My life was in a financial mess despite having enough knowledge about finances. Eventually, I realized that money is more about behavior and less about skills. When I gave my life to Jesus and began to read the Bible, many things changed for the better for me, foremost is my finances.
Our attitude about money is established in our hearts. How we handle our money is a heart issue. The challenge for most people is the heart is attached to the head, and the head is not thinking the way the Bible teaches about money. So what does the Bible have to say about money?
People get surprised whenever I tell them just how much the Bible has to say about finances. There are more than 2,350 verses on how to handle money and possessions. Jesus spoke more about money than any other subject—more than faith and more than prayers. It is not because money and possessions are more important, it’s just that the Lord truly knows who we are. I eventually realized that the Bible is not just a book of devotions, it is also a book of instructions. Instructions to what? Instructions to righteous living.
Many years ago, I started asking: What is my financial plan? Do I know where every peso is spent? Do I want finances to continue to be a source of conflict in my life? What should I do with my debt? What are my financial goals? So, I created five categories and started living by a simple plan. So here are my top five:
1) Work well
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV). In Scripture, hard work and diligence are encouraged. The Bible will make you reveal that the Lord despises laziness. My friend and mentor Dodong Cacanando once told me that work is from the Lord. The most important question you can ask yourself every day as you begin your work is: “For whom do I work?”
2) Be generous
The basic level of giving is the tithe. Tithing lets us know how we are doing with our attitude about money. If you don’t trust God with your money, then you will trust in your money. I like what Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” When you live a life of generosity, you will realize that you are not a slave to your money.
Our attitude about money is established in our hearts. How we handle our money is a heart issue.
3) Save diligently
“Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it” (Proverbs 21:20, ESV). Saving is making provision for tomorrow. The most effective way to save is to do it every time you receive income. Save for both long-term and short-term. Long-term savings are intended to fund long-term needs, such as retirement or for the college education of your kids. Short-term savings should be in an account that is easily accessible for your usual monthly expenses as well as your emergency funds.
4) Be wise in spending
We often hear this and yet ignore this simple and yet truly important financial wisdom: Spend less than you make! You will never be free from the money trap if you don’t spend less than you make. Dave Ramsey says, “90 percent of people in our culture buy things they can’t afford.” The most helpful tool to keep you from spending more than you make is called a budget (or your cash flow). John Maxwell has the best quote on budgeting: “A budget is people telling their money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
5) Invest wisely
The best advice I have received when it comes to investing is to diversify. Ecclesiastes 11:2, NLT says, “But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.” Never risk money you can’t afford to lose. It is probably not a good idea to make uninformed or hasty investment decisions. Make sure you invest early, wisely, and regularly. Another important tip is this: “never invest in something you do not understand.”