Honoring God With Our Money: Creating a Budget

Financial Principles to Consider in Creating a Budget

The information below is adapted from Larry Burkett’s book Family Budgets That Work.

1)      Use a written plan.  A written plan helps keep you on track and provides a reference for you.  Adjust your budget as your income and/or expenses change.

2)      Provide for God’s work from the first part of your income.  God enables us to work and provide for our families.  All of our income truly belongs to God.  He asks for only a small portion of it back.

3)      Limit your use of credit.  Avoid using credit cards to purchase items you cannot afford.  Use credit only for large-ticket items that fit into your budget.

4)      Before buying new items, ask:

  1. Is it necessary?
  2. Is it the best buy?
  3. Is it an impulse purchase?

5)     Save regularly, even if it is only a small amount.  Setting aside even $10 or $20 per paycheck gets you in the habit of savings.  Increase savings as your budget allows until you can save 5% of your income.

6)      Set your own goals with your family.  No one else’s budget will work for you.  And your budget will not work for your family if one partner dictates the budget without input from the other spouse.  Work together as team.

7)      Get out of debt.  Develop a plan to pay off small debts first and continue until all debts are paid off.  We will look at strategies for paying off debt in two weeks.

8)    Avoid indulgences and lavishness in your family life.  However, do include  some money for leisure and recreation in your budget.  You will not be able to stick to your budget if you never feel rewarded for all your hard work.

9)     Seek good counsel if you have a question, preferably from a Christian financial counselor.  Crown Ministries (Crown.org) provides many resources to assist you in budgeting.

10)  Stick to your plans diligently.  Make a plan you can live with and follow it.

11)  Balance your checkbook every month or more often.

12)  Use duplicate checks if possible.

13)  Have only one bookkeeper in the family.  This should be whichever spouse is better at record keeping and balancing the budget.

Honoring God With Money: Applying Budgeting Principles

Applying Budgeting Principles

 Today’s post fills in the blanks in yesterday’s lesson.

Luke 16:12  “And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”

Root of Budget Problems:  Attitude

Attitudes that lead to budget problems can manifest themselves as greed, covetousness, ignorance, indulgence, or impatience.  (Larry Burkett, Christian Financial Concepts)

1)      Greed-excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions. 

The Bible warns against greed.

Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

2)      Covetousnesswrongly desirous of wealth or possessions. 

Covetousness is specifically forbidden in the Ten Commandments. 

Deuteronomy 5:21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

3)      Ignorance—not counting the true cost of owning an item. 

Problems that arise from ignorance include:

  1. Buying things you cannot afford because you haven’t properly considered the purchase price, finance charges, storage costs, maintenance and repairs
  2. Failure to properly balance your checking account and check for bank errors

4)      Indulgence—buying something of little or no utility to you

Indulgence purchases frequently wind up in garage sales or collecting dust.

To avoid indulgence purchases:

  1. Identify your need for the item desired
  2. Allocate money to pay for it
  3. Search out the best buy
  4. Pray about whether or not to make the purchase

James 5:1, 5 “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you….You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.”

5)      Impatience— restless desire for change and excitement.  Impatience manifests itself in:

  1. Making unwise purchases.  Before you buy, identify your need, allocate the money, search out the best buy, and pray about the purchase
  2. Trying to “get rich”  quickly

Proverbs 28:22 “The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.”

 

Two Common Tendencies of Budgeting:

1)      Set plans but never follow them.

2)      Set unrealistic plans.

 

Budgeting Involves:

1)      Assessing the current situation

2)      Deciding where you need to go

3)      Making a realistic plan to get there

Honoring God With Our Money: Root of Budgeting Problems

Last week, we looked at principles of budgeting. This week we talk about applying those principles to your actual budget. Budgeting principles will never help you accomplish your financial goals until you begin to apply them. God expects us to use the financial resources He provides us wisely.  When we demonstrate an ability to do that, God can entrust us with more.

Luke 16:12  “And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”

Root of Budget Problems:  Attitude

Attitudes that lead to budget problems can manifest themselves as greed, covetousness, ignorance, indulgence, or impatience.  (Larry Burkett, Christian Financial Concepts)

1)      Greed-__________________ desire, especially for wealth or possessions. 

The Bible warns against greed.

Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your __________ against all kinds of ____________; life does not consist in an abundance of ____________________.”

2)      Covetousness______________desirous of wealth or possessions. 

Covetousness is specifically forbidden in the Ten Commandments. 

Deuteronomy 5:21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your ________________ on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or __________________ that belongs to your neighbor.”

3)      Ignorance—not counting the _______________cost of owning an item. 

Problems that arise from ignorance include:

  1. ______________ things you cannot afford because you haven’t properly considered the purchase ____________, finance charges, ______________costs, maintenance and _________________
  2. Failure to properly balance your checking __________________ and check for bank ____________

4)      Indulgence—buying something of little or no _______________ to you

Indulgence purchases frequently wind up in garage sales or collecting dust.

To avoid indulgence purchases:

  1. _____________ your need for the item desired
  2. __________________money to pay for it
  3. _________________ out the best buy
  4. ________________ about whether or not to make the purchase

James 5:1, 5 “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the ________________ that is coming on you….You have lived on earth in _______________ and self-indulgence.”

5)      Impatience–_______________ desire for change and excitement.  Impatience manifests itself in:

  1. Making _______________ purchases.  Before you buy, identify your need, allocate the money, search out the best buy, and pray about the purchase
  2. Trying to get _____________  quickly

Proverbs 28:22 “The _____________ are eager to get rich and are unaware that __________________ awaits them.”

 

Two Common Tendencies of Budgeting:

1)      Set plans but never _______________ them.

2)      Set __________________ plans.

 

Budgeting Involves:

1)      ______________ the current situation

2)      ______________ where you need to go

3)      _______________ a realistic plan to get there

 

Honoring God With Our Money: Lesson 6

In week 6 of our Bible study on honoring God with our money, we look at what the Bible says about the value of work and God’s commands regarding charity.  This lesson concludes our exploration of what the Bible says about money.  In the coming weeks, we will examine practical applications in regarding to budgeting and living debt-free.

God commands those who can work to work and provide for their families. 

Prov. 10:4 Lazy hands make a man __________, but diligent hands bring __________.

Prov. 21:17 He who loves _______________ will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be __________.

Prov. 28:19-20 He who works his land will have _______________ food, but the one who chases _______________ will have his fill of poverty.  A _____________________ man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go ____________________.

Yet God commands us to be generous and share with the poor. What do the following verses tell us about how we are to treat the poor?”

Deut. 15:7  If anyone is poor among you…do not be __________________ or ______________________.

Deut. 15:11  There will always be poor people in the land.   Therefore I command you to be ______________________ toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Read Deuteronomy 26:12, Leviticus 19:10, and Luke 14:13.  To which specific groups of people are we commanded to show generosity?

1)      ______________________________

2)      ______________________________

3)      ______________________________

4)      ______________________________

5)      ______________________________

6)      _______________________________

In 2 Corinthians 9:11 and Proverbs 19:17, what does God promise to those who are generous?

1)      ______________________________________________

2)      ______________________________________________

Read Proverbs 17:15, 21:13, and 28:17.  What does God promise to those who do not assist the poor?

1)      _______________________________________________

2)      _______________________________________________

3)      _________________________________________________

Acts 10:1 – 4  Story of Cornelius—

 “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

What did Cornelius do that attracted God’s attention?

____________________________________________________________

What characteristics of Cornelius’s life should we emulate?

____________________________________________________________

 

Life Application:

Luke 12:33, 34 Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourself that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Honoring God With Our Money: The Shrewd Manager

As I developed this Bible study, the parable of the Shrewd Manager didn’t seem to agree with my sense of reasoning, yet I felt strongly that it should be included.

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager  (Luke 16: 1- 9)
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions.  So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

What do you think Jesus was trying to illustrate with this parable?  In our class, someone read a commentary that suggested that the manager had been cheating the customer and that he actually changed the bills back to what was truly owed to the master.  There certainly is reason to believe that as we know from the story of Zaccheus that tax collector frequently charged people more tax than was owed and kept the difference for themselves.  So, it may be the manager was undoing his wrongs and was, thus, commended by his master.

I found the final statement to be the most surprising, ” I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”  I am quite certain that Jesus is not advocating “buying” our way into Heaven, but I’m not sure what He is saying to us in the passage.

I do like the translate from the message.  The final portion from that version reads, “The master praised the crooked manager! And why?  Because he knew how to look after himself.  Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens.  They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits.  I want you to be smart in the same way–but for what is right–using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.”

What does this parable say to you?  Does it inspire you to better money management?  Does it inspire you to live in a more Christlike manner?

 

Jesus followed this parable with the verses I chose for this week’s life application:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealthy, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16: 10 – 12)

God expects to manage the assets He has given us to the best of our abilities.  He also expects us to manage well any assets others entrust to us.  If we manage well what He give us, He can entrust us with more.  And as we have seen  in earlier lessons, He gives to us abundantly so that we in turn can bless others.

Honoring God With Our Money: The Workers in the Vineyard

The Bible makes it very clear that employers are supposed to treat workers justly and pay them  a fair wage when it is due to them.  Most of the Scriptures on the subject of workers are in agreement with our current employment practices and law.  However, the Parable of th Workers in the Vineyard doesn’t seem to fit with our ideas of fairness.

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20: 1 – 16)
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[ for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.  About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The discussion questions asked how would you feel if you were one of the first workers to be hired? I think most of us would be as upset as the workers in this story were.  Imagine toiling for 8 – 10 hours in the hot sun, only to receive the same pay as those who worked for only one hour.  Yet, those first workers hired got exactly what they were promised–a fair day’s wage.

If you were the last worker hired, you attitude would be one of extreme gratitude.  All day long those workers had waited for someone to offer them employment.  Each time an employer showed up, I am sure they prayed to be chosen.  The last workers need employment just as badly as the first workers hired.  They had families that needed food and provision.  When the employer finally called them over and offered them work, I am sure they were grateful for the opportunity but were expecting only an hour’s pay.  How their hearts must have swelled with thankfulness when a full day’s wages was paid to them.

I believe that Jesus described an employer who looked at each worker with compassion and saw the desire of their hearts to provide for their families.  His distribution of pay was not intended to hurt those who worked all day but to help those who hadn’t been provided the same opportunity.  Today our employment laws prevent employers from treating workers differently.  However, the law doesn’t prevent employers from being generous with employees who need assistance.

One of the ways an employer can honor God with her money is to ask God to show her which employees are hurting financially and to look for ways to bless those individuals.  An employer might provide an employee with an opportunity to work overtime and earn extra money.  She might provide additional training and money for college classes to help an employee to advance into a higher paying job.  If the employee’s need is urgent, God might instruct the employer to personally provide the funds to meet the need or to direct the employee to churches and agencies which provide assistance.

An employer who seeks to honor God with his money will find many opportunities to bless his workers and help improve their lives.  God, in turn, will bless that employer and allow him to create more jobs to provide more people with employment.

Honoring God With Our Money: Lesson 5

Our dealings with others in business, whether our employees or co-workers or those serving us, need to reflect Christian principles of fairness and honesty.  In this lesson, we look at what the Bible says about fair business practices and it’s warnings against dishonesty.

Think About: Do you reflect Christ in the way you treat those with whom you do business?  In the way you treat your co-workers or your employees?

Reat the following verses to discover what does the Bible say about how we treat those who work for us?

 Leviticus 19: 13b    Do not hold back the ______________of a hired _____________overnight.

 Deuteronomy 24:5  ___________them their wages each day before sunset, because they are ______________ and counting on it.  Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of ________.

Isaiah 58:3 “Why have we ____________”, they say, “and you have not seen it?  Why have we ____________ ourselves and you have not noticed?”  Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you ___________ and ____________ all your workers.”

Malachi 3:5  So I will come near to you for _______________.  I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, against those who defraud _______________ of their ____________, who oppress widows, and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me, says the Lord Almighty.

 James 5:4  Look!  The ___________you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you.  The ___________ of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

 

 Read the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard  Matthew 20:1 – 16

 (1)  How would you feel if you were one of the first workers to be hired? 

(2)  What if you were the last worker hired? 

(3)  What are the implication of this story for how we treat workers? 

(4)  Do our laws prevent this type of generosity by an employer?

 

What does the Bible say about other business dealings?

 Prov. 13:11 ______________money ____________ away, but he who gathers ________________ little by little makes it grow.

 Prov. 28:8 He who increases his ______________ by ______________ interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the _____________.

 Luke 3:13, 14  Don’t ______________ any more than you are required to, he told them…Don’t ______________ money and don’t accuse people falsely…Be ______________ with your pay.

 

 Read the Parable of the Shrewd Manager  Luke 16: 1 – 9 

 (1)    How do you feel about the behavior of the manager?

(2)    Would you have commended the manager if you were the master?

(3)    Are you surprised by Jesus’s comment in verse 9?

 

 Life Application:

Luke 16: 10 – 12 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealthy, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”