Financial Success

Financial success is a blessing from God

Wealth is acknowledged to be a blessing from God. This can be seen from the witness of the Old Testament. God chose Abram and promised to bless him and make his name great (Gen. 12:1-3). In the process, Abram became rich (Gen. 13:2). Further, we are told that God blessed Isaac; and he became very rich (Gen. 26:12-14). Solomon's wealth was seen as a sign of God's favor (1 Kings 3:13; 10:23). Job, too, was blessed by God, and his wealth increased greatly (Job. 42:12).

Poverty is not necessarily a sign of God’s disfavor

Example of the poor widow

Dangers of wealth
Keep us from maturing in the faith

Jesus' references to money in the New Testament consist mainly of stories or parables that show the dangers of wealth. In the parable of the seed and the sower Jesus warned that riches and the pursuit of pleasure might keep some from maturing in the faith (Luke 8:14).

Cause us to put our trust in wealth

A harsh warning against the destructive nature of wealth is sounded in the story of the rich farmer (Luke 12:16-21).

Wealth can become an idol if we love it too much

Jesus viewed money or wealth as a spiritual power (Matt. 6:24), identifying wealth as an object of worship, a rival to God. For this reason Jesus often asked people to turn away from it (Matt. 19:21; Luke 12:33-34).

The only way to defeat the power of mammon is to give it away (Acts 20:35).

Paul likewise warned against the power of money. One of the qualifications of a church officer is to be free from the love of money (1 Tim. 3:3). Deacons likewise must not be "greedy for money" (1 Tim. 3:8 NRSV). The strongest warning is found in 1 Timothy 6:10 (NRSV): "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith." Paul may be implying that people who love money will resort to all kinds of things to get it. The desire for money has a way of enslaving the person seeking it.

Hebrews encourages us to "Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have (Heb. 13:5 NRSV).

Lack of wealth causes us to have anxiety

Jesus admonished us not to be anxious over material things, but to trust the Heavenly Father to care for our needs (Matt. 6:25-26).

Putting financial success in proper perspective
Importance of having the right perspective about wealth

It is important to put wealth in its proper perspective. If not we may spend our whole life pursuing it and lose out on other important aspects of life.

When a person lays dying, is he concerned about how much money he has in his bank account? Usually a person will think about God or where he will be after he dies. He may think of how his family will cope after his death.

Nobody on the dying bed will say, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” He may say, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.”

We cannot bring money with us when we die

(1 Tim 6:7-8 NIV)  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. {8} But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Soul is more important

(Mat 16:26 NIV)  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

A good reputation more important than riches

(Prov 22:1 NIV)  A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Life does not consist of abundance of possessions

(Luke 12:15 NIV)  Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

Personal worth and success are not to be measured in terms of material wealth or possessions. This is different from the way that the world views possessions.

Too much or too little is bad

(Prov 30:7-9 NIV)  "Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: {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.

 

Proper use of wealth
Do not accumulate treasures on earth

In Jesus' words, the person is a fool who labors to lay up treasures on earth rather than treasures in heaven.

Give to God what is due to Him

(Prov 3:9-10 NIV)  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.

More on tithing

Giving money to the needy

(Prov 28:27 NIV)  He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

For a while members of the Jerusalem church pooled their resources for the common good (Acts 2:44-45). To provide for the needs of those in their midst, owners of land and property sold it and gave it to the apostles (Acts 4:34-35). While this kind of sharing may not be a requirement, it provides a model for the responsibility that Christians have for one another.

Paul commended the liberal giving of the Macedonian Christians (2 Cor. 8:1-4; compare 2 Cor. 9:7).

Proper ways to accumulate wealth
Accumulate wealth through hard work

(Prov 10:4 NIV)  Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

(Prov 12:11 NIV)  He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Investing

It is not wise to let our money lie around doing nothing. Even Jesus uses the principle of investments in His illustrations.

(Mat 25:14-23 NIV)  "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. {15} To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. {16} The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. {17} So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. {18} But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. {19} "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. {20} The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' {21} "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' {22} "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' {23} "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

 

Guard against overspending/Saving for the future

Prov 21:20 The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get. (Living Bible)

Application: Have you been overspending? Do you save for the future?

 

 

 

Have a financial plan

(Prov 21:5 NIV)  The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

(Prov 20:4 NIV)  A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.

God wants us to anticipate future needs and prepare for them. We can’t expect him to come to our rescue when we cause our own problems through lack of planning and action.

Application: Do you have a financial plan to provide for your future needs?

 

 

 

 

Saving for the children

Improper ways to accumulate wealth
Beware of “quick rich” schemes

(Prov 13:11 NIV)  Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

(Prov 12:11 NIV)  He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

(Prov 28:19 NIV)  He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

(Prov 2:11 NIV)  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

Beware of too much debt

(Rom 13:8 NIV)  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

 

Do not make money through dishonest means

(Prov 21:6 NIV)  A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

Zacchaeus offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and restore four times to any one that he had cheated (Luke 19:8). This was a sign of his desire to follow Christ.

Do not exploit others for the sake of profit

(Deu 24:14-15 NIV)  Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns. {15} Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

 

Guard against financial pitfalls
Acting as guarantor

(Prov 11:15 NIV)  He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.

 

Do not undertake a project you cannot complete

(Luke 14:28-29 NIV)  "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? {29} For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,