God’s View on Making and Managing Money

Is wealth sinful? Is poverty virtuous? What does the Bible say?
From the March 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Some people choose to be poor. They believe poverty is admirable or even righteous. They live ultrasimple lives, or even banish themselves to a bare-bones existence in a religious house or monastery, thinking that this makes them closer to God.

Is money—even wealth—bad? What does the Bible say about money? Everyone needs it, but there are right and wrong ways to use it. How much is too little? How much is too much?

The Bible is a vault of wisdom about money. It contains very practical instruction. So let’s dive in and study it. Open your Bible and read each scripture that answers each question. This will help you learn and remember the principles we cover.

God Wants You to Prosper!

1. Who owns everything on Earth? Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 24:1; Haggai 2:8.

God created everything and therefore owns everything. Some say God is against riches. But how could He be? He Himself is a multitrillionaire!

2. Does God hoard His wealth? Does God desire for you to prosper? John 10:10, last part; 3 John 2; Ecclesiastes 5:19.

God gives of all He has made. That is His way. In fact, He created all things for the purpose of sharing them! God wants us to enjoy the wealth of blessings His creation offers.

3. What are some of the blessings God promises to those who live righteously? Psalm 1:1-3; 112:1-3; 84:11-12; 37:3-4.

4. Since God owns everything, and all you have comes from Him, what does He expect from you? Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10. If you obey God in this respect, will He bless you even more? Same verses.

The firstfruits, or tithe, is the first 10 percent of your income. God wants you to show your appreciation and respect for Him by giving that portion back to Him before you take anything else out of your paycheck. The governments of this world demand 25 or 50 percent or more, God commands that we pay only 10 percent. We don’t give this to God directly, but to His representative on Earth. When we do, we will find that the remainder of our money stretches even further!

Money Tips

Now that we have established that God is in favor of wealth, let’s look at some money tips from the Bible.

1. How important is hard work in making money? What will laziness and a love of pleasures lead to, monetarily? Proverbs 21:17; 23:21; 24:30-34.

2. Besides diligence and hard work, what lesson can we learn from the ant? Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:24-25.

While food is plenteous, ants store enough to last them through the colder months. This teaches us not only to save for the future and to set money aside for emergencies, but also the principle of budgeting, allocating money for specific purposes to cover all your expenses, from food and housing to entertainment. This practice keeps you in control of your money and is invaluable in managing a household. The sooner you develop this habit the better!

3. How can your choices today help you prepare for a financially stable future? Proverbs 24:27; verses 3-4.

Verse 27 in the Moffatt translation reads, “First work your farm, and till the soil—then marry and set up house.” There is much to be said for getting established with a good job and saving some money before taking on the responsibilities of a family. Some people marry too young and end up struggling financially—and otherwise—for years.

4. Will generously sharing your wealth—with God and others—actually increase your wealth? Luke 6:38; Proverbs 11:24-25.

The Revised Standard Version renders Proverbs 11:24, “One man gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” It is smart to save money and spend wisely, but don’t become stingy. Give generously, as you are able, and you will have more in the long run. Selfishly hoarding each dollar may seem to make you richer, but in fact God’s way of give leads to greater blessings. Read Luke 12:15-21 of the man who used his great wealth for selfish purposes.

5. Is it important to leave an inheritance for your children when you die? Proverbs 13:22.

This too follows God’s way of give. Occasionally you hear older people say, “We’re spending our kids’ inheritance!” as they indulge in purchasing some luxury. That often lighthearted sentiment actually reveals a selfish, nonbiblical attitude toward money. God says to keep your children and even your future grandchildren in your financial plans!

Pitfalls of Wealth—and the Solution

Let’s now look at some of the common problems that money can cause—and get the Bible’s solution.

1. What dangers await the person who lusts after money? 1 Timothy 6:9-10. What does God suggest to the person who has great wealth? Verses 17-19.

Greed drives people to do terrible, unethical things. Verse 10 should read “a root” (money is not the cause of every evil, but it is one cause for all sorts of evil). As we will see from other scriptures, God wants to ensure that physical riches are used correctly and never become more important than spiritual riches.

2. Another mistake is to covet possessions. In order to get things they do not have the money for, many people borrow the money or charge the expense to a credit card. Is that wise? What does God say about borrowing, or going into debt? Proverbs 22:7.

Those who lend money, such as credit card companies, usually charge interest—an extra percentage of the debt for the “service” they provide. The greater your debt, the harder it is to pay for it! Just ask someone who is trying to get out of debt—it enslaves you!

3. What about get-rich-quick schemes, promising instant wealth for little labor? Proverbs 28:20, 22; 13:11.

Always be on guard against this classic appeal to greed and laziness! To avoid this trap, always be willing to work for your living (Proverbs 28:19).

4. Should money be your main reason for working? Proverbs 23:4-5. What effect can preoccupation with money have on a family? Proverbs 15:27. What does the Bible say to those who believe money will solve their problems? Ecclesiastes 5:12-16; Luke 12:15.

5. What will ultimately happen to the person who trusts in his possessions? Proverbs 11:28. Where should your heart be instead? Matthew 6:19-21, 24.

It is easy to become materialistic, preoccupied with money and things, because as a human being, you are material—made of flesh and blood. But God cautions against putting physical riches above spiritual riches. Read the story in Matthew 19:16-26 of the man who turned away from Christ because he wasn’t willing to give up his “great possessions.” You must be willing, if necessary, to give up anything to follow God! Being unwilling to do this amounts to idolatry, which is breaking the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3).

6. What are some biblical examples of things that are more important than physical wealth? Proverbs 16:16; 22:1; 15:16; Psalm 119:72.

7. We all need money to live, but money issues can tend to take up too much of our thinking. What should our overall attitude be toward providing for our physical needs? Matthew 6:25-32.

Never allow money troubles to overwhelm your thinking. Trust God to provide.

8. What should our main goal in life be? Verse 33.

The bottom-line solution to many of the pitfalls of wealth, particularly the covetousness and greed it can arouse within us, is to seek first God’s Kingdom. Always make sure that God’s way of life, His law, His spiritual wealth, is most important in your life. That way, you can be sure that God will see to your other needs.

Final Advice

1. Should you be content with your physical state as it is? Philippians 4:11-12, 19; 1 Timothy 6:6-8.

Here is a secret of happiness. Most people, at all levels of income, believe they would be happier if they only had a little more money. There is nothing wrong with trying to improve your station in life, but learn to enjoy just what you have. Proverbs 30:7-9 show great wisdom: It is a request that God provide an income exactly right for the person—so that he can avoid the pitfalls of being either too poor or too rich.

2. How can you tell if the blessings you receive are from God? Proverbs 10:22.

Worldly wealth can come by unwholesome means. But when God blesses you with riches, whether physical or spiritual, there will be no bad kickbacks or side effects. You will be able to fully enjoy them!

3. How important are your money-management skills to God? Luke 16:10-11.

Read the whole parable, beginning in verse 1. To be trusted with more exciting, grander assignments in the future, you must prove trustworthy in the smaller things today. How do you treat the blessings God gives you? Proper money management develops and demonstrates the qualities of character that God will need in His Kingdom. Care for your money and possessions—and keep them in perspective—and the riches God will ultimately give you will stagger your imagination!