PERSONAL FINANCE PRINCIPLES......As It is in the Bible



PERSONAL FINANCE PRINCIPLES IN THE BIBLE


Introduction

The Bible is the manual of life.  It is God's word, His standards and instructions to us.  The bible is a living Word to instruct and educate us on how to live and prosper in the midst of all challenges.

The manual of life has a lot to say about money.  But allow me to say that sustainable living can only be sustained by hard work and diligence.  Jesus says "My Father works and I do work also".  There is no alternative to work for everyone that wants to have an abundance.

Personal finance is talking about managing your monetary resources to create wealth.  Every budget looks first at the income side to see what inflows you have to manage and how to manage such an inflow to achieve the target you have in the interim and in the future.

So, the first question is: What is your income, when is it received? How many streams of income do you have, through which financial inflows get to the person and how can you increase your inflow, in order to increase your lifestyle.

The bible did not expressly speak about streams of income, but it talks about working hard and being generous towards God.  But, even in working hard, the Lord advised us not to labour to be rich.  In Prov 23:4, the bible says -  Labour not to be rich, cease from thine own wisdom. It means let not riches be your main purpose for working or labour, otherwise it could lead to a lot of evil, for example Greed, deceiving people, stealing and cheating.

Before discussing the first principle, which is Labour or working hard, and managing your resources well, I want to bring our attention to the word of God in Ecclesiates.  In Eccl 9:11, King Solomon says "I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  

This is a caution that human efforts can fail, no matter how brilliant an idea or a person can be. so work hard, then pray for divine favour.  Led the hand of God be seen in your works and business, seize from your human wisdom.

Labour of your hand
Have faith in God and work hard for your income.  Labour works and the bible has a lot of words of encouragement for man.  Apostle Paul says let the person who does not work eat not.  Prayer can provide encouragement and support where there is labour.  But, if you do not labour, there will be no harvest.

Imagine a farmer who refuses to plant his seed during the farming season, he cannot be hoping for any harvest.  Every expectation of harvest is based on the fact that seed has been planted on the ground that will produce the harvest in due time.  You even have to weed the farm, add fertilizers and fumigated the farmland to be sure of good harvest.  Labour is very important to success.

When it comes to finances, people often go from one extreme to another, but the Bible makes it clear that the diligent man or woman will dine with Kings.  Prayer has its place, Labour has its place also.  Apostle Paul was a Tentmaker and believers must be doing something that God will bless.

Labour is what is in your hands that God will bless, but if there is nothing for God to bless, your finances will suffer and the person may be in lack.  Here are some scriptures about diligence and labour.

Scripture on Labour and Diligence:

1. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.Isa 3:10 

2. Prov 14:23 - All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. 

3. Prov 21:5 - 5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. 

4. Prov 23:4 -  Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

5. Prov 21:5 -  The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness, but of everyone that is hasty only to want.

6. Prov 10:4 - 4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

7. Prov 13:4 - The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

budget
The Bible doesn’t use the term budgeting, yet it offers clear illustrations on the importance of planning and organizing your resources before any major project.  In Luke 14:28-30, the bible says:  "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.

Budgeting helps you to avoid impulsive spending, and every other necessary expense you have no prepared to incur.  It helps you to be financially disciplined and live within your means.  There are two types of budgets that may be relevant here.  The personal budget of the man (Husband and his wife) separately drawn according to their monthly income and expenses.  This is necessary when the couple are working and there is a need to save money for future investment.

Personal Budget
The personal budget  is to ensure you have enough money left in a month for savings and investment.  That budget will spell out the amount that should go into the savings or investment account monthly, your transportation, Feeding in the office, entertainment and domestic household expenses.  Proverbs 27:23 says, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” In other words, you need to aware of your stock of goods, income and expenses and make necessary provisions.

For the men, the budget will help you cut-off some types of office entertainment that takes a lot of money away.  Eating with friends and paying for their food.  There are the special meal joints, where they serve some combination of food, Pepper Soup and drinks etc.  This is not the normal 'Lunch' meal that workers eat during break time, the men will understand.  It cost a little more and you may decide to avoid it for two to three years in order to save for an important project.

Budget is not complete without looking at incomes.  One thing a man should work hard and pray hard for is to have one or two other streams of income outside the monthly salary.  If you are in a paid employment, your first investment target should be one that brings additional income to you.  This side business is important to secure your future.

The steps to establishing a viable second income stream is not so easy and straight forward.  You will have to do some business survey and research to identify a business idea that is profitable and sustainable.  Seek people doing the business at the moment and know what challenges they are facing.  Make sure you identify the critical success factors for the business.  You also need to identify the factors that could destroy the investment.

Because you are not the person that will manage the business on a day-to-day basis, you need a business that others can conveniently manage for you successfully.  You can think of business along with your professional career or training. You should consider the nature of your work and location because both factors could affect your ability to monitor what is going on in the business.

Household Budget
To set up your household budget, figure out how much you spend each month for different categories of expenses.  In Africa here, we have a different way to manage the household budget.  The women would prefer to buy kitchen items and staple foodstuffs in bulk.  Food items like Rice, Beans, Garri are bought in bulk.  Consumables like tissue, flour, beverages and similar items are bought in bulk.  Even meat is actually bought in bulk, up to a month stock is bought by women and stored.

When all these are bought in bulk, the only things left will be fruit, vegetables, bread and water.  A good way to start household budgeting is to record every items and quantity purchased at the beginning of the month - Bulk items and note the total amount spent.  The woman knows the quantity of beverage the family consume monthly.  School bus and similar expenses are paid with the school fees.  

Fuel for the cars are never part of the monthly household budget, but gas or fuel for the Generator is added.  For wealthy homes, a provision is made for entertainment in a month.  It could be for fast food and other evening outings for the family.  It could be to stock drinks and wines, the type the household appreciate etc.  Women should be given free hand to draw the household budget and implement it.

Once you’ve established your budget, use either a ledger or a budgeting program on the computer to start tracking your monthly expenses. “If you get to the point where there’s no more money left for the month in a particular category, you may take money from a surplus area to cover an important item. 

The most important part of budget is to make sure that every expense is tracked and documented, no matter how small it may be. It’s going to take some determination to do, but once you master the process, you can be sure to get your finances under control.

Tithing
The top priority on our income, before we do anything else with it, should be God’s tithes. God says in Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.”

A tithe is 10 per cent of a person’s “increase” (Deuteronomy 14:22), which is given to support the ministry and work of the Church. When we tithe, we show God that we are putting Him first in our lives.  Certainly, God doesn’t need our money, but the money is required to support His works on earth.  The real beneficiaries of tithing are the people that pay the tithe because there is blessing attached to tithing.  In Malachi 3:10 God makes the promise that when we faithfully tithe, He will “open the windows of heaven, and pour out such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

The blessings can be physical or spiritual. Tithing can also help us learn to trust God more fully and build a closer relationship with Him. Often people who tithe can think back on times when—at least on paper—it didn’t look like they could afford to tithe. Yet they did and had enough—sometimes even more than enough—for their physical needs.

Tithing opens us to heavenly ideas that lead to prosperity.  If we continue to tithe, the idea is excellently executed and financial blessing starts to enter your hands and continues until you don't have space to contain it.  Tithing and the blessings attached to it is real when we tithe continually and on every increase we receive.  Anyone paying tithe and suffering lack has serious prayers to say.  It means there are curses in operation that has to be broken.

Saving
This is another biblically-based financial principle. Proverbs 21:20 says, “Be sensible and store up precious treasures—don’t waste them like a fool” (Contemporary English Version). Proverbs 6:6-8 describes the ant, who saves during a time of plenty for a time when there will be need. We, too, should save now for future expenses.

Financial planners generally suggest saving at least 10 per cent of your income every month. Saving up money before making a purchase is one of the smartest ways to keep out of financial trouble. What you don't have money for, don't buy or borrow.

Giving

One of the strongest bible references for giving is found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, which says " 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. 

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In that way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 

Everything we have—our money, physical assets, jobs and even the ability to earn money—comes from God (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19). God wants us to be liberal with what He has given us.   The bible says the liberal heart shall be made fat, and the rich should learn how to give , share and communicate.  1 Timothy 6:17-19.

The rich fool's heart was required the moment he saved all his goods for himself, instead of giving to God and others.  Don't be mean towards God, instead be rich towards God and the work of God.  Build your treasure in heaven, for where your treasure it, there will your hearty be. 

In Acts 20:35 Paul quotes Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Give with love in your heart, otherwise you have no reward.  Give sacrificially and unconditionally to others, including those who have nothing to give you back in return. 

Avoid borrowing
The Bible warns against the use of debt. Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” If you become burdened with a heavy load of debt, in essence you’ve become a slave to your creditors. You no longer have the freedom to decide how to spend your paycheck because you’re obligated to meet those debts.

The way to keep debt in check is to be careful about buying on credit. Don’t take bank loan for nonessential items that are likely to depreciate quickly, such as new automobiles, clothing, furniture, appliances or jewelry.  Thery are called downward investment.

CONCLUSION

It is a duty every Christian has, to identify biblical principles to living and working.  You should anchor your faith on God and His principles and instructions.  I have discussed some of the financial principles in the bible, but there are still more.  

By committing to these financial principles, we will benefit from improved finances and financial peace of mind. There will be less tension about money at home.


FIRE...

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