Biblical Financial Guidelines
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow (Proverbs 13:11).
Small drops make a big ocean. Likewise honest money deposited in small amounts can become a big amount when you need it most.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich (Proverbs 23:4).
Even machines, if used continuously, wear out. How much more will human beings wear out if they continue the pursuit of riches!
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone (Proverbs 23:5).
The world knows many stories of rich men losing their money through misfortunes, natural calamities or even bad management. Money that is with you today can be gone tomorrow; they can fly away.
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s (Matthew 22:21).
There is money that we owe to the Government. They are generally called “taxes.” God expects us to pay that money.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
If your riches are kept in a bank’s locker, your heart will be there. If your riches are kept in heaven, your heart will be there.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19).
Storing up more than necessary on earth is not a wise decision. There is a better place called heaven where you can invest for eternity. Never will that investment fail to pay rich dividends. If you invest there, you can have a happy, secure and rewarding retirement in the most beautiful place in the Universe.
You cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 6:24).
The word to be noted is “cannot.” That makes it impossible. And for the last 2000 years, God has not changed that statement. It is impossible to do so. So it is not possible to serve God and money at the same time. Isn’t that simple enough?
Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38).
A hand that does not open to give, cannot be open to receive anything in return. It only opens to grab. That becomes greed. So go by the simple principle. Give. Then, it will also be given to you as well.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Luke 6:38 / 2 Corinthians 9:6 / Proverbs 11:24,25).
God’s economy is different. He takes into account the standards you use, to give. When you give generously, He often returns a bigger share to you; “pressed down, shaken together and running over; which will be poured into your lap.”
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
We all try to wish away evil from the world. But has anyone stopped to think about one root cause of evil in this world? Is it not the love of money; the eagerness to get it at any cost and the false hopes of things that money can buy that plunge the world into evil? Yes, that is one root from which most evil fruits grow!
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9).
Note the following words:
Note well these words. They tell their own story. And they do NOT live happily ever after!
But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).
This is a maxim you need to observe if you are a servant of God. Once your ministry is fruitful it becomes noticed. Then people will come to you. They will give money. Though “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14); soon, if you are not careful, you might start thinking of your godliness as a means to financial gain. There starts the end of your godly ministry. Then the ministry will continue as financial ministry. And you instead of being the minister; will become the person ministered to. The shepherd becomes a sheep (waiting to be fed) and a wolf (waiting to devour) at the same time!
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. … You have hoarded wealth in the last days (James 4:1,3).
Many people make money by denying the rightful money that belongs to others like laborers. This money is hoarded up. God will call that to account; for these are the last days.
For God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Today, giving is mostly done under compulsion. Fear of punishment, promise of blessing, the manipulation to give immediately; all these are used to make people give. But God loves a cheerful giver; who has decided in his heart how much to give. Such an attitude is highly valued by God.
“You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. … You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What your brought home, I blew away. Why? … Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me” (Haggai 1:6, 9 / Malachi 3:8).
This is a common experience with many Christians. If this is your experience, God is asking you to give careful thought to your ways. Have you neglected to take care of God’s concerns? Have you failed to give to God first? Do not rob God of the money that belongs to Him. Then when you give to God what is His due you will have blessings and a purse with NO holes in it.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10).
This is a seemingly tough requirement. But look at the promise of blessing if the command is obeyed; it is staggering.
The first thing is that people do not know what is this firstfruits. In Israel, God had commanded the people to bring in the first sheaf of grain they harvested and wave it before the Lord. A specific day was commanded for this. The people were not to eat anything from the new harvest until they had waved this sheaf. It also had rich symbolic significance associated with the resurrection of Jesus. Read Manna 377.
In today’s context it means the first salary you get; or the increase you get as you get a promotion or a new job. There are no strict rules. But still it can defined as the first increase you get.
The second thing is that people find it difficult to give the best of the firstfruits (Exodus 23:19a, 34:26a, Ezekiel 44:30). They look at the difficulties they are having; the loans they have to repay and the immediate needs to be met. But if you can give to God the best of your firstfruits before you use any part of your money for anything else; the blessing of God will overflow in your lives.
“He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe. A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor. Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you” (Proverbs 11:15, 17:18, 22:26–27).
When someone approaches you to have you put up security for debts they will talk most charmingly and pleadingly as if if you don’t do anything immediately they will be doomed. If you feel pressurized, ask for time. Pray. Read these Scriptures again. Then if you have the ability give an interest free loan (Ref. Psalm 37:26). If you can give without expecting even that to be returned.
But do not strike hands in pledge and put up security for others. You will surely suffer; so says God’s word in a definite manner. And many examples abound around you and me of those who suffer likewise.
Secondly, remember that most of those who approach you are in debt today because of bad financial policies they followed. Trying to help them by putting up security for them would lead you into financial crisis. Will God help you then when you have clearly violated what He has commanded so plainly through His Word?
Finally, there are people who are born poor. Teach them to give to the Lord. The Lord Himself will then bless them and bring them out of debt and bless them financially.
“As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:16).
What is this boasting that James is talking about. It is the boasting about doing business. This rebuke is to those people who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money” (see v.13). James points out that you do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. Therefore he advises you to make plans by submitting it to God’s will. He says that instead of boasting about your plans for tomorrow, you should say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (see v. 15). Who knows whether God has given you life for tomorrow (see v. 14)? When you think about that, business becomes a secondary priority; doesn’t it?
For the Lord your God … shows no partiality and accepts no bribes (Deuteronomy 10:17). Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery” (2 Chronicles 19:7).
Do not accept bribes. Your God does not accept them. A man who lends his money without usury (“usury” refers to the practice of lending money to people at unfairly high rates of interest) and does not accept a bribe against the innocent; will never be shaken says God’s Word (see Psalm 15:5). It is also written: “A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live (Proverbs 15:27).
Some other passages are: Exodus 23:8, Deuteronomy 16:19, 27:25, 1 Samuel 8:3, Proverbs 17:23, 29:4, Ecclesiastes 7:7. The issues discussed here are injustice, killing innocent persons, dishonesty, greed etc. which come as a result of accepting bribes.
“ You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the Lord your God to pay any vow, because the Lord your God detests them both” (Deuteronomy 23:18).
You might think that this command has nothing to do with you. Of course you are right. But then the point is that God does not accept money made by dishonest or immoral means. Do not bring them to God. He detests that.
“ When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into his house to get what he is offering as pledge” (Deuteronomy 24:10).
If at all you are in a financially sound position and you are giving a loan, treat the other person, even if he is poor, with dignity and respect.
Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, … Pay him his wages before sunset, because he is poor and counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin (Deuteronomy 24:14–15).
One of the greatest kind of mental torture is making someone who is to be paid the money come to you day after day to ask for it. If you keep saying excuses know that God will hold you guilty. Especially, pay a hired man his wages before sunset. Do not hold it back for whatever reason. The key phrase is, “he is counting on it.” Therefore do not hold back what is due him.
“ When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord may bless you in all your work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 24:19).
Of course, God is concerned much about the aliens, the fatherless and the widows. But what does the first part of the verse mean in a modern context. It means that you should not be too exact in your giving to the less fortunate. Do not be always strict when you come to pay others who are casual laborers or poor or unskilled. Give them a little extra. That will put a smile on their face and give a little cheer in their hearts. Do this on some special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, parties or for no occasion also. God will bless you much for this act.
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity … ”(Deuteronomy 28:47–48).
Open your Bible and read the consequence. Here, your attitude towards God is under scrutiny. Serve God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity. That is a time when you should not forget God.
“Do not have two differing weights in your bag–one heavy, one light … For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly” (Deuteronomy 25:13–16).
Even before man came out with corruption control measures; God demanded fair dealing. Isn’t it surprising that God is concerned about weights and measures? Even the smallest dishonest deal is watched by God. And He hates them.
“Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it” (Proverbs 1:19).
This can serve as a general reminder and warning against ill-gotten gain. The warning is serious. It is a threat to your life if you go after ill-gotten gain.
“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done. Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor” (Proverbs 19:17, Psalm 112:5a, 9).
Note the fact that when you give to the poor you are lending to the Lord. Note that God will reward the giver. Good will come to him. He will also have honor.
IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE –Acts 20:35
All Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV).