Three Concepts on Family Finances
Although the Bible is not a financial book, it offers valuable practical lessons to keep a good balance on home finances.
As the daughter of an entrepreneur, I was consistently involved in financial discussions. At the time, I did not understand how valuable those discussions were. As a married adult, I am now taking those discussions and combining them with the teachings of the Bible. When doing so, I found that there are some areas where I have learned valuable lessons over the years.
From Luke 14:28 (“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it”), it is clear that the Bible encourages budgeting prior to spending. A lot of families find this to be a stressful task; however, it does not have to be. The trick to making any budget is to first start with your family’s priorities and commitments, not the money. Agree on an order from most to least important; then bring the money into the equation to determine what priorities fit in the budget and what gets cut.
It is also important to bring your children into these conversations at the appropriate age. Budgeting is a learned skill, and the more practice you have, the better your chances are for success. My parents started teaching me to budget with back-to-school shopping. I was given my budget for supplies and was coached how to manage my budget. My family also shared the family budget and priorities with me. This open communication allowed me to have an appropriate relationship with money, where I viewed money as a tool that could help me achieve my goals rather than a love that I needed to strive after.
One of my favorite lines from my father is, “You have to spend money to make money,” which in today’s world holds true. God has given us an example of this in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In this parable, we see that the men had to invest their talents to grow their Lord’s kingdom.
As servants of God, we must invest more than just our money: it is our time, our talents, and our life. Concerning finances, there are many different ways we can “invest.” We can invest in tools that can help us in our careers. We can invest in our family, such as paying for our child’s music lessons. We can invest in our future such as in a 401k. The main lesson is to use the finances that God has given us in our pursuit to glorify Him. Having money hidden away is not a good use of the gifts God has given.
As a child, if I saw someone in need, I always wanted to do something to help, but I often found that I did not have a quarter to give. Most of this was due to lack of planning. As a Christian adult, I strongly believe that we need to plan our giving to the best of our abilities.
First Corinthians 16:2 reads, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper.” This verse should play into the family’s priorities conversation. Where does giving fall in your family’s priorities? If you arrive at “giving” on your priorities list, but there is not any income leftover to give, then most of the time either the family is living outside of its means, or the family has prioritized giving based on their will and not God’s will.