God calls His followers to be good stewards of what he’s given them — and that includes their money. After all, it’s God who gives you the ability to work and the skills to earn an income. Therefore, everything you own belongs to Him.
While you may already believe these things to be true, your finances may tell a different story. Maybe you’re struggling to pay off student loans or simply trying to build your savings account after the pandemic. In the meantime, you might have stopped tithing or neglected to stick to a budget. If so, it’s time to get your house in order and practice a little prudence.
1. Stick to a Budget
Proverbs 24:3-4 read, “Through wisdom is a house built; and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” These verses are your reminder that waiting for God to bless you isn’t enough. Instead, you must plan and prepare for whatever riches you receive. More importantly, you must keep a good record of how you use them. This record is what you’d call a budget and it’s integral to the Christian walk.
By creating and sticking to saving, spending and giving limits, you’ll inevitably achieve more financial stability. Analyze your current financial habits and use budgeting software or a notebook to list your expenses. Then, determine how much money you need to cover necessities like bills and food.
2. Build an Emergency Fund
Once you know how much of your paycheck covers monthly expenses, you can start to build an emergency fund. Just as Pharaoh set aside one-fifth of Egypt’s harvest to use during the seven years of famine, so should you save up for misfortunes. Doing so will help you avoid borrowing from others or going into debt. Plus, you’ll worry less knowing you have money saved up for emergencies.
First, set a goal. How much do you want to save? Create a system for making consistent contributions in which you cut spending or find ways to earn more money. Monitor your progress or keep a running total of your account to incentivize savings. Then, when you finally reach your goal, celebrate your success with a small reward and a new goal.
3. Pay Down Debt
Proverbs 22:7 reads, “ The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Thus, whenever you go into debt, you become a slave to loan agencies who will charge interest rates as you pay them back. Ultimately, you’ll spend more than you originally intended and you’ll likely worry about making payments for months — or years — to come.
Yet, Christ calls his people to live in freedom, spiritually, mentally and financially. Therefore, it’s wise to only go into debt as a last resort and pay your loans back as soon as possible. Use the debt avalanche strategy to pay off debts with the highest interest rates first. Doing so will allow you to achieve financial freedom quicker and save more money in the long run.
4. Diversify Your Investments
Nearly any type of investment can fall victim to evil, especially when the stock market is so volatile and unpredictable. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you could easily lose all your money. Ecclesiastes 11:2 touches on this very issue. “Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know when disaster may come upon the land.” Therefore, it’s essential that you diversify your investments.
Spread your wealth around by investing in stocks, exchange-traded funds, real estate investment trusts, equities and commodities. Add some fixed-income solutions like index or bond funds to the mix to further protect your portfolio against market fluctuations. Most importantly, keep an eye on your investments and know when it’s time to cut your losses, sell and move on. Otherwise, you could lose a hefty chunk of what God has blessed you with, which is the definition of poor stewardship.
5. Prioritize Giving
In the Old Testament, God commanded believers to tithe, which means one-tenth or 10%. In addition, everyone was to generously help those in need, including foreigners, orphans and widows, according to Deuteronomy 26:12-13. Eventually, you’ll reap what you sow and God will bless you exponentially, although receiving rewards should never be your main motivator. Instead, the Lord calls you to give out of the goodness of your own heart.
Today, you can follow Christ’s commands by prioritizing giving above all other financial wants and needs. Adopt a backward-based budgeting strategy that includes tithing as a mandatory expense. In this way, you’ll outwardly manifest an attitude of gratitude, please God and help the church further His kingdom.
It’s one thing to get your house in order. It’s another thing to do so contentedly. Of course, it can be difficult to practice contentment when you’re skipping that morning coffee to build a bigger savings account. However, 1 Timothy 6:6 reminds believers that godliness with contentment is great gain. So save, give and spend, but do so joyfully, with a grateful heart. After all, everything you have is God’s to begin with.