In a culture of materialism, where more is better and she who earns the most is best, honoring God with our finances is an intentional choice. But even as we explore scripture on this topic, we see that handling finances in a godly manner has always been a struggle! People across cultures and time have had to balance the need to provide for themselves with the call to honor God with their earnings. The Bible speaks to finances frequently, and today we’re discussing three ways we can honor God with our finances based on the book of Proverbs.
1. Pay off debt.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)
There are times when debt is necessary or even, in some circumstances, wise—such as investing in a business, taking out moderate loans for higher education or paying off expensive medical bills. But it’s never wise to remain in debt or make it a lifestyle. When we are in debt, we don’t actually own our money or even our material goods! We are slaves to whoever lent us that money—whether it be a credit card company or a bank.
To honor God with our finances when we have debt, we should make it our goal to get out of debt as soon as possible. This is a process and it requires a budget and self-discipline! But when we free ourselves from the weight of debt, we’re more free to save and give—which we’ll talk about in a moment.
My husband graduated with around $30,000 of school debt after college. It was tough, but we paid it off in around 15 months, thanks to taking a financial class while dating. We can’t recommend this enough!
2. Save for the future.
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. (Proverbs 13:11)
A second way to honor God with our finances is to save for the future. However, we have to really think about our motive for saving! If we’re saving money just to spend it on our own pleasure, we’re forgetting that God is the one who gives us everything we own. He is also the one who keeps us secure. No amount of money can protect us from life’s uncertainty!
That said, part of being good stewards of God’s gifts is to save our money for the future. Whether we use this to provide for ourselves or to bless others, saving our funds little by little—being diligent at work and with our budget—results in greater blessing than financial negligence.
3. Give to others.
Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them. (Proverbs 22:22-23)
A third way we honor God with our finances is by giving to others. There are a few ways to do this. Many believers still abide by the 10 percent tithe. The underlying motive for tithing is giving back to God the “first fruits” of our earnings. Because God is the one who provides jobs and a wage, we give back to Him—and His church—10 percent of our earnings as a way of thanking Him and trusting Him for His provision.
Personally, this is what my family abides by. Even when my husband was laid off for two months this past summer and money was tight, we continued to tithe as a way of showing God our gratitude for His provision and our trust that He could continue to be faithful.
Giving, however, is usually in addition to tithing and is not directed to the church. This giving can and should be Spirit-led. When you hear of a need in your community or among your friends, you can use your finances to bless the people in those situations. This is a great way to be the hands of Christ to those in need.
Finances challenge our trust, but they are a practical way to live out our faith in Jesus. If you need more advice on how to create a budget, read about the financial class we took in this post.