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This is a guest post from Khaleef from KNS Financial (and Fat Guy Skinny Wallet, where he is tracking his struggle to lose 100lbs) as part of the 5th Yakezie blog swap. This week, everyone wrote about what motivates them to be financially responsible. You can view my post at Khaleef’s blog too by clicking here.
When the idea of writing about our financial motivation first came up, I was nervous. I knew that my biggest motivation may be offensive to some. Before you read this please know that is not my intention at all – I just want to share what is on my heart.
This is only the second time that I’ve ever done a guest post, so I want to first thank Jacob for giving me this opportunity!
My motivation to be financially responsible can really be broken down into three main areas: 1) Being a steward of God’s provision. 2) Having a good testimony before others…and 3) Freedom! Let’s take a look at each one in detail.
Financial Motivation: Stewardship of God’s Provision
The main thing that motivates me to be financially responsible is my devotion to God. The bible is clear that Christians are slaves to Christ (and He is our Lord)! That means that everything that I have is subject to God’s will and His word. This includes my marriage, my time, my devotion, my desires, and even my finances!
The bible makes it clear that we are nothing more than stewards over what God has given to us. As a steward, I do not have any rights, but merely responsibilities. It is not my money to begin with, but God has blessed me with what I have, in order that I might carry out His will.
It is just like a man going on a journey and leaving a steward in charge of his possessions. The steward would be expected to live off of the provision of the owner and to take the rest and use it the way the owner wants it used. The steward has an obligation to make sure that the owner’s will is being carried out by using the possessions in the right way (according to the instructions left by the owner)!
Many people (including me when I first became a Christian) see the bible as only dealing with deep, spiritual matters. But what I have found is that the bible is full of commands about how we are to handle our finances. This is because how someone views, and reacts to money, is usually a clear indication of what’s going on in their heart!
Here are some of the broad topics that the bible addresses when it comes to financial matters. These are the things that motivate me to be financially responsible on the major issues.
We are told to honor the Lord with our wealth (Proverbs 3:9-10), and in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, we find instruction on how to practically carry out that command:
For us (because I know that I can speak for my wife in this matter), we try to remain focused on the fact that it is God who provides for us. This helps us to avoid putting our trust in “the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy“. We know that we have a future in heaven, and so we do not agonize over earthly riches, nor stress over financial setbacks (as long as they are not the result of poor financial management).
The fact that we are to honor the Lord with our riches, and that those who are rich are given clear instructions on how to handle their money, shows that God does not hate wealth or wealthy people – in fact, Deuteronomy 8:18 teaches, “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth…”!
We are told that debt is equivalent to slavery (Proverbs 22:7) – this is something that I am currently feeling firsthand! This is why I hate debt the way that I do…it usually stems from poor money management (yes I know that some people use debt as leverage, but most don’t), and it puts you in a place where you can’t give to help others!
In our finances, we are expected to give our best and first to God! God commanded the nation of Israel saying, “You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God” (Exodus 23:19a) and when detailing the offerings that went toward supporting the priests He says, “You shall give him the first fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep” (Deuteronomy 18:4).
Proverbs 11:24-29 tells us that we are expected to be generous and ready to share! We are also commanded to be fair and compassionate in our dealings with others (Proverbs 3:27:28). In fact, the bible is very clear on how workers, managers, and business owners are to conduct themselves (Ephesians 6:5-9; Amos 8:4-6).
All these things enter my mind before I make any decision on what to do with my money. However, the instruction doesn’t just stop at these larger principles. This post would turn into a book (hmmm…that’s not a bad idea 😉 ), if I were to list every little detail. However, the bible does give a lot of practical instruction on things like giving, Christians paying taxes, get rich quick schemes, investing, and even becoming a cosigner on a loan.
As I said earlier, as a born again believer, I am a slave to Christ and I find joy in obeying God’s commands. It isn’t always easy to do, but I know it’s right, and I know that God will bless me when I am obedient. So, my primary motivation to be financially responsible is to be a good steward over God’s provision.
Well, after I just wrote about my primary motivation, it would be a horrible thing if you found me constantly violating these biblical financial principles! If I claim to have this God-given desire to follow these commands, and then you see me doing other things with my money on a regular basis, a couple of things may happen.
First, this sort of hypocritical behavior can lead someone to conclude that my Christian faith really hasn’t done anything to change my worldview. I would give someone cause to blaspheme the word of God, and consider it to be a lie! When it comes to matters of sin, salvation, hell, and heaven, no one would care what I have to say, since I’m not even being faithful to simple things like money management!
So, I am motivated to live out these things so that I don’t cause someone to have a low view of God or the bible.
Second, another believer could witness how I mismanage my money, and conclude that this is how a Christian should behave (especially since many people are not taught what the bible teaches about finances). They could say, “Well, if Khaleef went out and borrowed a bunch of money in order to buy electronics, cars, a house, or vacations, then I guess it’s okay for us Christians to do that”! I do not want my actions to lead someone to go against God’s word!
Because I am currently in debt, this is a huge motivation for me! We manage our finances the way that we do (what many would call conservatively), because we eventually want to be free. Whenever we have to make a decision concerning our finances, we always have to think about our debt! This is why I fully understand what the bible means when it says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” ~ Proverbs 22:7
If we want to move, or make a purchase, or pay for an item to be repaired, we have to consult our financial master (debt) to see if we can do it. Our giving has been hurt, and we are not able to help people the way that we want…all because our master won’t let us!
I would love to be able to work from home and build up my financial consulting and tax preparation business (and also work on my websites)! Being able to spend the majority of my days with my wife would be such a wonderful blessing! Once we are out of debt and have adequate savings, we plan to make this a reality (as long as it’s in God’s will).
So, being free from debt, and free to serve God completely with my finances is a huge motivation to be financially responsible.
I know that many of you who read this are not Christians. However, I feel that the beauty of what the bible teaches about finance is that if you apply these principles to your life, you’ll most likely become a better financial manager! Trying to avoid debt, get rich quick schemes, and chasing after money with no real goals in mind, will automatically make you better off!
Just be sure that before you make a financial decision, it lines up with your ultimate goals in life. No matter what your motivation may be, you will need discipline and an ability to think about the long-term in order to make it!
How about you all? What motivates you to be financially responsible?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.
- I am very honored to be hosting just your second ever guest post Khaleef! It’s an honor to have someone which as well-established of a blog as yours here at MPFJ!
- @ We are told that debt is equivalent to slavery (Proverbs 22:7) – I didn’t know money was so directly addressed in the bible! Interesting!
- @ The idea of Khaleef turning his ideas in to a book – I actually think you might be on to something there. How is the market for books on Christian finances? I have never looked, but it might be an opportunity to take advantage of!
- @ The ideas in the whole article – It’s very interesting to me how motivations for something can be very different, but the end result/goal is the same.
- For example, Khaleef wants to be debt free to have the freedom to better serve God, whereas my motivation for being debt free is more to have the freedom to travel, move where I want if life events occur, etc. The end goal is the same (being debt free), but the motivations are different. It is interesting to me.
***Photo courtesy of Goldemberg Fonseca