Our worldview and values
determine how we make financial decisions in life. A wise move from an earthly viewpoint may not necessarily be so from an eternal
man asked Jesus to mediate in the task of dividing the inheritance with his
brother. But Jesus did not entertain his request. Sensing his greed and
self-centredness, the supreme Judge of man’s heart, instead warned him: “Take heed and beware of covetousness,for one’s life does not
consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).
Jesus told him a parable to illustrate the danger of merely focusing on worldly
wealth. In the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke
12:16-21), the main character thought that he had made a most worry-free decision. The best way to ensure a good
future, he thought, is to accumulate more and more riches so that he can afford
to sit back, eat, drink and be merry. So after a bumper harvest, he decided to
break down his existing barns and build bigger barns to store grain.
he did not foresee that God would suddenly snatch away his life. And then who will be the beneficiaries? His next-of-kin would be the ones making merry instead. (By the way, that’s how we get the term, ‘merry widow’).
concluded the parable by saying that
those who lay up treasures for themselves and are not rich towards God are just
like this rich fool.
other extreme is a Christian who
takes to heart Jesus’ teaching (Luke 12: 24-31) not to worry about his material
needs as the creator who feeds the ravens and causes the lilies to thrive will
be faithful in meeting his needs. His understanding, based on God’s love and care
for His creation, is that there is no need to save, work hard or plan. And if, long
ago, God could provide for the prophet Elijah’s needs through the raven and the
brook, can’t He similarly meet the needs of those who serve Him today?
third scenario is the believer who
commits to God his finances (Proverbs 3:5-6) but realises that he too must play an active role
in determining the fate of his personal finances. He believes that he must work
hard, save, exercise prudence and invest taking into account calculated risks,
just like the faithful stewards in the Parable of the Talents.
have just alluded to three classes
of people who make financial decisions based on markedly different worldviews. The
rich fool only thinks about the ‘here and now’ and what this world has to offer
whereas the other two categories have both eternal and temporal concerns in
mind, albeit in varying degrees.
Scenario A: Personal finances under absolute
control by man. God is out of the picture.
Scenario B: God is almost 100% in the picture. Faith is so strong trait in this person
that he hardly sees any need to play an active role. He may have an unspoken
distrust for hard work, saving and investing because he feels that these are “props”
that take his eyes away from God.
Scenario C: A balanced view. While it’s
important to trust God and not worry about our finances, he sees the need to
play an active role as a coworker with God in determining his
view do you think is most closely aligned with the Bible?
financial planning negate faith?
we work hard, save and invest, does it mean we are not trusting God enough?
donor-supported ministers and other believers supposed to operate differently
when it comes to making wise financial decisions?
do we maintain a close walk with God and yet make wise financial decisions that
ensure a stable and secure future?
self-preservation a desirable trait for believers?
will not be dogmatic on this issue, except to say that the first category—those who are akin to the
rich fool— will
really regret one day for having made these so-called “wise”, “worry-free decisions”
investment, in itself, is not wrong. But when it merely focuses on self and
puts God out of the picture, then it is useless from an eternal perspective. “Wealth is worthless in the
day of wrath, but
righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4).
It is up to believers to choose for
themselves whether they should embrace the second or third model.
To help them think through the broad ramifications of
this issue of making wise financial decisions,
here are some posts on faith and how it relates to our finances.
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to
divide the inheritance with me.”But he said to him,“Man,who made me a
judge or arbitrator over you?”And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for
one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”And he told them a parable,
saying,“The land of a rich man produced plentifully,and he thought to himself,‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’And he said, ‘I will do this: I
will tear down mybarns and build
larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.And I will say to my soul, “Soul,
you have ample goods laid upfor many years;
relax,eat, drink, be merry.”’But God said to him,‘Fool!This nightyour soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared,whose will they be?’So is the onewho lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
And he said to his disciples,“Therefore I tell you,do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about
your body, what you will put on.For life is more than food, and
the body more than clothing.Consider the ravens: they neither
sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.Of how much more value are you than the birds!And which of you by being anxious
can add a single hour to hisspan of life?If then you are not able to do as
small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?Consider the lilies, how they
grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you,even Solomon in
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God so clothes the grass,
which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how
much more will he clothe you,O you of little
faith!And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, norbe worried.Forall the nations
of the world seek after these things, andyour Father knows that you need them.Instead,seekhiskingdom,and these things
will be added to you.