“It is not a sin to be wealthy, but it can be dangerous. God is merciful and can deliver the rich from the danger of being rich, but many of us do not want to be delivered.”
There are three financial principles that have guided our family through the years. Early on it was clear to both Hannah and I that we had been blessed with so much and needed a plan for how to take care of what we had been given then turn around and give it away. In the crazy, complex world of money and material things we needed something simple, easy to remember and feasible to execute. These are not concepts we made up; they are rooted in the Scriptures and based on Jesus’ teaching. Virtually every decision we make as a family, individually and as a couple lines up with at least one of these financial principles The three principles are:
LIVE SIMPLY: St. Augustine said, “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.”
In Mark 10 Jesus encounters a man like many of us. This man was wealthy, respected in his community, intelligent and desired to follow God. He had experienced plenty in life, yet wasn’t satisfied, and was looking for something more. Jesus’ words are telling, “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have, give to the poor…then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21).
Similarly, in Luke 10:4 Jesus sends his disciples out into the community with clear instructions to not take money, luggage or extra shoes. What they had would have to do and Jesus promised to take care of the rest. To this day, his promise hasn’t changed. Clearly there is something special about the concept of simplicity when it comes to following Christ. Jesus know that money needs management, stuff requires supervision, and affluency demands our constant attention. Before long we are so consumed with maintaining our life that we have little room for anything else. The more we can go without leaves more margin for
INVEST WISELY: In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus, tells the parable of talents as an illustration of good investment principle. In this story an employer gives three men differing amounts of money for “safe keeping” before leaving on a long journey. Upon his return the boss calls his men forward to collect on his investment. Two men who invested the money received 100% return, doubling their master’s money and were considered wise and called “faithful.” (Matthew 25:21) In contrast, the third man, who opted to save the money, neither gained nor lost any. He made no return on his employer’s initial investment and was called “worthless” and “lazy” by his master (Matthew 26:26,30).
Jesus tells this story to illustrate that what we do in life matters. What we do with our master’s money, with our talents and with our time is vitally important. With so many potential investment opportunities today, what exactly should we be doing with the capital Christ has entrusted to us?
Clay Aderholt, a late mentor of mine, had a favorite saying to remind himself and others of what was truly important in life. Clay would say, “There are only two things in life that are eternal…relationships and the Word of God.” Clay believed that these two elements offered the highest ROI (return on investment) and he leveraged everything he had, his time, his talents, and his financial accounts towards better understanding God’s word and investing in people. Through relationships and because of the platform Clay had been given as a father, husband, mentor, teacher, coach and employee, he had incredible impact on the lives of those he came in contact with.
GIVE FREELY: When a family lives simply and invests wisely, they are then enabled to give freely.
In Luke 12:13-21 Jesus speaks of a wealthy man who builds bigger barns to store all his possessions only to die unexpectedly that very night. Jesus calls the man foolish, speaks about the brevity of life and challenges his listeners to be givers rather than gatherers. Throughout the scriptures, giving on the part of God’s people is described as “joyful” (2 Corinthians 9:7) , “generous” (2 Corinthians 8:2) , as well as “planned and purposeful” (1 Corinthians 16:2) . Our behavior should emulate the same.