Is there really such a thing as ‘Christian’ finances?

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I slunk nervously into the chair.

I get nervous anytime I’m around needles.  The doctors office is always a treasure trove of needles.

The doctor, she-who-shall-not-be-named, started off with some small talk.

“It says here you work for yourself.”

“I sure do.”

“So what do you do?”

“We’ll … um… the easiest way to explain it is that I’m a blogger.”

“Interesting. What do you … blog about?”

“I write in two niches.  Christian finances and travel.”

“Is there really such a thing as Christian finances?”

Though I feel confident that there is indeed a very big difference, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some confusion.

It’s not uncommon to hear common sense, grandma’s advice, and God’s word to all be considered equally insightful into our finances.

What Christian finance is not

Contrary to how some people apply the Bible, Christian finance is not the art of figuring out how to be smart with money, and then finding Bible verses that agree with that mindset.

There are two names for that.

The first is eisegesis.  That is the art of taking your thoughts, ideas, and preconceived notions, and inserting them into the biblical text.

The second is proof texting.  That is the art of finding a bible verse that agrees with what you think, regardless of context and the historical situation of the text.

By the way, I think most of the teachings about what the Bible has to say about debt are guilty of one of these two errors.

What are ‘Christian’ finances?

Christians finance is the most petrifying and rewarding way to manage money.  It is chasing after God’s will for your finances.  It is a willingness to put aside all our fears and trust God to do what he says he will do.

Christian finance gives us the ‘why‘.

Sometimes the actions of a Christian and a non-Christian are very similar, however, the motivation and rationalization is very different.

Why are you giving?  Why are you getting out of debt?  Why do you do what you do with money?

As you answer those questions, you’ll be able to discover the motivation.  Is it a God-centered motivation?  Is it a God-honoring drive?

Christian finances recognize God’s wisdom above our own.

Because God’s math differs from ours, we’ll ultimately need to accept one form of math over and above the other.

Christian financial decisions are always made in light of eternity.

If this world is all there is, then we’d spend money differently.  However, our master has left us and we know he is coming back.

Christian finances should be others focused, not just self focused.

Hey, I said, “should”.

Here’s the priority God gives us: (1) God, (2) Others, and (3) Self.

Christian finances cannot be put in a separate category for Christians

Following Jesus requires one’s whole life.  We cannot say, “That is my finances, and this is my Christian faith.”  They both belong together and cannot be separated.

I’m sure I haven’t touched on everything.  What else do you think typifies or defines Christian finances as opposed to general personal finance?

 

 

Comments

  1. Charlene Roberson says

    Thanks so much for all your great articles! I found your website a few months back and have learned a lot and been challenged in my thinking in many ways since through your writing.

    Growing up I heard two extremes of “Christian” finances – one was to trust God in everything and not worry about finances. At all. I knew a pastor and his wife who were both going to seminary, borrowing their full loan eligibility ($41,000 per school year), and neglecting their mortgage payments in favor of providing meals and transportation for their youth group kids (mostly from poor immigrant families) on a regular and expensive basis. When I asked them about it, they told me that I needed to trust God’s provision and be generous in my giving, as they were.

    Another extreme I’ve heard is that I need to take care of my own needs first and make sure my family and household is financially stable and ready for retirement before giving to others in need. Because I come from an impoverished family and watched my parents make a number of foolish financial decisions over the years, I tend to lean towards this view, but have always struggled with the “ready for retirement” aspect of it. Why should I save up for an unknown, unpromised future for myself when there are so many in need of help right now?

    Lately I’ve been wrestling with my fear of instability and what I believe God has called me to in life – I currently work full-time in an office, but want to become self-employed as a vocal coach so I can have more time to devote to the praise and worship ministry at church and to my family. I don’t want to be rich, but I do want to be free – free of debt, and free to serve as I believe God has called me to.

    My question is – how do I know that I am not just straying to another extreme in my desire to quit my full-time job and pursue a calling in worship and music?

  2. says

    Jesus teaches us to consider everything selflessly, full of grace, Holy Spirit empowered, and to be Kingdom oriented, and follow scripture- including money. A high calling. Nice post, thank you for it.

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