Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Personal Biblical Money Management & Wesley

Christian Stewardship expert Terry Austin wrote:
John Wesley is often quoted as providing a great outline for Christian stewards when he said, "Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can," His statement is only thirty-three percent correct. Two thirds of his words do not reflect Biblical teaching.
Certainly the Bible teaches that we should work and speaks frequently to condemn those who are lazy. However, we must never strive to make all that we can. That is one of the purposes of the Sabbath, to remind us that our provisions are not dependent upon our efforts. We are to cease at least once a week. Working so long and hard to earn more money has become as great a problem in our society as laziness.
Also, we are never instructed to save as much as we can. Certainly savings are good and necessary and we are encouraged to not consume everything the minute it is received. However, the Bible is more likely to warn against hoarding up treasures and building bigger barns. Jesus told us to give little thought (more correctly "worry") about having enough for tomorrow.
You might counter that too much emphasis on saving is not a problem in our world today. However, it is. We may not save money, although there are some very wealthy people among us, but we save by accumulating stuff. We convert our cash into stuff and rent storage garages and build larger house so we can save it all. You may not have a large savings account at the bank, but you have probably accumulated a large amount of stuff that you keep at your house, and like many Americans, in a rented storage space. We like to save because we are concerned that the day might come when we need it.

I think he said this very well. I especially like the reference to rented storage space! But I'm not sure Wesley was 67% off. I know that this wasn't Terry's main point, I just think when Wesley said give all you can, it began to mitigate the first two statements on getting and saving.
How about this?
Get all you can - While observing the Lord's day as a day of rest and worship, while spending time with your family, raising your children, doing work around the house, serving your community, and other fine endeavors the Lord would have you do.
Save all you can - Don't expect others to provide you with retirement when you are unable to work for a living, have enough to help others when situations arise: college tuition, medical conditions, special missionary or church needs. I also save for the short term: put aside a little to take the family on vacation. Notice I said family. I can count on two fingers the number of times my wife and I went somewhere distant without our children. Its prudent to put some cash aside for Christmas and even curtail Christmas spending rather than go into debt. This list could go on and on, but you need to cut it off someplace.
Give all you can - In my own economy this comes first and last. First my tithe belongs to the Lord. I think its proper to give a percentage of your earnings (10%?), right off the top, to the local church for its ministries and ministers. I also give first to any other Mission related entities to whom I've promised to support. Then after my bills (commitments) groceries and other necessities, its a joy to be able to bless others: help a youth go to camp, take someone out to dinner, you get the idea.
Now, if you can do this is a 40 hour week, great. If you want to work 50 hours and make more because you can, go ahead. But remember, getting all you can has to be moderated by other demands on our time and skills.
There are many who work 50 plus hours and cannot do all these things even with all that labor. These people need our encouragement, and maybe they could use money management help.
Some people work 50 plus hours a week to be good at what they do or because of the great demand and their responsibilities. I've known a few company presidents and none of them get off at 40 hours. They have responsibilities and committments and they rise to the occasion because many people depend on them making the right decisions. They also had to work hard and put in long hours to get there.
I would never criticize them for that, but the person making that choice better know how to budget time for his other commitments, most importantly his family.

Whenever I have heard someone criticized for working too much I think of my friend raised on a farm. From the time he was old enough to milk a cow he was up at 6 every day (not 5 days a week) milking cows then going to school. Then when he got home, while there was still daylight, there were fences to mend, hogs to slop, stalls to clean, weeds to hoe, and after supper, homework.
And while he was at school his daddy was working the farm, repairing machinery, hauling cattle and hogs to the butcher, etc. etc.
Don't even THINK of talking to these people about 40 hour weeks.
But you know what else they had? Dad and son talked while hoeing weeds and fixing tractors. They spent time together neutering a hog or stacking hay bales. They sat at the table together with mom and the siblings.

We need to find ways to work, and if you want, make all you can; while not neglecting the important things.


  1. And yes I know, it ALL belongs to the Lord not just the tithe... just sayin

  2. I really like this. Having just finished Financial Peace, we've been talking alot about not just setting aside our tithe or promised missionary support, but setting aside money for someone else's rainy day. Whether or not we spend it all in one month/or it accumulates, we want to have money for all the UNplanned things we want to give to. And then - it's in the budget! So you don't have to feel guilty for giving away your electric bill/kid's clothing $/etc. for that month. :D


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