What Does the Bible Teach About Spending Money?

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There are two common feelings associated with spending – guilt and pleasure (which may lead to indulgence).

At times people feel one or the other of those emotions, and at times they feel both. Either extreme is terribly dangerous.

An overly guilty conscience makes it difficult to honor the generosity of the Father. If God is the Source of all we have then ultimately it is a blessing to be able to enjoy his abundant generosity. Job 1:1-3 introduces a man of great wealth. For the very first paragraph the writer assures us that “this man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.”

On the other hand, if you seek too much personal pleasure you will ignore the biblical mandate to consider the needs of others. This is, after all, the second most important command. Luke 16:19-31 highlights this danger in the story (parable?) of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Rich Man enjoyed all he had in abundance without regard for his neighbor.

Most likely, you lean towards one extreme – too much guilt or unchecked pleasure. It is essential as Christians for us to recognize our tendencies so we can address them.

guilt

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV)

Maxine Hancock writes (Living on Less and Liking it More):

Nagging feelings of guilt about physical comforts should be banished if, first of all, the good things we have are not received at the expense of others; and second, if the good things we enjoy are truly within our means and are not just a result of setting ourselves adrift on a sea of credit.

Economically, it has been argued that spending is a way to help others (indirectly through the economy). This certainly can be true. Essentially, I believe it comes down to the ever illusive “call on your life”. What is God asking of you?  Both perspectives have legitimate Biblical foundations. Perhaps that means we should find a balance.

It is important to spend time in prayer to determine how God wants you to use the resources he entrusted to you. Ask a Christian friend or church leader to honestly determine how your spending needs to change for it to become more healthy.

What do you think the Bible has to say about spending money?

Comments

  1. says

    Craig, I want to envy your awesome blog and life but I guess that wouldn’t be the most biblical move. Honestly though, it’s great to read that you are a missionary abroad and really worldwide through this blog. I’m getting started in the blogging world and sites like yours remind me to focus on God and not myself. I look forward to reading more of your posts. God Bless!
    -Ryan

  2. FinancialBondage says

    I think God is okay with us spending money, even on ourselves. As long as we stay debt free, don’t overindulge on stuff we don’t need or can’t afford, and we help others.

    I agree, your blog is awesome. If mine could become 1/2 this cool, that would be a great accomplishment. Perhaps someday. :)

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