Financial planning is relatively new as a profession, but as a practice, it goes back centuries. In fact, Jesus even discussed financial planning in Luke 14:28. While that is the most specific reference to our modern financial planning in the Bible, there is a lot more that it has to say about planning for your finances.
Planning is Wise & Good
Overall, the Bible says that planning is a good thing. Proverbs 4:26 says to “give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” That’s what planning is, it’s giving careful thought to something before it happens. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Not only are we commanded to plan, but it can be very profitable for us. It seems like Solomon, who wrote the Proverbs, is trying to sell us on the idea.
That’s not even all he had to say about financial planning. He says that’s how we can be wise. In Proverbs 6:6-8 he says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Again in Proverbs 21:20 he says, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” Planning ahead is wise.
Solomon wasn’t the only one recommending financial planning. Even Jesus thought it was a good idea. At one point, he was discussing the importance of considering the cost of becoming a disciple of his before doing so. He used this example, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30) He’s pretty harsh with what he has to say about those who don’t do financial planning.
If You Remember Your True Source of Security
It sure sounds like Jesus thought financial planning is a good idea, but it isn’t without risks. There is an important warning for all of us in James 4:13-15: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” In summary, it’s good to plan but don’t put all of your trust in your plans.
At the end of the day, we do not know what the future holds but God is the one that holds the future in his hands. We need to be careful not to place our security in our plans and our wealth, as Jesus illustrated in a story he told in Luke 12:16-21: Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
While God wants us to make plans for our finances and enjoy them, we need to maintain a proper perspective. Our identity, value, and security come from God, not our wealth. Paul put it nicely when he wrote to Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17)
Commit Your Plans to the Lord
So far we have seen that planning is wise and beneficial for us, though not without risks. There’s another really good reason to plan for our finances– because they’re not really ours! Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
God owns everything. That money we call ours? It’s really his. He’s just letting us manage it for him. It’s funny, but we tend to be more careful with things that belong to other people than our own things. Are you careful to keep your feet off of your neighbor’s couch even though you put them on your own? Or parents, do you find that you’re much more careful when you’re watching someone else’s kids?
The fact that the money we possess belongs to God should motivate us to be even more careful and more diligent with our plans. After all, we will have to answer to him for how we handle it. Because it’s his money, he should also be involved in the plans. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” If we commit to planning our finances the way he would want us to, he will establish our plans. Some translations of that verse say he will make your plans succeed.
And Allow God to Lead You
The key is allowing God to shape your plans instead of just making plans and asking him to bless them. Allowing God to lead your plans instead of just following conventional wisdom is vital, as Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
That may seem like a daunting task– creating a financial plan after God’s own heart. But he doesn’t expect you to do it alone. James tells us that “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
The Importance of Biblical Financial Planning
Sometimes Christians don’t like to talk about finances because they view them as worldly and inferior to “spiritual matters.” They cast aside financial planning in favor of what they view as more spiritual, such as prayer and serving the church.
Nevertheless, Jesus himself said that how we manage our finances has very serious spiritual implications. In Luke 16:10-13 he says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
We are called to practice financial planning because how we manage our money is practice for how we will handle the true riches that God wants to give us. At Guide Financial Planning, we would be honored to come alongside you in your financial planning. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” We want to help you succeed. To learn more, schedule a call with us.
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.