When you boil it down to the essentials, there are five ways you can interact with money. You can earn it, you can live on it, you can give it away, you can pay it to someone you owe, or you can grow it for the future. So, earn, live, give, owe, and grow … and on this MoneyWise, Rob talks to you about biblical precepts and practical guidelines related to the first of those five: earning. This is MoneyWise (Live) … biblical wisdom for your financial journey.
- Last week, MoneyWise started something new — a segment each Monday devoted to “first principles,” those truths that undergird everything else we teach and talk about on this program. We started with the most important thing of all — namely that Jesus Christ is Lord. That may not sound very “financial,” but it has implications for everything you and I do in life.
- “Lord” means one who has both power and authority. To say “Jesus is Lord” means that we acknowledge his authority over us, and we trust in his power to help us learn to be wise and faithful stewards of what he entrusts to us.
- One of the things Scripture teaches us about earning is that it is God who gives us the ability to produce wealth - Deuteronomy 8:18. If you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize how obvious that truth is. It is God who created us. It is he who gives us the physical strength and the mental prowess to do productive work. And, it’s been my observation that he seems to give most people a natural bent toward a certain type of work.
- For example, some people are very detail-oriented and make good research assistants and accountants. Some people are very personable. They make good salespeople. Some people are brainy. They make for good scholars. These natural inclinations can be fostered and refined, but we don’t come up with them ourselves. It’s something God puts into us — and not just for work-related purposes. Our natural traits may have other applications. But the point is, these things are gifts from God — gifts that can help us make our way in the world.
- This is why we should always be humble about our success in the work world. As Christians we know that everything flows from God. The Apostle Paul touches on this idea in his first letter to the Corinthians when he asks, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
Of course, you and I are responsible for taking what God has given us and using it to the fullest. Typically that will involve honing our skills and also gaining new ones. And we must do things — concerning a job — like show up on time, work diligently, and be trustworthy, knowing that how we work is a means of honoring God.
- We also need to recognize that whatever we earn, whether it comes to us by our current labor, or by way of our investments, or what we receive from a pension, or even by way of Social Security benefits is not really “ours.” Our “earnings” really belong to God — the One who has given us the ability to make wealth.
- He entrusts those earnings to us to use as stewards on his behalf.
The 18th-century preacher and theologian John Wesley once wrote a sermon titled “The Use of Money.” In it, he urged Christian believers to do three things. He said, "Having, first, gained all you can, and secondly saved all you can, then give all you can." In other words, the pathway to saving sufficiently and giving generously begins with gaining — that is to say, earning, as much as we can. Now, we all know that earning potential will differ from person to person, based on one’s skills and career field, and also on things such as one’s health and family responsibilities.
- To the highest degree possible, we should apply ourselves to earning what we can so that we can take care of loved ones, save for the future, and be generous. If we are able-bodied and of working age, we should seek to earn money through diligent, honorable work, all the while seeing our work as part of our stewardship over what God has entrusted to us.
- Now, the responsibility that employers have - scripture is clear that employers must not exploit or take advantage of their employees. And they certainly must not withhold wages that are due. Such a thing is an affront to God’s justice as James, chapter 5 makes abundantly clear. Every Christian employer should pray regularly about the Golden Rule. Jesus wasn’t necessarily speaking to employers when he said “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” but what better precept is there for trying to discern if you are treating employees fairly?
- If you're an employer, ask God, “What should I be doing, in terms of pay and benefits, that I would think is fair … if I were the employee instead of the employer.
- Next Monday, we’ll continue with our teaching on the “first principles” of being financially faithful.
Next, Rob answers these questions at 800-525-7000 or via email at Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org:
- If you have money in your savings that you are counting as part of your emergency fund that isn't earning much, where should you move it? ally.com , marcus.com , capitalone.com
- If you and your wife buy I Bonds, can you set each other as the beneficiary?
- If you want to pay off and close some credit cards soon, will doing so negatively affect your credit score?
- If you're 64, still working, your house paid and intend on living mostly on Social Security, you have an IRA with $142,000 and it's supposed to only earn .88% interest in the next 5 years, how else should you invest this fund?
- If you purchased a property that has someone else's name than your own on your deed and local attorneys won't take your case because the name on your deed worked at the courthouse and they say it would be conflict of interest, what should you do?
- If you thought you'd resolved a billing issue with your cable company but have recently discovered they did not mark it as resolved and you've received a collection notice for $37.00 for a invoice from 2+ years ago, will this affect your credit score?
- If you're getting close to a time when you need to sell your business, how do you discover it's value so you may set a price?
- If you and your wife have $10,000, you're approved for a mortgage on a 2nd property for a $300,000 property, you have a mortgage on your primary home that runs $1,100 per month, you're living paycheck to paycheck and you've put earnest money down on the 2nd property, are you in a good financial position to move forward?
Be sure to check out the rest of MoneyWise.org to connect with a MoneyWise Coach or access our books and our many free helpful resources. You can also find us on Facebook (MoneyWise Media) and join the conversation. Thanks for your prayerful and financial support that helps keep MoneyWise on the air. And if you'd like to help, just click the Donate tab at the top of the page.