God gives us principles for dealing with money, and we will cover ten of them in this post. *
'And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts'. Malachi 3:11
This verse is preceded by the verse on tithing. The tithe was to be brought into the house of God to provide meat in His house, and God says you will be blessed more than you can recover. These blessings will often be spiritual, and we discussed this in the previous principle. The devourer, however, refers to the here and now, and it speaks to your material things.
The devourer in Malachi 3:11 is that thing that causes you to be broke when you do not tithe. Unexpected car repairs, house repairs, doctors' visits can be the devourer. A broken computer, washing machine or dryer can be the devourer. It can be anything that is troublesome and eats into your resources. About the time the Israelites spent in the desert, God said, 'Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years'. God can make your things last when you trust Him with your tithes.
You Are the Manager of God's Things
When Joseph was in Egypt, he managed the house of Potiphar. Potiphar saw that he did well when Joseph was in charge, and he put him in charge of more things until the entire household was under his care. The Bible also tells us that when we are faithful in what is least that we will be faithful in what is much.
This means that God will oftentimes increase our responsibilities when we have shown that we can be trusted in the things He has given us. The Bible says that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, meaning the cattle or the things that we have really aren't ours. They are His, and He allows us to manage them for Him. Manage it well, and God will often increase what you have.
Seek Your God
2 Chronicles 31:21 says, 'In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.
Seek God. Follow His instructions for your life and for your money. God isn't going to prosper you if you have one hand in evil practices, and in case you're thinking of the people you know who are doing well but who are wicked, I have news for you. The Bible addresses this too. Psalm 73:19 says, 'How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!' Proverbs 10:22 says, 'The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it'.
On the other hand, when God does give a person their desires when they are living in sin, the Bible says this: 'So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them'. Psalm 106:15. Some translations say, instead, that they received leanness of soul. Has God ever let you have your way, but you felt sick inside? That is what this is talking about. It is better to avoid it. I can personally attest to how awesome it is when God blesses me, and I can enjoy it knowing I have His approval.
Take Risks for God
'But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money'. Matthew 25:18
In the parable of the talents, the master gives five talents to one servant, two to another, and one to another still. The master goes on a long journey and inspects the results when He returns. The servant to whom five talents were entrusted now has ten talents, and the servant who initially had two, now has four. These two are rewarded and are appointed to manage many things.
The last servant returned the money the master had given, as he had buried it in the ground and did nothing with it. The master was incensed. The servant says that he was fearful and distrustful of his master, and this is why he hid the money, and many of us live our lives the same way. Our talents can refer to our money, certainly, and it also expands to include our other abilities and resources as well. We need to invest these in the kingdom of God, doing things for those who need help.
'Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land'. Ecclesiastes 11:2
The Proverbs 31 lady ran several businesses. 'She considers a field and buys it; out of her earning she plants a vineyard'. Proverbs 31:16 This means that she used money from another venture to invest in land. She then tends to that land, possibly with the help of workers, to plant a vineyard that can be profitable.
Verse 18 says 'she sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night'. This means that she sells her wares in the market, putting her business acumen to use. Verse 19 says, 'in her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers', and verse 24 says, 'She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes'. If you have various abilities, by all means, use them!
David was at one time a shepherd and was also a songwriter and psalmist, and he later became king of Israel. Most of us are endowed with more than one gift, and if that is you, put it to good use and diversify! If you invest in several things, you have something to fall back on if something fails. The verse in Ecclesiastes may have been referring to crops or animals, basically saying, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
'Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense' Proverbs 12:11
'A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich'. Proverbs 13:4
God blesses diligence. In Proverbs 6:6-8, it says to observe the ant who is hard at work preparing her food in summer and her harvest in the fall. This isn't a bludgeon to batter those who have experienced hard times, and it is not a license to judge those who are poor or to beat yourself up if you lack financial means.
It is an admonition to be diligent in whatever you have, whether it is setting some money aside, working to earn a living, or building a business. It also means taking care of what God has given you.
Being diligent means learning to persevere when it is hard to keep going, and it means doing the same things consistently. It also means eschewing laziness. Proverbs 24:33 says, 'A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man'.
God doesn't give us material possessions so that we can hoard them away all for ourselves – He wants us to be generous. Proverbs 11:25 says, 'The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed'.
In bible times, the people were not allowed to gather all of their harvest but were to leave behind some crop for the poor to come and collect, or glean, in order to have something to eat.
Many times, people will neglect to be generous, because they are afraid that the remaining bank balance will be bleak. Proverbs 11:24 says, 'One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty'.
Being generous requires faith that there is a God in heaven who sees your actions and take care of you. Pray and seek God's guidance before giving, and know He will provide you with what you need.I love this verse: 'Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.' Luke 6:38
Don't Take Detours
Before Joshua entered the Promised Land, God had some instructions for him. He said this, 'Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest'. Joshua 1:7
When you're stewarding God's money, be sure to follow His instructions in life. If you are breaking God's commandments, very often, this will cost you money. This is not to say that bad things won't happen to good people, as it can and does happen, but it is to say that leaving His pathway can hurt our finances. Ask me how I know!
One such example of sin and monetary loss is found in Proverbs 6:26. It says, 'For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread; And the adulteress hunteth for the precious life.' Adultery and divorce cost money as does gambling, smoking, and being an alcoholic.
Get out of Debt
'The borrower is slave to the lender' Proverbs 22:7
I want to make it clear that I am not using these verses to beat anyone over the head as with a hammer. I was about $26,000 in debt, living on one income, as I wasn't able to work.
The debt was crushing. It would keep me awake at night. It felt like I could not breathe. I cried out for Him to help me, because it was strangling me slowly. God, by His mighty hand, helped me to get out of debt.
Getting out of debt has freed my husband to not have to work six day work weeks and to be able to take six weeks off when I had my baby in 2015. He has been able to take time off to help with the baby, and we eat much better than we used to.
Getting out of debt was a process that took us several years, and it has freed us up to do things we could not afford in the past. I also sleep better at night than I used to. I am not saying debt is a sin, but I am saying that it constrains us in ways that are very uncomfortable.
Being Faithful with Money Leads to the Real Blessing
'So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?' Luke 16:11
I used to balk at the idea of spiritual blessings: I wanted money. I had no idea how blessed it truly was that God gave me spiritual blessings in the form of gospel songs, blog posts, and devotional writings.
To date, I have written over 1,000 songs that have been played on the radio and hundreds of blog posts that have blessed people all over the world. He has given me ideas for things to share in the ministry that He has led me to start.
This principle is found in the parable of the unjust steward who could not be trusted with his master's money, and it demonstrates that God will trust those who are faithful with money as being more capable of handling his true riches.
Spiritual blessings are the true riches, because God says so, though it took me a long time to appreciate that fact. It isn't about getting a good feeling, as feelings are fickle, but it is about a lasting peace that comes about with God-given wisdom for living this life and into the next, as these blessings have trickled over into the lives of others.
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