What is the most common financial mistake that Christians make? Answer: Following popular advice while ignoring biblical principles. Biblical principles are amazing. They work. Always. Let’s look at five.
- Personal Responsibility: We must accept personal responsibility for our financial decisions, and know that “each of us will give account of himself” before God. This includes NOT blaming or relying on big “G” government. Instead look to big “G” god for financial help. Our lives (not just some phone calls) are being recorded for “quality control purposes.” Whether we have a little money or a lot doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we manage whatever we have. Each one of us will give an account for all our financial decisions to Him.
- Motives: We must guard against greed. It is NOT a virtue, contrary to what Warren Buffet and Donald Trump say. In contrast, Jesus said, “Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” More stuff does not mean more life. This is very difficult to remember in our materialist culture where ordinary citizens are not called, producers, savers, or givers, but consumers. Consumption reigns—or should I say enslaves—us all too easily.
- Perspectives: We should be much more concerned about the quality of our resurrection than our retirement. Jesus said, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for that which lasts to eternal life.” In other words, Jesus wants us to have lasting satisfaction, not just short-term thrills. Genuine long-term thinking is not twenty years, not even a hundred, but ten million. Of course if there is no resurrection and subsequent judgment then this is all nonsense. What do you think of the historical fact of the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ and its implications?
- Financial Freedom: It’s wonderful, but it’s like driving down a road and avoiding the ditches on both sides. On one side is debt, which brings us into a form of modern-day slavery. It’s a horrible rut. “The borrower becomes the lenders slave.” You can borrow money for toys, treats, or tools. The first two are dumb uses of debt. The third, tools, often makes economic sense. Borrowing for an economic engine (self-amortizing debt) can be a good financial strategy—depending on the power and reliability of that engine. But be careful, since debt always presumes upon the future, and we don’t know what even one day will bring.
The ditch on the other side of the road of financial freedom is more insidious. Smug independence is deadly. When we were children, we all wanted to be independent from parents. That’s normal. That’s healthy. It’s good, but that’s not the way it works with our heavenly Father. Maturing Christians will be INCREASING dependence on our Heavenly Father. Think about it: The closer you come to the Source of infinite power and goodness, the better off you will be as long as you advance through Christ alone! If being debt free makes you cocky and less prayerful, then having zero debt is a bad thing for you. Rule of thumb: “Whatever [financial strategy] is not of faith, is sin.”
5. Contentment: This should be our main financial goal. It’s not so much a matter of how much you have, as how much you enjoy what you have. Linus has it right. Poor Lucy! She will always be poor. The baseline of contentment is being content with food and clothing. Wow. We live far beyond that level, but usually are NOT content. The question is: How much is enough? Until we deal with personal contentment we will never be financially satisfied.
Christians make many financial mistakes, but through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we can correct our mistakes. Check out this question on the website, but remember your will need to register and login first: What is the biggest money mistake?