Discover the Financial Principles of the Bible

The Proper Use of Money

In 1760, John Wesley gave one of his most famous and timeless sermons entitled “The Use of Money”. 250 years later, Christians and non-Christians alike are still struggling with the proper use of money. Our world is filled with individuals that consistently spend more than they earn, who give no thought to savings, and have nothing to give God – all because of their improper use of money. While the love of money has been the destruction of many, the fault doesn’t lie in money itself, but in those that use it. Learning to prudently use money is one of the marks of a good steward.

The Bible talks of money as a “defense”. It has many obvious benefits and when used properly can help further the work of God. So it is very important that God’s people know how to make use of money for His glory. Even if no one else on the planet does, surely the children of God should understand the proper use of money. According to John Wesley, the proper use of money involves gaining all you can, then saving all you can, so you can give all you can.

Gain All You Can

It’s true that a Christian’s goal in life should never be to try and attain great riches. There are certainly too many people that focus their entire lives on gaining wealth and despite whatever material gains they may achieve they often end up losing their souls. However, there are also individuals who never seem to grasp that we also have a responsibility to provide for ourselves, our families and for the work of God. Paul said if a man provides not for his own household he is “worse than an infidel”. 1 Timothy 5:8. 

One of the criticisms of the generation that is entering the workforce today is the lack of work ethic that was prevalent in earlier generations. Even in today’s bad economy, it’s surprising how frequently individuals will give up good paying jobs because the work is too “hard” or just to be able to do something that is more “fun”. However, in order to gain all we can, we must exhibit a work ethic and industriousness that far exceeds that of our worldly peers. 

We have a responsibility to make the most of our earnings potential. For some that may require getting further education or certifications, things that may require significant effort, but can pay off by providing higher income potential. However, a Christian should never pursue employment that would put their health, mind, or soul at risk. There are some careers that a Christian should never pursue, regardless of how lucrative it may be. 

“Gain all you can by honest industry. Use all possible diligence in your calling. Let nothing be done by halves, or in a slight and careless manner. Let nothing in your business be left undone if it can be done by labour or patience.” 

Save All You Can

While many people are happy to try and gain all they can, Americans as a whole have really struggled with the principle of saving anything at all (much less all they can). In large part, even our current economic recession was necessitated by individuals spending more than they earned with no regard to actually living within their incomes.

Of course the Bible has always taught the principle of savings. “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Proverbs 21:20.   

In the mid-1700’s, John Wesley proclaimed that the people of his generation were simply wasting money by spending it “merely in gratifying the desires of the flesh.” 

“Do not waste any part of so precious a talent merely in gratifying the desire of the eye by superfluous or expensive apparel, or by needless ornaments. Waste no part of it in curiously adorning your houses; in superfluous or expensive furniture; in costly pictures, painting, gilding, books; in elegant rather than useful gardens.” 

Unfortunately, excessive spending in order to maintain a luxurious lifestyle is even more prevalent today than Wesley could ever have imagined. That only makes his words of wisdom even more relevant for today. Let the world frivolously spend their money with no regard for tomorrow. However, let us as Christians be a light to world even in how we use our money. 

Give All You Can

While there are plenty that are willing to try and gain all they can and some that are willing to save all they can, there are few that are willing to give all they can. However, you can travel across this nation and see beautiful church buildings, hospitals, and universities all that were built because there were individuals that took John Wesley’s message to heart. Major universities like Vanderbilt and Duke where started because of large Methodist endowments that were made possible by men that “gained, saved and gave” all they could. 

This principle of giving is clearly highlighted throughout the Bible. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24. Some people love money so much that they are willing to work multiple jobs and save money meticulously, just to watch it accumulate in their bank account. However, if you don’t use money properly, you might as well not have any in the first place. 

John Wesley advocated that after providing for your own needs and the needs of your family, then you should be able to use some of the money that you have saved to “do good to them that are of the household of faith” and “as you have opportunity, do good unto all men.” This goes beyond your tithes and offerings. All that we have belongs to God and we will be required to give a full account of our stewardship before Him.

 

“I entreat you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, act up to the dignity of your calling! No more sloth! Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might! No more waste! Cut off every expense which fashion, caprice, or flesh and blood demand! No more covetousness! But employ whatever God has entrusted you with, in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree to the household of faith, to all men!”

Filed in: Budgeting, Stewardship, Tithing

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