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Biblical Financial Literacy: An Introduction

financial basicsIn just three years, the greatest teacher of all time impacted the world more than anyone else. How was that possible? Jesus Christ was both human and divine. What did He say about financial literacy? A lot! He taught about money matters more than heaven and hell combined. Many of His parables were filled with financial overtones. 

What did he say? Before I get into specifics, let me say emphatically that if our government gurus studied Jesus’ teachings on the proper use of money, we would not be in today’s financial mess. Sometimes, I think senior finance bureaucrats need a Dave Ramsay course or counsel from Mary Hunt!

First, a little about me. My family came to Canada from communist Europe when I was four, and we settled in Toronto. My dad was an accountant in Poland, but in Canada, he got a job in a bakery as an oven man. It was hot and hard work. He did not have to speak much English. He was able to be employed year-round and buy fresh baked goods for his four children. He often worked nights to earn more. My mom worked during the daytime in the Sears steno pool. Both parents toiled and were especially frugal. 

My dad had a curious habit of tracking all the family income and outflow. As I saw him hunched over bank statements, a homemade ledger, and numerous receipts, I thought to myself, “What’s the point of tracking where your money went? It’s gone. You can't get it back.” Being a kid, I just didn’t understand that if Dad knew exactly where his money went in September and October, he could plan much better for November and December. 

I graduated with an MBA from York University, moved to Alberta where I met a great gal, and got married. She wanted four children; I wanted five. She got her four, I got my five, and God threw in one bonus. Priscilla and I homeschooled for over thirty years—six boys and four girls. 

Was it easy? No way! Was it worth it? Most definitely!

What do home educators need to know about money matters? Usually, we have only one income and often our family size is bigger than average. Homeschoolers must have good money skills.

As I was going through university, I had a daily habit of reading the 31 chapters of Proverbs based on the date of the month. Over time, I noticed that 175 out of 946 verses spoke directly or indirectly about financial matters. Some described how to gain or lose money. Others spoke of treasures more valuable than wealth or how we inadvertently contaminate our wealth. Most of what I learned was not included in my university education or training as a professional accountant (CPA). I made many intriguing and uncomfortable discoveries.

When it comes to financial literacy, I could certainly speak of investing in the stock market or explain various types of insurance or get into complex tax reduction strategies. But, since all learning starts with the basics, consider three preliminary questions.

Question 1: Will you learn from the greatest teacher of all time? Even the simple act of thanking God before meals or reciting the Lord’s prayer acknowledges His involvement in our daily lives. I remember reciting the Lord’s prayer each day in grade school. Of course, most of the time I did it mindlessly, but subconsciously, I associated my needs with God’s provision. Getting super-human help is essential to handling money problems successfully, and you won’t get this advice from the big banks. So, back to the question: Do you want to include God in solving your financial problems? Yes or no? Take the three-question quiz on wisdomwithwealth.org.

Question 2: How are you tracking your cash inflow and outflow? Basic rule: If your outflow exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall. Most Canadians live in a financial fog. I suspect the banks and credit card companies want to keep us dependent on them. They want financial dependence. We want financial independence. Financial independence starts small. It begins with taking stock of where you are. Start today. 

Question 3: Are you really willing to make changes? I believe that we will face rough waters soon. Even if the so-called “global reset” does not happen, the fallout from many years of overspending and cover up with (effectual) money printing will be ugly. Are you getting ready? Our financial conditions will change, and the sooner we get ready, the better. Was it raining when Noah built the ark?

Now for the sad news. Some aspects of financial literacy are boring. Often, basic solutions to a problem are not new. Great truths, even great financial truths, are too important to be new.

We want to look at the following:

  1. Productivity (Serving Others)
  2. Consumer Habits (Spending)
  3. Investing (Saving)
  4. Charitable Giving (Sharing)
  5. Prayer (Supplication)

To get a quick overview of the top four, go to the front page of wisdomwithwealth.org and watch the four videos. For number five, you will need to dig deeper—register and login.

I hope you enjoy this series as much as I will.

Tom Lipp

Post Pandemic Financial Crisis

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