Leeds Vineyard

The 5 biblical principles for handling money

Job losses, bonus’s shrivelling, wage cuts, low interest rates.

These are anxious times for many people. And this has much to do with money.
Just watch the news night after night. Greek Debt. Central Banks. Bond Yields. Default. Bank crashes.


Many of us simply don’t understand money – it is all a jungle – but we do get worried.

And we end up having an interesting relationship with money. Each of us does and it is lifelong.


Preparing my tax return is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher. Albert Enstein

I spent my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. George Best


What’s your relationship with money?

  • Enjoyment – you link it with happiness (rare)
  • Dependency – your security is in having money and future money
  • Identity – having the trappings of money confers greater self-worth
  • Independence – money reduces your reliance on other people
  • Controlling – needed for paying the mortgage, maintaining lifestyle
  • Guilt – you are acutely aware of having a lot – a lot more than others anyway, or using it poorly
  • Addiction – need it, it taps into our pleasure sensors
  • Hate – despise it, ignore it
  • Fear – don’t open the envelopes
  • Confusion – don’t understand it
  • Worship – we give it worth and orientate our lives around it – earning it and spending it
    (“If you worship money you will always feel poor”, Tom Sachs, Wall Street Journal)
Money should be a neutral means of exchange but we let it do strange irrational things to us.
Compare being short-changed by £5 in a restaurant with paying an extra £5 when you buy your house – we might get bothered by one but not the other.
Whether you have £100 in your purse or in your bank account should make no difference to how wealthy you feel. But it does.
If you gamble £100 on lottery tickets over several weeks and then win £50 you think of it in terms of a win when actually you have lost.
We are not rational and association with or motivation by money leads us to some interesting behaviour patterns:
1.       Unfriendliness
2.       Less inclined to ask for and offer help
3.       More likely for marriage break ups
4.       Stress and ill-health
5.       Mental health problems
6.       Often akin to addictive behaviour

What does the bible say about money? Do you think it is possible that the God who made us might have some advice for how we should handle money? Well you are right, he does.

Matthew 6:25-34

He says, "do not worry" 6 times.
It's a different perspective, we are to seek God’s kingdom first, his rule and reign. That is our motivation and pre-occupation, what should drive us forward and provide the meaning in our lives.
We are in God’s hands, part of His plan. We worship him, we put our faith in him, we depend on him, we gain our identity from him, we are only truly happy when we know him, he is the only one who can tell us we are a success, our future depends upon him.
Here are some practical ways in which you can turn from a dysfunctional relationship with money:

1. It all belongs to God

1 Chronicles 29:14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us! NLT
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Haggai 2:8 The silver and gold is mine says the Lord.
Job 1:21 Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.
Luke 16 – Jesus tells us that we have been given what we have to see how trustworthy we are with it.
It all belongs to God
He is the owner, We are the stewards/tenants/trustees
He has rights , We have responsibilities - E.g. landlord and tenant
It all belongs to God

2. Spend less than you earn

 “I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.” Author: William Cowper
Ecclesiastes 5:10, “Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers!” NLT
(“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a labourer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.” NIV)
I Timothy 6:9 “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”
V. 9 – want to get rich, v. 10 – love of money, v.10 - eager for money
It is about wanting to live that lifestyle with this income. Everything out there is telling you to spend, spend, spend. That’s what advertising is – a gigantic machine to seduce you into parting with your cash for things you don’t need and which won’t make you as happy or as sexy or as successful as they say.
Digital TV is great to fast wind through the adverts. Note the inherent danger of reading magazines.
Two things you need to know:
  1. How much is your income going to be?
  2. How much is your spending going to be (starting with your giving)?
Spend less than you earn.
What happens if you spend more than you earn?

3. Avoid the use of debt

Herbert Hoover, “Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.”
The result is that we go into debt. And this is the number one money problem in the UK today.
The bible is not against borrowing, it just counsels extreme caution.
Proverbs 22:7 The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don't borrow and put yourself under their power.
Mortgages, student loans, bank loans/overdrafts, credit cards.
Debt moves you another stage further from the spend-less-than-you earn principle.
The borrower is under the power of the lender. Whose power do you want to be under?
Before you borrow any money ask these questions:
  1. Does taking on this debt meet one of your core (God-given) goals that cannot be met in any other way?
  2. Will I have a surplus after I take account of the repayment amounts?
  3. Is the benefit more than the cost?
  4. Do I have a secure way of repaying?
  5. Do you have peace of mind?
  6. Is your spouse (friend) in agreement ?
  1. Stop using credit cards, cut them up, grill them. Reduce your spending so that you are not spending more than your income (that is what is taking you into debt).
  2. Reduce your spending further so that you keep up to date with your loan repayments.
  3. Reduce your spending further so that you can start to repay the loans faster – pay off smaller and more expensive ones first).
Avoid the use of debt.

4. Save for the future

Proverbs 6:6-8 - Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. (NIV)
You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. (The Message)
Winston Churchill, Saving is a very fine thing, especially when your parents have done it for you.
John Wesley, Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can …
·         Income in retirement
·         In case of illness
·         For future costs & projects
Savings provide liquidity – choice and flexibility. Something comes along that you want to do, change jobs, move house, and you can do it straightaway without worrying about borrowing and affordability and being under someone else’s power.
How often have you heard about a mission trip or a Reach Out project or STEPS that needs money and you would love to have supported it but had no money you could call on.
Save but don’t hoard.
If you save more than you need – you over-accumulate – and that takes us back to the worship of money and the dysfunctional relationship we have with it.
Save for the future.

5. Have a plan for your life

What has God put in front of you?
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Luke 14:28, Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
The hardest part of looking after God’s money – finding out what He wants us to do with it and then making a plan.
What has God called you to do … and what are the financial ramifications?
          I would like to be financially independent when I am 70.
          I would like to pay off my mortgage by the time I am 60.
          I would like to be able to help my kids go through university and will need so much money in 10 years time.
          I want to set up my own business.
          I would like to give away substantially.
So, I need to pay this much off my mortgage and save this amount for university/business. Which means we will have to cut back on holidays or eating out. If you don’t have the plan in place – it is difficult to make a decision about now.
Have a plan for your life.

Biblical principles for money

  1. It all belongs to God
  2. Spend less than you earn
  3. Avoid the use of debt
  4. Save for the future
  5. Have a plan for your life

Matthew 6:25-34