If you spend much time reading personal finance advice for Christians (either on Provident Planning or somewhere else), you’ll probably start to realize that it’s not all that different from other personal finance advice. Most of the good advice for Christians applies equally to non-Christians as well. Stick to a budget, spend less than you earn, avoid excessive debt, keep an emergency fund, minimize your taxes, don’t buy insurance you don’t need, save for the future – none of those things are particularly Christian in nature.
There may be some points in which Christian personal finance and secular personal finance will differ, but, generally speaking, good personal finance advice is the same regardless of your religion. The difference – and this is a major difference – is in the ultimate purpose, the final goal, of following that good advice.
As far as the world is concerned, it makes sense to make smart personal finance decisions because that’s what is best for you. Good money management will help you meet your goals, maximize your wealth, and get the most out of the money you’ve earned. And according to the world, that’s what you should do with your money. Use it for the things you want. Use it to meet your goals and fulfill your dreams.
But for Christians, making smart decisions in our finances is not important just so we can maximize our wealth and meet all our desires. Our purpose is not to find fulfillment in this world and the things it offers. Our purpose is to honor and glorify God – to serve Him with our entire being in everything we do. Our goal is to do His will. And part of God’s will for us is to share His love by caring for those in need through generous giving. We don’t try to maximize our wealth for our own use. We try to maximize our wealth for God’s use.
I want you to remember this as you read the articles I write. Many times there won’t be a Bible verse in a post. Personal finance in the Bible is more about the principles that should govern our decisions – not specific applications (like how to get out of debt). But it’s very important that we remember the purpose of seeking and following good financial advice.
When I talk about spending less, it’s so we’ll have more to give. When I talk about earning more money, it’s so we’ll have more to give. When I talk about making smart financial choices, it’s so we’ll have more to give. It all comes back to giving – giving motivated by love that flows out of our response to God’s Gift to us.
Yes, making good financial decisions will have benefits for you personally. But our focus as Christians is on the benefits those decisions will have for the Kingdom. In our efforts to follow good financial advice, let’s keep our eyes focused on Christ and our minds focused on how we can serve Him fully.
The advice we follow may not be all that different from non-Christians. But the motivation, goals, and results should be very, very different. And that difference will serve as a witness for the power of God’s love working in our lives.
What do you think makes Christian personal finance different? Let me know in the comments!
You said it, brother. The practices of money management (Christian vs Secular)may be very similar but the principles are vastly different.
The key, as I see it, is the difference between managing your own money and managing someone else’s money. Of course EVERYTHING ultimately belongs to God, but, as Christians, we are intentionally managing God’s assets, so we are ever mindful of how HE wants his money used. Like you said, it is to honor God and build his kingdom.
Thanks for a timely reminder.
.-= Joe Plemon´s last blog ..Love and Money =-.
Thanks for your comment, Joe. What you said is very true – we must be intentional and mindful. If we just follow good PF advice without thinking about why we’re doing it, we’ll most likely end up using the extra wealth it creates on ourselves – on our wants and desires. We have to keep focused on what God wants us to do and how we can follow Christ. Thanks again for sharing!
Paul – This is a great article! Thank you — we need to continually remember these truths as we daily serve the Lord in the workplace.
Thanks for commenting, Linda! I think these are good differences to remember at all times, but they’ll certainly make a difference in how we conduct ourselves in business and at work.
God bless you Paul for reminding us of the actual need for PF. Most often, we forget the rationale underlying the christian’s PF plan. As you stated, it is not for our personal gain, although we turn to benefit as well. The christian’s PF process/plan is scriptural and spiritual. As we work hard to improve out PF, let’s remember that this is for the benefit of the body of christ first, before our personal profit. God bless you so much.
Thanks, Michael and thanks for commenting! It is far too easy to lose the focus when you get into talking about personal finance tips and strategies and especially when you focus only on “your” goals. I hope I always keep the focus on God’s goals for us in the forefront on Provident Planning. That’s my goal at least!