those are wants that are totally cool to purchase if you can Biblically afford it. Because what we can Biblically afford comes after giving and needs!
Our tendency however is to turn wants into needs because our tendency is to find our joy in the lust of things of this world rather than in the things that truly matter. I.E.: Loving being loved by God, loving and being loved by others!
Now, there is a really important subject I need to address here. Our grandparents knew it well and had the discipline to do it, but we have become terribly immature and foolish about it.
Biblically we are told to save money so that our needs can be met in the future. This would include the modern concept of retirement.
Now there was no concept in the ancient world of retirement as we know it. But, everyone knew if they lived long enough, they would get to a place that their ability to earn money would be greatly reduced.
In most cases the children had to support their parents. As a matter of fact, Jesus blasted religious people for declaring their money “for God” (corban) so they could keep from having to take care of their parents . Then after their parents died they would unclaim it for God. Convenient!
The need for children to supply for their parents was because the opportunity for most individuals to save enough to not have to work one day was almost non-existent. In the ancient world most people literally only had one tunic and one pair of sandals.
However, the Bible still presumes that you will save money so that you will always have the ability to supply your own needs! This would logically include saving for unexpected things that happen in life now as well for when you will be unable to work. Where am I getting that from, well:
Joseph taught Pharaoh to save, and Pharaoh listened. One day a huge famine hit, and there sat Egypt, good to go!
Listen to what the Bible says about this. It's basic ground level wisdom that frankly most of us are too foolish to do.
A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it! (Proverbs 13:16) (Living Bible)
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)
24 Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: 25 the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; (Proverbs 30:24-25 )
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. (Ecclesiastes 11:2) (NIV)
Not only a presumption of “saving” through investing but doing so by not putting it all in the same thing, spread it out. Modern day investment people call that diversifying! FYI, those who think the U.S. Stock market is evil and only for rich people. Your retirement is attached to the hip of the U.S. Stock market!
So it's not saying you don’t trust God if you save. It's not being unfaithful to save. It actually honors God, because you are taking His advice and listening to His direction. You are applying His wisdom instead of foolishly and arrogantly disregarding it.
The 2nd basic principle in the Bible about how we can spend in money a way that is both for God’s glory and our good is …
Use money to have fun!
8 And you shall again obey the voice of the LORD and keep all his commandments that I command you today. 9The LORD your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers,10 when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 30:8-10)
It was part of God's covenant with Israel to do so and we don’t have that covenant. But, it shows that God is not against the enjoyment of life and the things of this world. Asceticism is not more righteous!
As we have been learning in 1st John there were those who preached that all matter is evil, including their own bodies. It lead to a way of thinking that basically said you can’t have any fun!
This is the place sin takes over and goes crazy! It’s the place where, if you are not wise, you will never be able to have any fun. Either because you are so much debt you lose everything or because you think you don’t make enough money to have some fun! How do we have fun without falling in love with the fun money allows us to have? how do we have fun while still loving God with all our heart? how do we guard our hearts from taking what God gave us to enjoy and then end up loving it? Remember we are never to LOVE money! If you do you will destroy yourself.
Let me give you two pieces of Biblical wisdom on how to do this without making a mess.
The 1st piece of biblical wisdom on how to do this is...
In order for money to facilitate fun, I have to learn to make financial decisions based on a wise budget.
He who is impulsive exalts folly Proverbs 14:29
You don’t just track expenses, you dictate expenses based on income. I use Every Dollar App.
Budget needs (includes giving and savings) then budget fun. I budget for our vacation. I budget money for Keri to do stuff.
The 2nd piece of biblical wisdom on how to do this is …
Budget before you borrow. If you can’t put the money away for the things you want and still take care of all your needs (including savings) then you can’t afford to borrow.
Now some teach borrowing money is a sin. That is a total twisting up of Scripture. I don’t have time to show you today, but when God established Israel he established rules for both loaning money and borrowing it. Loaning money is an ethical thing to do. It enables economies to grow, small businesses to get started and grow, and the list goes on. So there is nothing wrong with borrowing money. However, You must remember the following.
7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)
12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Therefore, before you borrow money and/or buy something you want, pay yourself the full cost of owning it. If it’s a car then count the payment, gas, insurance, oil, tire replacement, fixing it, etc. If you're getting into a hobby count the full cost of that hobby.
Figure what the payments, maintenance, taxes, etc. will cost. Estimate a little high because that’s how life always works! Do this for a few months and see what happens. If you start going into more debt to afford that debt then you can’t do it. If you can’t pay off your credit card every month then you can’t afford it. If you can’t afford to fix it then you can’t afford it. You will end up enslaved to the person who loaned you the money or enslaved to pay for something that you can’t even use. Because it broke down or you have to work an extra job to pay for it and don’t have time to use it.
Tithing (giving 10% to the Lord) is not an old covenant law fulfilled by Christ, it is a universal law that God has always expected.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 14:18-20) …
This is before the law, and was even before Abraham’s salvation, yet everybody understood that you were supposed to be giving a tenth of everything you got. Even when it was a battle, that you put your own life on the line to win. A tenth was to go to the Lord!
Now how do I give it the Lord. Well, the New Testament calls the church the living breathing representation of the Lord. The church is the Body of Christ therefore we should tithe (give 10%)to our church!
Budget giving as a priority and not a left over.
The New Testament doesn’t call us to just tithe. It invites us to be givers. To take the money we earn that represents the value that people have exchanged with us for the time and talents we have given to them. To take that value and invest that it into things that matter forever. Into things that matter in the Kingdom. And as such gives value back to us forever! Listen to what Jesus said …
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:19-24)
In the end here’s the key. Paul himself had to learn to work through all these issues. After going through all kinds of stuff this is what he learned...
"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
The wisdom and strength to spend your money wisely is found in having a heart consumed with Jesus. Compare the joy you get from spending money to the joy you get in knowing Christ and be honest about which one you are seeking the most.