There is tremendous power for living in the words of the Bible. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of reading its pages and having God speak to you. It’s as though the verses are saying, “Hey buddy…this is for you. Take notice!”
God uses his Word to call us out – more specifically, to call our behavior out. He knows what’s good for us and what’s harmful. He knows where we need instruction and correction and training. He knows what will make our path straight and prosperous.
The problem is we don’t seem to get it often enough. Even though we may read, we don’t catch what He is communicating to us. We are oblivious and distracted…blind or unmotivated.
I was there a few years ago when God called me out. I didn’t receive a big jolt or see writing in the sky. Rather God spoke to me in a still, small voice while I was reading one day. That was the start of an incredible journey that reshaped my views about money, helped me realize why I have it and focused me on what I’m supposed to do with it.
Today that journey has brought me here to share my story with you.
My name is Brian Fourman and I’m a stay-at-home dad and personal finance writer. For most of my adult life I thought my finances were in perfect order. My wife and I were building up our savings and using debt “wisely” to make purchases and build our credit score. We even had money invested to cushion us against surprises.
It looked so rosy but beneath the surface bad behaviors were brewing. By my early 30s, I had become a spend-a-holic who was using credit to enhance a lifestyle I couldn’t afford. It became routine for us to spend more than we made each month. You can imagine this caused considerable tension at the end of the month when the credit card bill came due.
What really got me concerned was when I saw a $30,000 savings account dwindle to $10,000 over a three-year span. “How could that have happened?” I thought. We had no real emergencies or health issues to speak of. Where had all the money gone? I had only a vague idea.
Then in 2008, my wife – an avid talk show and podcast listener – found the Dave Ramsey show. Initially, I was unimpressed but his message began to grow on me. After reading several of his books and getting mildly fired up about my finances, I decided to lead his Financial Peace University class at our church in the summer of 2010.
That class took me from mildly fired up to 100% in the tank about making a change…all because of one comment.
Dave’s FPU lessons are wildly entertaining and jammed packed with information. In one of the sessions Dave made an off-hand comment that he didn’t elaborate on. He said you could get a degree in finance just by reading the book of Proverbs. “It’s in there, really,” he said and went on with the lesson.
At home that night, I couldn’t shake that comment. I’d read the Bible a lot and could only recall a few select portions that dealt with a financial concept. Could there really be that much about money in the pages of Proverbs? I wanted to find out.
Journey Into The Word
So I started reading – a chapter from Proverbs a day for a month. What I found was shocking.
It seemed that on every page there was something related to money – verses about debt, spending, saving, and giving…on work ethic, on the poor, on relationships, on wisdom, on planning.
My heart was broken. How could I have missed all this? I’ll never forget the night it came to a head when I read,
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7
That verse sealed the deal. I did not want to be a servant – financially subject to any earthly power. God finished the two-year, calling-me-out-on-my-money-habits journey that night. I committed to change but little did I know another journey was about to begin.
A week later I finished my study of Proverbs. Curious to dig deeper on the issue of money, I read the next book King Solomon wrote – Ecclesiastes. Then I read Psalms, the book his father King David wrote. Then I read the Gospels, then the entire New Testament and finally the rest of the Bible.
In all, I spent a year reading. Along the way I recorded all the Bible verses about money I could find.
Stunning is the only word I can use to describe my findings.
God Takes Money & Our Response Seriously
What did I learn? God takes money and our response to it seriously. Consequently, so should we.
For the past three years I’ve been sharing my passion for personal finance and what the Bible says about it at my blog, Luke1428.com. If that blog name looks eerily like a Bible verse you’d be right. Luke 14:28 is one of many verses about money I found during my reading:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it…”
This verse speaks to why I failed with money – I didn’t consider the costs of my decisions and follow a plan to help me win. I’m overjoyed I realized this before it was too late.
Bible Money Matters was one of the first sites I read when I started blogging. Peter and his team have consistently produced quality content that have helped many, myself included. So I was thrilled when he recently asked me to join his team of writers.
For now I’ll be coming to you on the 3rd Thursday of every month. My posts will focus on the spiritual side of money management, specifically looking at what God has to say, how that translates into our contemporary culture and ways we can apply that in our daily life. Along the way I hope to encourage and inspire you to live in a way that pleases God and causes you to win with money.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and interact with you in the comments below. Thanks for your time.
Questions: In what ways has God used the Bible to get your attention? Were you ever convicted about how you handled money? What caused you to change your financial habits? What’s your favorite verse in the Bible about money?
Peter Anderson says
It’s exciting to have you come on board Brian, and share some of your insights into the Word, and how it relates to our financial lives.
I love how the Bible just has so much common sense wisdom to share if we’ll just delve in and be open to learning. There are so many times where I’ve read a verse that applied perfectly to the situation that I was dealing with at the time, it’s often as if the book was written directly to me. His word is truly living!
Looking forward to all you have to share!
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“…if we’ll just delve in and be open to learning.” I know what you mean. But as you said it takes effort on our part to be willing to consistently read and learn. Nothing happens if it just sits on the shelf and we only open in on Sunday.
Brian, Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds all too familiar. Maybe at different levels but still debt. I recently have taken heed to God calling me out on my finances. Spiritually but surely opening my eyes to the realization I never had or just paid no mind to. Gradually I found myself further from my goals and as our emergency fund, family fund all dwindled and because we used credit to make it better and have the things we thought we needed, we now are in debt living from paycheck to paycheck. And my wife and I are working two and three jobs. Picking up every job and any job to try to get back on top. Of course only one of us is paying tithes presently. You can guess who. I finally after reading Proverbs 22:7, it about made me sick. How did I allow this to happen to my family of seven?? I work a full time job and a part time job. The realization that every good thing that really matters has been dropping off the edge one thing at a time because my focus hasn’t been where God has been pointing me. I quit tithing, I’m working crazy hours and see my little guys sometimes just to say prayers before bed if they stay up late to see me. And it seems as though more lenders are calling now than when I made less. I want to more than ever get out of this rut and step up in a strong and determined way. Put God first again and trust in Him to provide as He always has. I want to get to the place in which we as a family has planned and prayed for and that is to build or small but practical home plans we’ve had for around six years now collecting dust.Our oldest just graduated from high school and plans included a room of his own. He has shared a room with his younger brother who’s sixteen and will graduate in two years. With all that said, and for whatever reason I’m writing this to you, is there still help for me???
I know you wrote to get Brian’s feedback, but if I may, I’d like to give a little input as well. I applaud you and your wife. You are making one of the greatest sacrifices of your lives to put your children in a better place. That shows just a supreme depth of love, determination, and self discipline that will affect your family for decades to come. One of the best things about going through tough times is that it brings us closer to God and makes us realize our dependence on Him. Its very difficult to get to that place when all is well and good. Cherish the strength you get from God and each other as you work hard for your goals.
Practically speaking, there is certainly still help for you! Don’t despair. Its impossible to give you specific advice without knowing anything about your situation, but there are always options. I would talk to a professional, fee-based, financial advisor or debt counselor. You may be able to cut unnecessary expenses here or there, like dropping all subscriptions (TV, internet, etc.) except the bare essentials. Or, if you own the home you live in and have equity, you may be able to sell and move to a smaller, cheaper place for a few years, especially since you have a son graduating (drastic, I know, but so is your situation).
I hope that is encouraging or helpful and you are able to find ways to dig your way out. It’s going to be tough and take a lot of time, but remember, the tortoise wins, not the hare.
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“…is there still help for me???” Absolutely Robert…it’s never too late to turn the corner. And God never turns his back on us. He is still there for you as you go through this storm.
It’s hard to give specific advice without knowing more detail. It sounds like you know what needs to be done but have lost direction or motivation to make it happen. Remember, life change comes through behavior. How we act determines the outcome.
I’ve been following Luke1428 for a while and have enjoyed your insight. Congratulations on getting a new outlet for your writing! I’m looking forward to seeing you integrate into all the good content on BibleMoneyMatters.
This is a great post. I sense that you sharing about how God has called you out will call someone else out. I am on a similar journey as you, just a few years behind. Thank you for sharing your perspective – its encouraging to hear someone who has been put in a better situation just by digging into the Word.
Keep it up!
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“…put in a better situation just by digging into the Word.” Funny how that happens, isn’t it? :) Thanks for being a loyal reader…I appreciate it.
John Anderson says
Yes, our Father’s words can sometimes be painful as He reveals where we are at and where we should be, but His words are always good and that is a great comfort.
Thanks for your article! It was very inspirational to read where you were, and by using God as your Counselor to see where you are today.
Kate @ Money Propeller says
Thank you so much for sharing your story Brian! Honestly, it’s been awhile since I opened the bible, but I always go to church every Sunday with my daughter and family.
Devin Carroll says
I’ve often heard that the Bible is the only book that reads you. I rarely pick it up without reading something that jumps out and challenges me.
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“…the Bible is the only book that reads you.” I love that Devin!
Man, I really need to read the Book of Proverbs. I’ve also been listening to Dave Ramsey lately and I really do think God is calling me out, too.