By Doug Hanson
“Motive” is a loaded word. The dictionary defines it as “a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.” Its root is in the Latin word “movere,” which means “to move.” What’s intriguing about the word is that it signifies an internal desire, but one that we may not have defined fully before we act. When you ask a child why they did something, they may respond “I don’t know.” We ask that question because we are trying to understand their motive, knowing that all actions result from motives.
Not only is it important to have clear motives, but also correct ones. In Genesis 11, we read that the people of the earth were building a tower “to the heavens,” not for altruistic reasons but “to make a name” for themselves. Their motive was clear; but it was not the right one in God’s eyes, and He was not pleased.
It is important to know our motives for money. Are we trying to make a name for ourselves, or are there more noble reasons? Fortunately, Scripture provides us with answers, represented by seven biblical principles for managing money.
We are God’s stewards. In Psalm 24:1 we read that “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” We brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing out of it. During our time on earth, we become custodians of God’s blessings in our lives, a reality that should undergird every financial decision we make.
As good stewards, we save. “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it” (Proverbs 21:20). “Treasure and oil” speak of setting aside resources for future needs, whether expected or unexpected. Having enough savings to cover several months of expenses helps us weather the storms of life.
As good stewards, we are careful with debt. Debt can be a useful tool in purchasing assets that will appreciate, but borrowing always comes with a cost: “The borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). We are called to be slaves to Christ, not to lenders. As good stewards we are to approach debt cautiously and wisely.
As good stewards, we invest. Matthew 25:14-30 tells of a master who was leaving his home to travel, and, before leaving, entrusted his property to his servants while he was gone. When he returned, he said these words to two of his servants: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” They are the same words we each hope to hear from the Lord when we meet Him. Since the parable speaks of the servants’ wise use of “talents” or “bags of gold” then how we invest the Lord’s blessings may be one of the reasons we hear those words.
As good stewards, we provide for our family. Scripture is blunt in expressing God’s mandate for us to take care of our families financially: “But if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Financial care includes providing for our family’s present and future needs. Having sufficient savings and limited debt can help meet present needs, while investing regularly can sustain future needs (for example, not to be a financial burden on our children when we are old).
As good stewards, we bless others. Scripture encourages us “to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). In the Old Testament we read of gleaning, where a farmer intentionally left a portion of his crop unharvested so that the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow could harvest the grain. Incorporating the concept of gleaning into our stewardship implies using a portion of our blessings to help others.
As good stewards, we set an example for others. We never know the impact our actions may make on others. A child seeing a parent manage money well can have impact for generations to come. In Matthew 5:16 we are told: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” One of the bright beacons in our lives is how we manage God’s financial blessings.
In conclusion, we may not be physically building a tower of Babel to the heavens, but we are building our financial future. As we manage our money, let’s keep the right perspectives on our wealth. May we all look beyond the heavens to our heavenly Father and let Him motivate us.
Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at [email protected] or (208) 697-3699.
Investment advisory services provided by Creative Financial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC. 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Christian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc.
Denice, I could NOT get rid of this stupid line!!