Financial discipline is crucial for Christians. Yet so many come to the church not knowing how to manage their money. Often people are in debt, unable to survive on their income. The solution is not giving them money, but rather teaching them to manage their money. This lesson can help people with God's persepective on managing money, mainly out of the Proverbs.
1. Put God first
Loving money will never lead to happiness.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. What does this verse mean to you?
We shouldn't desire riches or poverty, but just what we need.
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Why is it bad to have too much money? [We may forget God]
Why is it bad to have too little money? [We may steal or get distracted from the kingdom by chasing money to solve our problems]
Jesus also made it clear that we must choose between money(career) and God. Don't put job first.
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
How can you tell if someone is putting money ahead of God? [They miss meetings in order to collect or borrow money. They miss meetings because of work. They miss quiet times because of work. They go out of town a lot for work. They do not give their 100% monthly contribution]
2. Love hard work
The Bible clearly teaches that every Christian needs to work and not be dependant.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,
12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-10
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you,
8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.
10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
Although it is ok to accept help occasionally, it is not right to depend on others for our living.
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
According to this, how do people get poor? [By being lazy]
Christians need to not simply talk about getting a job, they need to do it.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Hardwork will lead to your financial problems eventually being solved.
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
Some people are lazy in a different way. Instead of lying in bed, they do make plans. They want to make money. They always have new business schemes.
Have you ever known anyone like that?
3. Actively plan
It simply is stupid to be undisciplined with money - it kills us. We must actively plan. If you are not disciplined with your use of money, you will surely run into trouble. There are four principles to help plan your finances.
a. Budget your money
Make a budget. How? Take your time, make sure to include all expenses and income.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
Look at the sample budget below for a single person.
||Rent is second
||Travel to work (25 days)||1,000
||Don't forget bus fare, Rs.40/- round-trip)
||Toothpaste, Shampoo, cosmetics||600
||Rice and flour||1,000
||You may share food expenses if you live with others
||Vegetables & fruits||1,000
||Rs.250 per week
The way to make a budget is to write down everything you have to buy each month. Write down your income and expenses. Get advice on your personal situation. Sit down with your discipler. And cut your planned expenses until the income and expenses are the same.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
When you get advice, it makes you think about what you are doing and you do a better job.
As you make a budget, be sure to pray about it. Don't worry.
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
When we give our plans to God, he blesses them. Think about it, have you been praying about your financial plans? Have you been asking God to give you guidance?
Have any of you ever prayed about your finances, and then God blessed you?
b. Accumulate money a bit at a time
Save on the little things. It adds up.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
One useful idea is whenever you get extra money (from family, or gifts, or provident fund or a loan repaid or you sell something), save it. Put it in a bank account. Don't spend it.
c. Never borrow or loan money
Borrowing ruins all your relationships and enslaves you. And lending money creates tension in relationships. It is better to give a gift than give a loan. Only give a loan if you don't need the money back.
A poor man is shunned by all his relatives-- how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.
What is the verse saying? [When people know someone wants to borrow money, they avoid him]
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
This verse says that the borrower becomes like a servant to the lender. The relationship becomes unnatural and fake.
Have you ever had a relationship ruined by borrowing or lending money?
d. Keep from wasting money
Avoid drinking, smoking and overeating. Fasting is good way to save money and get close to God at the same time.
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Some people waste money all at once. Avoid expensive hotels and fun times. Don't go on wild spending binges.
He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.
When we actively plan, we will budget our money, accumulate a bit at a time, never borrow or lend and keep from wasting money, we'll definitely have money in the bank.
4. No selfishness
Give generously to the church and the poor.
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
God is in control of your finances. When you give, he gives back to you.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
What does God do when we give to him? [He blesses us in a great way]
How has God blessed you financially since you became a disciple and started giving to God and his church?
We must realize that giving 10% of income is right. Look at the end of the Old Testament in Malachi.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty.
12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.
13 "You have said harsh things against me," says the LORD. "Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?'
14 "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?
15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'"
16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
Verse 10 talks about the "tithe". A tithe is ten percent. God wanted ten percent of their crops and he wants ten percent of our salary also. Let's have no selfishness in our financial lives.
We have learnt in this lesson about financial discipline. There are 4 keys.
1. Put God first
2. Love hard work
3. Actively plan
4. No selfishness.
If we PLAN properly, we'll never be poor. This week, sit down with your discipler and work out a budget. Then stick to that budget.