This article is born out of various concerns. The first is the increasing level of irresponsibility towards the cause of the gospel of Christ by some believers while the other is the lack of sound financial management by many Christians especially due to the availability of money to borrow.
The western world economic system is based on credit and many migrants who never had access to such privileges do not know how to manage them when exposed to such. In the same vain, financial sharks are establishing loan companies and making credit available with ease, luring many into deep holes they can never get out of. The title of this article suggests looking into elementary principles of Christian financial principles. The Bible is a sufficient guide for us to prosper and at the same time avoid getting into trouble.
We must realize foremost that God owns us. As His property bought by the blood of the lamb, we and all our possessions belong to Him. Our lives are not our own but His and should be lived to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Our lives and possessions should be used for His glory. We must see all the wisdom, health and strength by which we are able to produce the wealth as having come from Him and that gives Him the ownership while we are stewards, managing the resources on His behalf. We must therefore manage the resources prioritizing the things that matter to Him mostly and yet spending every dime with a consciousness of Him and with an utmost sense of responsibility.
Looking into God’s priorities will guide us in effective stewardship. The first purpose of wealth revealed to Israel was for the building of God’s tabernacle in Exodus 25:1-9. God needed a place His glory could dwell in the midst of His people. In the New Testament, His church is His temple. Finances given to His church helps to create a dwelling place for God among men. In the same vein, Moses told Israel by the Spirit of God that the establishment of His covenant was the purpose of their wealth (Deutoronomy 8:18). The covenant sworn to Abraham has two principal parts, namely, ‘the making of a great nation and the blessing of all nations in him’ (Genesis 12:1-3). Simply put, God was going to give Israel a rich economy and was through Abraham’s seed(Jesus Christ) going to bless all nationalities and ethnicities of the earth by the gospel (Galatians 3:8). Our giving to the local church where over 99% of people give their lives to Christ and our support for missions should make the first line in our budgets. Honouring the Lord this way pleases Him and guarantees His blessing.
Next in God’s priorities is to Lay our treasures up in heaven as Jesus said (Matthew 6:19-21). Apart from supporting God’s work, giving to the poor falls into this category (Mark 10:21). Whatever we do to the poor, the weak and the helpless are all counted by the Lord as done to Him. He feels a personal sense of responsibility for all and particularly when we reach out to those who cannot reciprocate, God counts it as we blessing Him personally (Proverbs 19:17, Matthew 25:40-46). His reward for such giving is superfluous. This form of giving is more addressed than any other in the Epistles of Paul to the gentile churches. Care for the widows and orphans is also described as pure religion in James 1:27.
Responsibility for the family is a matter of priority also. So fundamental is this to our faith that Paul declared a man’s negligence of his responsibility to his relatives, especially his nuclear family as tantamount to a denial of the faith and such a man deemed worse than an infidel. Shelter, feeding, clothing and other basic needs of life are to be next in priority to honouring our maker with our resources. God wants us to enjoy His blessings and share the same with our families. The order of responsibility is to start with our immediate families and gradually widen the circle of love to our relatives to the best of our abilities.
After meeting these basic biblical obligations, can I handle what is left anyhow? The answer is a capital NO. The Bible has more to say about money management that I will cover in my next article.