Today we’re introducing a new series called Back to the Basics. The goal is to explore areas of personal finance and get a firm grasp on how our faith ties into each subject. Topics will include everything from income to savings, debt, investing, retirement, lending, making money, spending it and giving it away. I hope you’re encouraged or learn something new as we rediscover the basics of these areas of finance.
Back to The Basics Series…
Why Do Wages Matter?
If you’re not earning income, you’ll have a really tough time saving, investing, paying debt, and even giving. The Bible even addresses the importance of wages and gives us instructions on how we should obtain our income and be a steward of the money we make.
Paul addresses the concept of wages in Romans when teaching about God’s grace. In Romans 4:4 Paul says,
“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.”
The income we make is because of work we do – sound too obvious? Maybe so, but unfortunately we can see people who expect income when they don’t work, even though they’re able to. As 1 Thessalonians 3:10 says,
“Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.””
How we earn those wages is just as important. In Proverbs, we read in 18:11 that
“The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.”
We also find in Proverbs 10:16 that
“The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.”
Whether you’re delivering papers, bagging groceries, preparing taxes, writing books, or managing a business, your work should be done with the highest level of integrity. Sure, you might be able to earn a little extra sometimes by stretching the truth or fudging a few numbers, but that is simply deceptive. The results are an unfulfilling life, no matter the extra income.
Paying a Fair Wage
If you’re a business owner, you understand how employees will respond to wages. Turning to the scriptures, we read that a worker deserves his wage – 1 Timothy 5:18
“For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “the worker deserves his wages.””
Clearly, it’s important not to exploit workers – but that doesn’t mean they should all be paid the same. The scripture says “the worker deserves his wages.” It didn’t say, the same wage as everyone else. In fact, it can be argued that paying everyone exactly the same wage no matter his or her degree of work/effort will result in a sense of entitlement. It may even result in a worker feeling underpaid and you might end up losing a hard worker because of insensitivity to their production.
On the same token, it’s important to have a fair discussion about wages and to set terms that both parties agree to. Otherwise, feelings of exploitation may work its way into the relationship.
Turning Our Wages Into Wealth
I haven’t met someone who said, “I make way too much money and have too much left over each month for savings.” No matter your income level, the key to monetary wealth depends on how you spend it. It’s often said “the more you make, the more you spend” and I really think that in order to build your wealth and make the most of your income, you must simply spend less than you make. It’s not a new concept, but one that you need to master in order to get ahead.
Proverbs 13:11 “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
Have you ever considered the basic concept of wages and what the Bible says about it?