Some Biblical Principles Concerning Money
The Bible condemns status symbols in every form. People might try to give the impression of having an elevated status through the neighborhood they live in, where they go on vacation, what kind of car they drive, through dress, jewelry, even the type of pets that they have, and in many other ways of course. Status symbols are an expression of loving the pride of life- and loving the pride of life is an expression of loving the world. And the Bible is clear that the love of the Father is not in those who love the world.
Just as it is wrong to be a slave to the passions and impulses related to the body, it is also wrong to be a slave to attitudes which cause one to want to give others the impression that they are wealthy, successful, accomplished, etc. These attitudes lead to an inordinate desire for wealth, they lead to dishonesty, they lead to other unrighteous actions to obtain wealth, and improper use of wealth. These attitudes also can, and often do, abound in those who have not even actually obtained great financial and material wealth.
People generally think that financial wealth can do things for them which it actually cannot do. This thinking inevitably draws people away from the true God and practically makes mammon to be their chief god. Proverbs 18:10-11 says “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit (his own imagination).”
God’s warning to Israel before He enriched them materially is proof, and a reminder of, how easily man can turn material riches into a curse for himself.
Deuteronomy 6:10-13 says: “And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.”
It is a necessary expression of trust in God to look out for those in need and to open one’s hand to the needy.
Luke 3:10-11: “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat (food), let him do likewise.”
Proverbs 19:17: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
It is thus especially important to help those who need help who can’t pay us back and whom there is no reward from men as a result of helping.
James 1:27: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this (consider what those who say “I love Jesus but hate religion” people are fighting against then), To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Luke 6:31-35: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
On the other hand, Proverbs 21:13 says: “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”
None of this negates the need to screen out frauds and to overall use discretion in giving.
Psalm 112:5 says: “A good man sheweth favor, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.”
Yet, as is the case with how the Bible basically says that you need to support those of your own household or you are worse than infidel, and how the Bible says that those who don’t work should not eat, people have a strong tendency to latch onto the Scriptures which they see as promoting financial security for themselves- while ignoring the things which they see as attacking their financial security if they were to actually follow them. We indeed need to work to support ourselves and any dependents we have. Some people presumptuously think that they are absolved from this. Some people also give to people and groups whom they should be able to see are taking advantage of them. Yet these are all variations from Christian principles related to money which are not the narrow way of Christianity- whether they veer to the right hand or to the left.
Setting the heart on becoming rich is inherently covetous and idolatrous.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 says: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
And Ephesians 5:3-6 says: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
Attempts to get rich quickly are inherently covetous and are also inherently foolish. This includes playing the lottery, sports betting, and all games of chance to attempt to obtain money. Proverbs 28:22 says: “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.”
It is right to earn money so we can support ourselves, not be a burden to others, to help others in need, and be ready for emergencies and other unexpected circumstances. Yet if we neglect our duties towards God to make more money or we harden our hearts to those in need in order “to get ahead” then saving money becomes counterproductive to righteousness. We should only save money as doing so is conducive to righteousness. And the same can be said regarding earning money in and of itself. If we are not surrendered to Christ so that we reckon Him to be the Master of our money, then we are living unrighteously (in sin) and are at enmity with God.
Matthew 6:24-27: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”
Jesus gave the following warning about the folly of preoccupation with being “set for life” and the closely related presumption involved in thinking you have reached this goal.
Luke 12:13-21: “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spoke a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Also remember with savings that all money is uncertain. Due to an economic collapse or due to countless other factors, it could vanish or become worthless in a very short period of time. There is really no such thing as being “set for life” financially. That is a delusion. Nobody can even truthfully say that they are set for life with reality taken into account.
Proverbs 23:4-5: “Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
This proves that the Christian mindset about money is not to make sure that you are “set for life.” And if you seem to be so, and you give so that you are definitely not anymore, that is right and godly (provided you’re giving to godly causes for godly reasons).
Some might say that the Book of Ecclesiastes promotes a quest for earthly pleasure (taking a few verses out of context). Yet in writing Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote about the vanity of his quest to find pleasure in life as well as the vanity of the works which he made in seeking to make a name for himself. Related to the Apostle Paul talking about how the living God gives us richly all things to enjoy, Solomon truthfully said that the greatest blessing in terms of this life is to be able to eat the good of one’s own labor.
Ecclesiastes 5:18-19: “Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.”
The lesson in the context of the book is that we should not think we can improve on that or find better than that in terms of good related to earth. You don’t need to be rich to do this. You only need to not be starving.
Psalm 37:16: “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”
Proverbs 15:16: “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.”
I also be here is an implicit warning here to consider those who lack and meet their needs with your abundance. Consider the verses which led up to Ecclesiastes 5:18-19.
Ecclesiastes 5:9-17: “Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labor, which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath labored for the wind? All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.”
Consider also how the entire Book of Ecclesiastes culminates in a warning not to live for pleasure but rather to use life and its circumstances to prepare to meet your Creator who requires us to fear Him, keep His commandments, and will bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil (read the book from beginning to end- like we should do with every book of the Bible).
We should stay out of debt above all to not possess that which rightfully belongs to others nor to be in bondage to others (being in debt causes these things to happen). We should not stay out of debt so we can live like no one else or live our best now. That would simply be getting one area right to promote ungodliness in another area.
Consider: What the Good Samaritan did for the wounded man cost him a lot of time, effort, and money. And it is possible that it cost him a business opportunity. He may have lost out on a lot of money by doing what was pleasing to God in this situation, by doing the thing which logic required that he do in order to love his neighbor as himself. He could have passed by the man like the first two guys did, he could have complained and cut corners in helping the man. Yet he regarded himself as a servant of God and a slave to righteousness, not as a servant to his carnal appetites (and don’t consider servitude to money as any better than being a slave to drugs, alcohol, or sex- which typically involve servitude to money anyways- all of this is in the realm of servitude to passions and bondage to the flesh). Christ died to deliver us from bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil in order to make us His servants who live for what we were created to live for.
It is never right to compromise righteousness to obtain money, never right to compromise righteousness to keep money nor is it ever right to use money for unrighteous purposes. Otherwise, you’re living in sin. We can’t walk in truth before God and demonstrate a right heart before Him unless we do so in the things which greatly affect us.
Romans 6:10-11: “For in that he (speaking of Jesus Christ) died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Revelation 4:11: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]