What Does The Bible Have To Do With Finances?
The Bible is very clear about how we should handle our finances. God wants to abundantly bless those who obey His Word in this all-important area. Why do you think there are more than twenty-three hundred verses in the Bible about money? Is it a coincidence?
I am convinced that the majority of financial problems facing Americans today are the result of a failure to obey God’s provision of guidelines concerning how He wants us to manage the money He entrusts to us. This failure in turn limits His ability to bless us financially.
As a parent, do you reward your children for foolish behavior or do you sometimes allow them to endure pain so they will learn lessons? God uses money to teach us lessons in life. Jesus spent a considerable amount of time addressing finances in His teaching because He knew that how we handle money reveals our values and priorities.
Do Your Values Reflect The World’s Priorities?
Let me ask you an important question: How do you feel about the moral direction of our country? Are you saddened by any of the items on the following list?
- The rising number of abortion clinics and facilities
- The increased activity of “pro-abortion” activist groups
- The shady, deceptive practices being used by the pornography industry
- The number of deaths caused by the tobacco industry
- The number of families being torn apart by addictions ranging from alcohol and drugs to gambling
- The promotion of homosexuality
If any of these issues deeply sadden you, think of how God must view His creation being destroyed by these issues. It breaks His heart. If Jesus were an investor today, would He place money in any company involved in those areas? Would He choose to start a business of His own that was involved in any of these areas?
The answer to both questions is an emphatic no, but you may be unknowingly profiting from these industries. God has entrusted you with His resources, and it is your duty to be a wise and faithful manager of the assets He has provided you. In order to do this, you will need to follow biblical principles. As a Christian and an investor, it is more important how you make your money than how much money you make.
There is no doubt that sinful activities can be extremely profitable, but if you can invest in a manner that avoids industries that blatantly oppose God’s Word and still make a good profit, why would you choose any other way? Do you think God is more concerned about the amount of money you earn or the manner in which you earn it? How we invest money is a true measure of the values we hold dearly. If we stray from God’s values should we really be surprised when things fall apart?
The World vs. the Word
You may be confused as to how to manage your money simply because you have taken the world’s advice. You may have formed your financial habits from the actions and advice of your parents, friends, school, and the media. How successful has that been for you? For many, the approach is simply not working. Why are so many failing?
When we have an educational system in America that does very little to teach people the basics of financial management, a church that shies away from financial discussions, and an abundance of confusing, contradictory messages from the media and so-called experts, it is no surprise the average Christian is confused about where to turn for advice!
Choosing the world’s way of handling finances over God’s way is a recipe for disaster. Fear and greed are the motivating advice being sold by much of Wall Street. This advice can lead to financial ruin. Many become so confused that they choose to go it alone and rely on the banks to tell them what they can and cannot afford. They may choose to make financial decisions based on the latest advice in Money magazine, on the radio or TV, or their coworkers’ suggestions.
Rather than knowing for themselves where they stand financially, they listen to bad advice. Hosea 4:6 reads, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (NIV).
The majority of people have no financial plan or have built their plan on the ways of the world. If what we’ve been doing so far it isn’t working, we need to change direction. Change begins with looking at God’s Word.
Biblical Wisdom On Investing
- On diversifying: “Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth” (Ecclesiastes 11:2 ESV).
- On seeking advice: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22 ESV).
- On being steady, patient, diligent, and faithful: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 ESV); and “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20 ESV).
- On screening your investments: “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 NIV).
God’s Word is so very practical and helpful. Thank you for sharing a biblical perspective.
Thank you for sharing this perspective on finances and religious/moral values.I have been making greater efforts to make sure that my finances and investing choices align more closely with my personal values.
Pete, I know you didn’t write this, but by posting it to your site you are saying you agree with this.
As a pro-choicer (or “pro-abortion activist”) I just want to make clear that there are fewer abortions being performed now versus 1973, there are also fewer clinics providing them.
Also, even the gayest of my gay friends, family members, teachers, classmates and co-workers aren’t “promoting homosexuality” any more than you are promoting heterosexuality (although, if you’re in support of those straightening out programs, I guess you are promoting heterosexuality).
But, yeah, I guess all I’m trying to say, is that when I think of the way I was encouraged to read the Bible I think a lot more about the whole “what you do unto the least of us you do unto Me” thing or the “blessed are the poor” thing, etc. But maybe that’s just the whole Catholic preferential option for the poor coming out.
I’ll understand if you don’t publish this. Just a little frustrated.
Livs last blog post..may 4, 2009
David Burns says
How can you stand by the Bible and be Pro-choice which is pro-abortion? God knew you BEFORE you were in the womb. Abortion is murder! Thou shall not kill! To say less abortions are taking place is an inprovement. Until there are no legal abortions, we will fight on.
Jay’s point about some companies promoting or endorsing homosexuality is true. I used to work for a company that pro-actively sponsored homosexual events and donated to homosexual organizations and even lobbied for their causes. It’s one thing to love and respect others. It’s another to treat their ‘sin” like it is normal.
Thank you Pete for having the courage to print Jay’s so called controversial post. Since when is the Word of God controversial?
Jamie J says
The word of God became controversial when the FIRST THINGS equated with being Christian are being anti-abortion and anti-gay.
What about volunteerism? Charitable giving? What about positive entreprenuership and ethical business practices? Our faith should show in ALL we do, and it frustrates the snot outta me that these two qualities have become shorthand for diagnosing “real Christians” rather than viewed as components of a much broader equation.
Yes, part of the reason these bug me is because I’m in Liv’s camp. But I feel much more emotional conflict about my lack of giving back (I do, just not as much as I feel I should, which I’m working on) than I do about my political stances.
I feel like these issues get focus because they make faith easy. Do you hold these two ideals? Great, you’re in. And as long as you’re heterosexual and haven’t had an abortion, you’re also accountable. I think we’d be better served as a faith community if we delved more deeply into our lives and tried to better ourselves and the world around us. But we don’t, because it would make too many of us feel guilty.
Jay Peroni says
I agree with you that we as Christians should be known for what we are for not just what we are against.
As a Christian investor I seek out companies in line with my faith and values. That includes avoiding companies that God clearly is against in His Word such as abortion and homosexuality. There are companies that clearly proactively earn profits in industries that go against God’s Word. I also seek out companies that are improving the world we live in. Those helping the poor and making a difference. The reason I do this is to be a better steward with the resources He entrusts to me. The goal is to multiply all He provides so I can help more of His people. He calls us to use our time, talent, and treasure for His glory.
People certainly can say they are pro-choice and for homosexual activism, but this is certainly not a Biblical point of view. There is no Scripture to back up either of these positions.
The heart of faith-based investing is to try and honor God with your investments that is why most faith-based investors seek to avoid companies that donate millions to Planned Parenthood and homosexual activist organizations. And to avoid companies that make abortion drugs and conduct embryonic stem cell research. It is all about finding companies you can be proud to own!
Jay Peroni, CFP
Chief Investment Officer