When it comes to guiding people out of their debt problems, I wonder if I’m preaching more than I am teaching. I constantly feel this underlying message that I am teaching my clients to live by Biblical principles, even though most of my tutelage is simply common sense. What I can tell you is that the world’s view of money is often juxtaposed with Christian values, and that Common Sense principles are much more spiritual than worldly.
Living on less than you make
The world’s view of living on less than you make is that you should spend less, but credit is cheap so why worry?
Common sense’s view is that you shouldn’t spend more than you make and instead you would be serving your family well by having a savings account to the side.
A Christian’s view is that it is Godly to live on less and save some of the difference. To spend more than you make is wrong: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” – Proverbs [21:20]
The Borrower is Slave to the Lender
The world thinks debt (borrowing money) is normal and the American way of life. Besides, there is always Bankruptcy in case things get tough.
Common sense’s view is that we borrowed the money so we feel there is a responsibility to pay it back. It’s simply the right thing to do.
A Christian’s view is that “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” – Proverbs 22:7. We know there is no such thing as good debt and it is wise to pay for things instead of borrowing from someone.
We are called to manage money God’s way
The world doesn’t see it this way. The phrase “Managing Money” is what Financial Planners and credit counselors do, not individuals.
Common sense say Managing Money is good financial planning – at home with a budget, at the bank with savings accounts, and inside investment vehicles.
A Christian sees money as a way to carry out the Kingdom’s calling. God doesn’t ask us to live in poverty, but rather to give, save, and spend wisely. He asks us to be faithful in managing the small amounts He has given us (the ability we have to earn an income through the arms, legs, and brains he created) to go out in the world and make more money, which we can give/save/spend wisely again. He even says it is better to put money the bank to earn interest than to bury it in the ground (see Matthew [25:14]-30, the Parable of the Talents). It turns out God likes it when we make money wisely.
It all belongs to him anyway
The world’s view of money is that it is mine and I’ll will do what I want with it. “I’ll do what feels good”.
Common sense’s view is that I have a responsibility to do smart things with my money. I’ll use it to take care of myself and my family.
A Godly, Christian view of money is that it all belongs to him. “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills” – Psalm [50:10]. By the way, he owns the hills too!
Becoming Debt Free may be common sense, but there is plenty of proof to show that it is based on religious beliefs. Those who have learned the lesson of “It all belongs to him anyway” have made the decision to manage it better, and “living on less than you make” and no longer being “slave to the lender” has caused them to follow the many Scriptures that teach us how to manage money God’s way. And that is more than just Common Sense.