Managing your finances can be stressful. According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 72% of Americans report that they deal with anxiety when they think about their money. Additionally, money (or possessions since bartering was common in ancient times) is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible. Once Christ came to earth, the topic of money continued to be at or near the top of His teachings. In fact, 11 of His 40 parables dealt with money and how to manage it. Jesus spent more time discussing money than He did faith and prayer combined.
With so many Bible verses about money, it’s clear that God wants us to understand how to manage our finances His way. If you’re like nearly two-thirds of Americans, the concept of even thinking about your finances induces stress and worry. However, if we commit our finances to God and handling them according to His Word, we can reduce the amount of stress that we face when we start balancing checkbooks and making monthly budgets.
Misconceptions About Money
Before we proceed, let’s take a minute to clear up some misconceptions about money. First of all, the money never says that “money is the root of all evil.” Contrary to the popular cliché, those words are not found anywhere in the Bible. Instead, the Bible says that the “love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). When we prioritize making money, spending money and generally find ourselves obsessed with money, we tend to neglect the relationships that God has placed in our lives, including our relationship with Him.
Many people also point to Jesus’ statement that “it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into Heaven” (Matthew 19:24) as a verse that correlates having money with being sinful. However, Christ was pointing to the obsession that some people have with money that Paul was referencing in 1 Timothy 6:10.
Having money, investing, working hard for your income and being actively engaged in growing your own net-worth is not sinful. However, it’s important that we don’t let the pursuit of more money be the driving force in our lives. We need money in order to live and God understands that fact. However, we are commanded to remember that He is our source and our provider. While money plays a necessary role in our daily lives, our lives are not to be lived in pursuit of more money. Instead, we are called to live in pursuit of God.
Guarding Against Greed
Now that we’ve established that there is nothing inerrantly wrong with having money, we have to learn how to manage it in a Godly way. However, there are also Godly principles that we can apply if we don’t have access to abundant financial resources. In the twelfth chapter of Saint Luke’s Gospel, we read about an interaction between Jesus and a man who wanted more money than he had.
So, how does God say that we should confront financial anxiety?
Luke 12:13 (TPT)
Just then someone spoke up from the crowd and said, “Master, you should tell my older brother that he has to divide the family inheritance and give me my fair share.”
This young man wanted Jesus to settle a legal dispute between him and his older brother because he wanted access to the family money. Jesus immediately pointed out that it wasn’t His place to intervene in family financial disputes (Luke 12:14). However, He did provide some advice for the young man and the others who had gathered.
Luke 12:15 (TPT)
Speaking to the people, Jesus continued, “Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. For your life can never be measured by the amount of things you possess.”
“Guard your heart from greed.” There is a difference in wanting to improve your quality of life and being greedy. Since Jesus was able to hear peoples’ thoughts and see the desires of their heart, we can deduce that this young man didn’t have pure motives.
If you allow yourself to be consumed with the constant pursuit of more money, greed will overtake your heart. When your heart is overwhelmed by the need for more, you will live in constant stress about how to get access to more money. One of the best ways to manage the stress associated with money is to ensure that you’re not motivated by greed.
Commit to Working for What You Want
Proverbs 6:6-8 (TPT)
When you’re feeling lazy, come and learn a lesson from this tiny ant. Yes, all you lazybones, come learn from the example of the ant and enter into wisdom. The ants have no chief, no boss, no manager-no one has to tell them what to do. You’ll see them working and toiling all summer long, stockpiling their food in preparation for winter.
It’s easy to view your job as a source of stress while also accepting the fact that being employed pays your bills. When trying to overcome the anxiety associated with money management, you may be tempted to think that you’re better off leaving your stressful job and allowing God to “meet all your needs according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). While there is nothing wrong with getting out of a toxic work environment that damages your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, it’s important to understand that Bible commands us to work for the things we want or need.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived pointed to an ant as an example of what we should do. Ants work tirelessly for what they have without being told what to do. In the same way, we should work for things we want or need and build a reserve of assets that we can use during more difficult times.
Malachi 3:10 (ESV)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says that Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
In all of Scripture, this is the only time that we are encouraged to test God. It’s not shocking that the opportunity to put God’s faithfulness to the test is related to our finances. While receiving should not be our motive for giving, the Bible does present a clear correlation between God giving us more and our willingness to give what we have.
It sounds counterintuitive, but one way to reduce your financial stress is to be more willing to give of the resources that you have. Your kneejerk reaction to that statement may be something alone the lines of, “But, I don’t have enough to give away!” That’s a normal response when confronted with the idea of giving money away. However, when we view all of our resources as a gift from God (James 1:17), we can shift our perspective on giving. Our giving is not a method of shortchanging ourselves. Instead, it is a way of returning a portion of what God has given us to Him in order to benefit others.
When we commit to Godly giving, He promises to “open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing until there is no more need.” God promises to give to us when we give to Him. What that looks like may vary, but His promise to meet all of our needs is unchangeable. If you’re looking for a way to reduce the stress that you feel when dealing with money, make sure that giving is in your budget.
Instead of letting the stress associated with money management overwhelm you, commit your finances to God. Allow Him and His Word to guide you in your financial decisions. While there may still be times where you feel yourself experiencing stress related to your finances, you can rest in God’s promise of provision for His people.
A Closing Prayer:
God, thank You for providing clear directions for how to manage my finances according to Your Word. Help me to be faithful to you in all areas of my life, including my finances. In Jesus’ name, Amen!