The Bible has a lot to say about money. In fact, money and possessions are referenced over two thousand times throughout the scriptures! That is approximately seven times more often than “love,” which is the second most referenced topic. Money was an important topic in biblical times, and it remains an important topic today.
So what does the Bible teach us about money? Perhaps more importantly, how can we apply what the Bible says about money to our daily life today?
Author, pastor, and theologian J.D. Greear boils down the thousands of references about money into six key biblical principles. He goes further to explain that operating solely on one (or even two or three) and not the others will cause us to move out of balance. Doing so means we are moving to an extreme position on money that can very easily lead us into an unhealthy space spiritually and practically.
Using Greear’s six biblical money principles, this article offers practical steps to live in such a way that maintains the tension Greear speaks of and restores a healthy financial balance.
J.D. Greear’s Six Biblical Money Principles
1. God gives excess to some so that they can share with those who have less.
2. Jesus’ radical generosity toward us should be our model and motivation for radical generosity toward others.
3. The Holy Spirit must guide us as to which sacrifices we are to make.
4. God delights in our enjoyment of His material gifts and gives us richly all things to enjoy.
5. We are not to trust in riches and not to define our lives by the abundance of our possessions.
6. Wealth building is wise.
See Greear’s blog on The Generosity Matrix for further reading on these principles and the Scripture references that back them up.
To put it on a spectrum, if you focus solely on building wealth and ignore the other principles you will surely get caught up in your own personal gain. Conversely, if you are only concerned about giving all your material possessions you have you may miss out on God’s desire for you to enjoy the blessings given to you! Holding each principle in tension, rather, results in what Greear calls extravagant generosity.
Putting it into Practice
Extravagant generosity doesn’t just happen. Living out these principles in healthy balance takes effort and intentionality. Here are four exercises to help point us towards that balance, and ultimately towards extravagant generosity:
Review Your Expenses
What sticks out to you about your spending? Does your spending align with what you say you value? Pray over your budget with an open mind for how the Spirit may guide you.
Make a List of Your Possessions
Spend some time expressing your gratitude to God for the possessions you have. Ask and listen for ways you can use these possessions to bless others.
Be Intentionally Generous
Come up with a few preplanned ways for how you’ll be generous with your possession and throughout your regular routine. A few ideas are:
Carry gift cards to a local grocery store with you. Offer them as you encounter those in need.
Always offer to drive. Whether you are a parent or student, perhaps you’ve become embittered towards your friends or other parents when they do not share driving responsibilities. Instead, make it a point to cheerfully offer to drive whenever able.
Proactively offer to lend relevant possessions to others. This could range from tools and equipment to a lake home cabin. Perhaps your church, neighborhood, or school has a message board where you can post your offer.
Always stop to assist someone on the road. Perhaps you are handy with cars or simply always carry jumper cables and know how to change a tire. Of course, always take all reasonable safety precautions necessary.
Dream Big About Generosity
What are some radical ways you hope to be generous? What would you do if you had $1 million to put directly towards Kingdom work? What will you do with your time to further the Kingdom once working your career job is no longer necessary? This kind of prayerful thinking can help uncover Spirit-led passions. Building wealth over time can help us be extremely generous with our time, talent, and treasure later in life.
Study Jesus’ Generosity
Read through the gospels and make note of each time that Jesus gives to others. It is incredible to see all of the ways that Jesus cares for others by sacrificially giving to them. Jesus gives his time, his attention, his energy, and ultimately his life so that our sins can be forgiven. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work in our hearts so that we would take on more of the character of Christ.
Living a Balanced Life
The Bible is our source of wisdom when it comes to money, and it isn’t short of teachings about the topic! On one extreme, we certainly can’t ignore money and God’s call for Christians to exemplify Christ’s love through our generosity. On another extreme, it is unhealthy to take the viewpoint that we must sacrifice every possible gift or possession God gives us and live in abject poverty in order to achieve extravagant generosity.
Guide Financial Planning is built upon putting biblical teachings and principles into practice. Our aim is to help individuals and families be eternally focused with their finances. Do you have questions about your finances? We can help you align your financial life with biblical money principles that lead to extravagant generosity in your life. Reach out to schedule a free 30-minute phone call today!
About Guide Financial Planning
Guide Financial Planning is led by founder Ben Wacek, who is a Christian fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Kingdom Advisor®. He has a passion to help people of all income levels make wise financial decisions and steward their resources from an eternal perspective using Biblical principles. Based in Minneapolis, MN, he works with clients both locally and virtually throughout the country and abroad. You can follow the links to learn more about Guide Financial Planning and our team and the services we offer.