Financial Parables – Your Saving Grace

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This guest post is contributed by Rachel King, who writes on the topic of Christian Universities . Rachel welcomes your comments at her email address:

Money simply does not have the value it once did.

There’s only so much you can stretch that dollar and it’s not going very far. Today, although you earn much more than your parents did, it’s still not enough because your lifestyle has become more lavish too. It’s almost obscene the amount of money we waste on things that are not really essential and the amount of money we borrow to spend (credit cards).

What with the recent economic crash, there’s more reason now than ever before to save money, and what better way than to do it in the way Christ taught us, using His parables.

Three Parables That Have Financial Implications

The Good Samaritan

A traveler is beaten up and robbed and left to die. While priests and temple assistants ignore his plight and pass on by, a despised Samaritan takes him to an inn and cares for him.

While the story emphasizes that we must see good where it really exists and not where we think it exists, financially, it could mean that you must know which financial products are good for you and which are not suitable.

For example, the credit card may seem more desirable when compared to a debit card, but the latter does not make you a debtor like the former does.

Moral of the story – all that glitters is not gold.

The Prodigal Son

The tale of the rebel son who shuns his parents, takes his inheritance, blows it all up and goes to ruin in the process serves to teach us the lesson that wise investments help you avoid losses. You need to be prudent and use your senses to judge which financial decisions are sound and which are not. If you insist on squandering all the money you have, you’re going to find yourself in a mess, and the only difference from this parable is that you won’t have benevolent and forgiving people to bring out the fatted calf on your return.

Moral of the story – don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

The Lost Coin (or the Lost Sheep)

This parable recounts the tale of a woman who had ten coins and lost one of them. She lit a lamp and searched high and low until she found the one she had lost.

The lost sheep refers to a shepherd who searches for one of the hundred sheep he has lost until he finds it. So too must you be careful with your money.

You must take care to keep what you have secure instead of being negligent and frittering all your money away.

Moral of the story – a penny saved is a penny earned.

What do you think are the financial implications of these parables?


  1. says

    Hey Rachel, I appreciate the post. I understand you’re trying to use a parable to illustrate a point, but I guess I just don’t see how you’ve connected your morals of the stories to the points of the parables.

    It seems these are glossing over the heart issues that are at stake when it comes to our money –

    For example, the Good Samaritan shows us that we are to be a neighbor even to our enemies, even when we don’t want to or it might be to our peril – he gave his time on the Jericho road to help his enemy, he cleaned him up, he brought him to an inn and paid for his stay and even paid the innkeeper to take care of him – it’s truly an amazing story. This guy didn’t clutch his time or his money with tight fists, but had an open hand mentality on his money.

    Lesson learned? Perhaps we need the same loose grip on our finances instead of hoarding and clutching them so tightly – and we need to look for opportunities to help even our enemies, after all Christ was a neighbor to us when we were an enemy to Him and he was gracious enough to pick us up, clean us off and give all He had for us!

    The prodigal son didn’t put his eggs all in one basket – he was wasteful, he was frivolous and he was a rebel – he really thought that money and what money bought would bring him happiness, but it didn’t! He quickly realized that it’s a dead end road to view money as the ultimate joy.

    The older son in that parable was the opposite – he didn’t spend a dime, never disobeyed his father and didn’t waste his father’s money, but we find in him an arrogance and a sense of pride. He may have thought that following all his father’s rules would bring him happiness, but it didn’t.

    Lesson learned? Perhaps it’s the fact that neither frivolity or frugality will bring us happiness -maybe it’s about surrendering even our finances to Christ and laying them at his feet becase we realize that He is the one who brings ultimate joy and He is enough – no matter what!

    I’ll keep it at those two to save some room for others.

    Just my thoughts.
    .-= Jason @ Redeeming Riches´s last blog ..Does Your Money Define You? =-.

  2. says

    I’m sorry, but such an application of these parables to money just rubs me the wrong way. It’s a big stretch. Jason’s applications seem more in line with the morals behind Jesus’ parables. The applications in this post seem like an attempt to mix worldly teaching with Bible verses. (I’m not saying that your points were bad or wrong…I just think you’re on dangerous ground trying to stretch those parables to convey the meanings you used.)
    .-= Paul Williams @ Provident Planning´s last blog ..Tithing in the Bible: Background for Malachi – Nehemiah 10, 12, & 13 =-.

  3. says

    If there’s a money related theme to these verses, it seems it’s primarily about being willing to let go of money in favor of people. That’s really almost counter-monetary at it’s core.

    The Good Samaritan took care of a member of a hated tribe because it was the right thing to do, and where money was concerned, he was willing to part with some of his in order to care for that person. The prodigal son was a parable about forgiveness and the lost coin/sheep are about God’s unrelenting drive to retrieve the lost.

    I have to agree with Jason here. The connections to money in these verses are mainly incidental. If there is a money message it’s probably “be willing to let it go.”
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Ten Common Sense Ways to Reduce Our Identity Footprint =-.

  4. Craig says

    Hey all. I thought I’d chime in. I was sleeping while all of you were having this fantastic discussion (16hrs difference from EST).

    Rachel, I think one thing your post did highlight is the importance of ‘community discernment’. The Scriptures were first a community affair. Most letters were written to groups and read to groups. As such, others can help us to refine our understanding of Scripture. As we share our thoughts fellow Christians can help us refine our interpretation. Therefore, we have all been blessed by the opportunity to question and re-evalute the meaning of these three parables.

    I would tend to agree that Jesus was trying to communicate something different in these parables. Since the other commenters have already done the hard work of pointing us in the right direction, I won’t rehash all those valid points (see Jason’s comments above).

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