Here’s a difficult question to ask: Which do you place your faith in, God or money?
The way many Christians live suggests that their faith leans more on their finances than God. And this isn’t good. Despite the few preachers that declare the “prosperity gospel,” most devout Jesus-followers recognize that it’s difficult to interpret Jesus’ “leave everything and follow me” to mean “thou shalt be rich.”
On the contrary side, however, God has given us a brain and encourages a strong work ethic, so we should obviously not abandon all reason and forget about our finances.
Therefore, Christians are left with a series of challenging questions around their money. How do we balance the need to prepare for the future with our recognition that God is ultimately in control?
Start by committing your finances to the Lord
“The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” – Psalm 24:1
It’s said that you can discover someone’s true priorities by looking at their calendar and their checkbook. It is true that where we spend our time and money says a lot about who we are – far more than our words.
Therefore, as Christians we must commit, on a daily basis, to spend our time and money serving Christ. What does this mean? It means that every action, purchase, and word should be careful evaluated.
Instead of spending our money and time on trivial activities, we recognize them as valuable resources to invest in the work that God has assigned to us – reaching people with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For most of us, the critical question isn’t “Should I give to the church or save for retirement?” Instead, the question is “Should I give to the church or buy a second car/home/TV?”
Ultimately, God doesn’t care about how much money we make, or even how much we save – He cares about how we spend the blessings He has bestowed upon us.
Step one is to invest in His Kingdom.
Then, save for retirement
Yes, Christians should save for retirement. Although we have hope that Christ’s Second Coming will be any day, we must live and prepare for a future of waiting.
Yes, we should spend money today to help others and spread the Message, but one of the greatest benefits we can offer society, our church, and our families is to be able to support ourselves during retirement.
Although a healthy Christian community works together to help its members, we must keep in mind that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” Anytime we make a smart money decision for the future; we give ourselves the opportunity to continue to help those in need – well into the future.
It’s a good rule of thumb to save for retirement the same amount you give to the church. If you give 10%, save 10%. In my house, we give 10%, save 10%, live on 70%, and have 10% left over as a buffer. This last 10% is where offerings, other charitable giving, helping the poor, and other comes out. It works!
How should you save for retirement as a Christian?
Ultimately, the decision of where you should place your finances is up to you and God. There are many different views on what types and styles of investments are appropriate.
The most important thing to remember is that you are a steward of your money. Where you invest, and how you invest, impacts the future.
If you need specific help in financial matters consider Biblical counseling.
Casinos and lotteries are not safe investments. When our focus is on benefiting others, rather than ourselves, casinos and lotteries suddenly lose their appeal – as we realize these activities always have losers. Even if you win, your winnings are the hard-earned funds of someone else.
So, what are good investments?
Although you should speak to a financial planner to get professional advice on how you should invest, there are a few tools that make it easier for you to save money effortlessly for retirement, while minimizing your risk.
Find investments that protect you from loss by spreading your finances across multiple companies and investments. Does this sound confusing and complicated? If so, get help from a licensed professional, and be sure they have the same Christian values and commitments that you do. Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective financial counselor if they tithe, own the products they are selling and suggesting to you, and ask to see proof. Remember, you are interviewing them, and there are many to choose from.
I know several trust-worthy, Christian financial planners. If you need help in this area, ask. I can most likely supply you with a couple of names to help you based on what you are looking for.
In conclusion, give, save, live. That’s what the Bible consistently teaches. Put God first, save for the future, and live within your means.
If you’re struggling get help either with a Biblical counselor for help applying Biblical principles or with a licensed financial planner on specific investment advice. Together you will go further, faster, together.