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Episode 1: What God’s Word Says about Money
Bob and Mary Jo go in depth on what the Bible says about money and financial issues.
What exactly are the scriptural guidelines when it comes to money and finances? As Christians and followers of Christ, we can probably all agree that the Bible is made up of God’s word, and God is the source of Biblical wisdom. Biblical wisdom is timeless, transcendent, accurate, universal, and practical.
Good financial advice has its roots in Biblical Wisdom. Money is one way we work out our belief system: values, goals, and priorities. Thus, for a Christian, financial advice really is spiritual advice. The reason we stress financial stability is to encourage others to become better managers and stewards of what God is allowing them to have.
For a free list of Bible verses that provide scriptural guidelines for handling money check out the Christian Financial Advisors web page where Financial Scriptures are listed HERE. You will find passages on ownership, tithing, giving, debt, saving, investing, honesty and best of all, seeking wise counsel.
HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®
Mentioned In This Episode
Christian Financial Advisors
Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®
Scriptures On Finance
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Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a weekly podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.
Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.
Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?
Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.
Mary Jo: Hi Bob. How are you doing today?
Bob: I’m doing great and I’m really excited about the topic that we’re going to be bringing to our podcast today.
Mary Jo: We’ve been talking about the theme of Christian Financial Perspective and being what God’s word says about money, but for today we’re actually going to talk about what God’s word REALLY says about money, so I’m excited to get started.
Bob: There are so many scriptural guidelines for handling money. Let me see, how many was it? There’s over…
Mary Jo: 2300.
Bob: 2300 scriptures that have to do with handling money in the Bible. What’s really interesting, too, is many Bible scholars will say that Jesus spoke on stewardship more than he spoke on heaven and hell combined. So, there’s a lot about money and being a good steward in the word of God
Mary Jo: There is, and the Bible reflects the word of God, and there’s so much in there. God’s word, it’s actually a love letter to us. It’s always true. It’s never ending. It comforts us during times of sorrow, and it gives us answers to life’s questions.
Bob: It’s so full of wisdom and knowledge, and it’s protected me and it’s protected my family and I know it’s protected you from making foolish decisions, and it really provides the answers to life’s questions that we all need.
Mary Jo: It protects us from those foolish decisions if we ask and we look into it, but it doesn’t always stop us from them.
Bob: No. Sometimes we still do stupid things in our flesh. I’ll raise my hand to say I do ’em all the time.
Mary Jo: I’m guilty. But you know Bob, I know you have your own favorite passages, but when we talk about what the Bible says about money, there are two passages that really speak to me about that. And the first one is Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” The other one is also Proverbs 30:25, “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.” I particularly liked the last one because it focuses on savings, and you know that’s my hot button and it’s building and maintaining cash reserves. It’s the key to any financial wellness plan. So, I think that’s why resonates so well with me. What about you?
Bob: Well, can I ask you before I tell you and before I get to mine? What resonates with you about Proverbs 15:22, cause that’s one of my favorite scriptures? That’s not one of the day, but I really liked that scripture, too. What resonates with you in that scripture?
Mary Jo: Even the best of us, we all need coaching, if you will. My husband’s been watching a little golf on TV and you know, even Tiger Woods has a coach, and they change coaches and they seek guidance and advice. And it’s true with anybody that is an expert in their craft, whether it’s an athlete, an actor, or what have you. They’re all looking for advice and wisdom. And as financial advisors, we’re no different. And as investors, hopefully our clients that come to us are no different.
Bob: You know, that is sure the opposite of what the world teaches – we can do it all ourselves; we can do all online investing. Now there’s the robo advisors, you just don’t really need anybody but yourself.
Mary Jo: I’ve always thought that what keeps the average do-it-yourself investor from being successful, it’s their emotions, and it’s a lack of discipline. That’s where working with a trusted financial advocate, it’s that discipline that they instill, and that’s the difference maker.
Bob: And we also really emphasize, you may want to find a Christian Financial Advisor, not just a financial advisor that happens to be a Christian. Now there’s a difference in the two. There’s a lot of financial advisors out there that love the Lord and are great Christians. I mean, they’re all the way, but they’re not Christian financial advisors. They don’t integrate biblical guidelines into the way they’re doing their advising.
Mary Jo: That’s exactly right, Bob, and we’re definitely going to itemize some of those on a future episode and talk about those values and what to look for when interviewing and looking for an advisor. I think that our listeners are really gonna like that one.
Bob: All right. Some of my favorite scriptures. Well, I’ve got probably 25-50.
Mary Jo: Yeah, you’ve got to narrow it down, Bob.
Bob: This is hard. Okay. All right. But when it comes to what God’s word says about money, Psalms 24:1 is really the basis of everything for me that, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” For me personally, if I don’t use that as the foundation for every which way I handle money, I think I can get lost. Because when I say that, God, if it’s all yours and everything in it, well really, it’s not mine then. So what am I? The Lord reminds me through his other scriptures, you’re a manager and I’m the owner. So that’s what Psalms 24:1 really resonates with me for that reason.
Mary Jo: You know, earlier when we talked about God’s word and we said it gives us answers to life’s questions. Well, one of those questions is who owns it? Who owns it all? And if we do believe that God owns it all and it does tell us that right there in Psalms 24. I agree.
Bob: Another one that really has resonated with me over the years, and I remember reading the scripture, I guess the first time, 25 or 30 years ago, and how it just hit me. And that was the parable of the talents.
Mary Jo: Oh, there’s so much there.
Bob: Oh, there is. I mean, I’m not gonna read all of it, but from Matthew 25:14-30. I’m going to read a few of the scriptures, “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.” To one, he gave five bags of gold or in some verses it will say talents, to another two bags, and to another one bag. So one gets five, one gets two, and one gets one. Then he went on his journey and he came back and he said, what did y’all do with it? With what I gave you? And the man who had received the five bags of gold, he went at once and he put his money to work and gained five more. Boy, that’s 100% return, isn’t it?
Mary Jo: Yes.
Bob: Then the one with two bags gained two more, so he did the same thing, but the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. Now, if you go on and you read that entire parable about the talents all the way to the 30th verse, you will see some pretty tough words in there because it comes down to the guy who didn’t do anything with what God gave him. He actually says, throw him into the fire. I noticed I kinda got loud on that one. Preacher Bob came out. I mean, he was a wicked lazy servant. He did nothing with what God gave him.
Mary Jo: He didn’t grow it. He wasn’t a good steward.
Bob: That’s right. So this really hit me the first time I read it, like, wow, what am I doing with what God’s given to me? I guess it was just a couple of weeks later, or maybe a day later that I popped over and I was reading in Luke and I came across this scripture, which is another one of my favorites. Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” And I thought, here it is. God’s word is saying it in an entirely different way, but it’s still saying the same thing. It’s the same principle. If you’re doing a good job and you’re being obedient with a little, and I think about my children when they were growing up, they’re all out of the nest now, but when they were growing up, if I gave them a dollar or $2 or $3 and they didn’t just go blow it, but maybe they wanted to save some, give some, and then they can go have fun with it of course.
Bob: But I remember we had a saving bank, a tithing bank, and then go spend and have fun bank. And it reminded me of that. And I wouldn’t mind giving them more if they were obedient with what I gave them. But if they just went and blew it all and didn’t save anything, didn’t give some back to God. It didn’t sit well with me, at all, as their dad.
Mary Jo: And you know, Bob isn’t the flip side of that equally as important? And whoever is dishonest with very little may be also dishonest with much.
Bob: And that’s what it says right in the word of God, and it’s saying don’t be dishonest. Don’t be foolish with what God has given us.
Mary Jo: It makes me think of our political structure and our politicians, but that’s another podcast.
Bob: I don’t even know if we could do a podcast on that one. And then the last scripture that I really love is from 1 Timothy 6:10. By the way, it’s one of the most misquoted scriptures that I’ve heard over and over, and it’s about money. And how is it misquoted?
Mary Jo: It’s not money is the root of all kinds of evil. It’s the love of money. It’s two simple words that we leave out sometimes
Bob: it is, and I’ve heard it said over and over, money is the root of all evil. No, it’s not. Money is neutral. It’s just a medium of exchange. It’s not money that’s evil. It’s the love of money. And that’s what that scripture says. And that scripture has reminded me to not be eager to get the best returns at the cost of violating biblical principles, which another program that we are going to be doing is on biblically responsible investing and that one has really reminded me of that.
Mary Jo: Oh, that’s good. And you know Bob, as Christians and followers of Christ, I think we all agree that the Bible is made up of God’s word. We’ve talked about that. We’re going to talk about that again when we talk about biblically responsible investing, but God is the source of biblical wisdom. With biblical wisdom, there are some fundamental principles, if you will. It’s timeless. It’s transcendent. It’s accurate, universal, and practical. In Hebrews 4:12-13, they describe it this way. “For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account, who we are accountable for.” So I think that says it all right there.
Bob: That is such a beautiful scripture. I love this scripture. As you and I both know, this is a very quoted scripture, but it all comes down to the importance of the word of God and like you say, it’s active. It’s not just dead, it’s active, it’s alive and penetrates and it gives us so much knowledge and wisdom. You know, another thing I love to do when it comes to the practical side, like remember how you were saying it’s timeless, transcendent, accurate, universal, and practical. The practical side for me, over all these years and really helping me with what God’s word says about money, is I am a Proverbs nut. I love the book of Proverbs.
Mary Jo: You’ve said something interesting, how that all kind of ties to the days of the month. Tell us more about that.
Bob: Well, there’s 31 chapters of Proverbs and about half of our months in the year, about six or seven months out of the year, there’s 31 days. So, you can pick whatever day of the month is and pick the chapter and go in and read that chapter. I’ve been doing that for years and years and years, so much so I remember my kids said, dad, do you know any other books besides Proverbs, because we read Proverbs over and over with our children. We did read other books of the Bible, but Proverbs has so much wisdom in it and I have seen every wisdom for handling money is in the book of Proverbs, and you can’t hardly read the whole chapter with many of them because there’s so much to it. There’s so much in that chapter. You could just take three or four verses and pull it off the page.
Mary Jo: You know, Bob it’s so interesting to me as we go and we talk about all these various scriptures and we continue to reference them in what God’s word says about money. What I’m hearing and what resonates with me is how much it all is repeated, and you’ll see the same principles repeated throughout the Bible but just said different ways and I find that really interesting. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the men of God may be adequate, equipped to every good work.” That’s from 2 Timothy 3:16-17. All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching. I think that’s profound right there and it helps us that as a servant of God, we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Bob: You know, Mary Jo, I believe that good financial decisions are rooted in biblical principles and that God teaches us in his word that our self worth is not associated with our net worth. Now that is a scriptural guideline that goes right in the face of what the world says. The world tries to tell us that your self worth is associated with your net worth, but God’s word said, no, it’s not. Your self-worth is associated with what my son, Jesus Christ came and did for you.
Mary Jo: I think, Bob, that’s the difference between a biblical worldview and a secular worldview. Right there.
Bob: It is. It is. Definitely. And also that we’re not the ultimate owner. Like I pointed out in Psalms 24:1 earlier, we’re managers and we were put here to manage it, to glorify the owner, which is almighty God, and we’re to be used as a conduit of wealth. So as God gives us that wealth, it flows through us, and flows right back out of us to help others and to glorify him. Have you ever heard why the dead sea is dead?
Mary Jo: No. Why don’t you tell us about that?
Bob: Because everything flows in, but nothing flows out.
Mary Jo: Well, you know, that’s true and that makes sense. One of the things that talk about when it comes to money, money’s the way we work out our belief system, our values, our goals, and priorities. Thus for a Christian, financial advice really is spiritual advice. Wouldn’t you agree with that concept?
Bob: I absolutely would. So the next time you have a big financial decision, I want to emphasize to our podcast listeners that you pray about it and seek the advice of a certified professional in that field. Because for the Christian, all financial decisions are spiritual decisions. You may not know it, but they are.
Mary Jo: And you know Bob, we’ve said before that the Bible provides many answers. I think we talked about this earlier, but it also poses many questions, especially the one I call the big question. Do you believe God owns it? All this is addressed in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” So what does that tell us about what we’re talking about? God has also provided us with the four transcendent planning principles we touched on earlier. So Bob, do you want to start us off with that?
Bob: Well, the first principle is spend less than you earn, and we get this from Proverbs 13:11 that says, “He who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” So if you’re spending less than you’re earning, you have extra to grow with.
Mary Jo: Right. Another one is to avoid the use of debt. “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” This is from Proverbs 22:7. Bob, does that speak to all kinds of debt, do you think?
Bob: Well, today when you think about buying a home, it would be very difficult to save up 300-400 or $500,000 or even $200,000 to go buy that home. So I think that there’s certain kinds of debts. I’m not saying that debt is okay because you are presuming upon the future when you borrow money, but I think it speaks to today to consumer debt. Because when you buy consumer debt, that’s in depreciating assets and there’s not going to be anything to show for it years down the road. Real estate, if it’s done responsibly. And Mary Jo, I’ve seen just over my years where it used to be the top ratio for all debt combined for buying real estate property would be 33% of your income for all your payments, and now it’s like 50% of your income. So we’ve really gotten out of hand there. So I think that this is really giving us caution that when you are too far in debt, you become a slave to the lender.
Mary Jo: Absolutely. The third transcendent power – building margin or cash reserves. We talked about this a little bit before from Proverbs 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise, it has no commander, no overseer or ruler yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” So we’ve talked about how important the cash reserve is to a financial wellness plan. And I think that is so fundamental. So Bob, what would you say is the fourth and final of the four fundamentals.
Bob: Set longterm goals. And we use Philippians 3:14 for this. “Press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Jesus Christ is calling you.” Set those goals as biblical goes to build the kingdom of God so that we can be used as a vessel of God. So the 4 are spend less than you earn; avoid the use of debt; build margin or cash reserves; and set longterm goals. There’s biblical principles behind every one of those.
Mary Jo: And we call them, it is a tongue twister, “transcendent planning principles”. And what this means is existing apart from, and not subject to, the limitations of the material universe. So these are the cornerstones of financial wellness and certainly a key to developing a solid financial future. So, I think this is the hallmark of our message overall. It kind of leads me to one of our best and biggest questions that a lot of clients ask. And they’re always coming to us for advice. And sometimes I think it’s important to let them answer their own questions. And when you get to that point with clients, Bob, what is it that you ask them?
Bob: Well, I would ask, what would God have you do with this and have you prayed about this decision? Because it all backs up to that fundamental biblical principle that we find in God’s word that he owns it all. It belongs to him. And the Bible really speaks to this over and over. You can just open up Matthew right in there around the parable of the talents and go a page or two before that and a page or two after that, and you’re going to see Jesus speaking over and over to stewardship.
Mary Jo: That’s exactly right. So from Matthew 19:16, “Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Wow, that’s deep.
Bob: And he said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want eternal life, keep the commandments.” And this rich young ruler said, “Well, I’ve kept them all. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. Honor your mother and father, love your neighbor. All of them I’ve kept. Which one do I lack?” And this is where it gets pretty tough. Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor and you’ll have treasure in heaven and come follow me.” And that rich young man said, Whoa man, that was a bummer. Walked away sad.
Mary Jo: Right. Because he had great wealth.
Bob: And it’s not that wealth is evil. We would never say that. It’s the principle of this that is coming down to who is in control of your wealth – you or God.
Mary Jo: God gives. We receive. We give. Others receive. They give, and the ripple effect continues. Tell us more about the ripple effect, Bob, and what that means to you.
Bob: It means to me, if you’ve ever sat on the side of a pond and you take the rock and you throw it into calm water, you can see how the rock goes down. But then there’s this ripple effect that just goes and goes and goes. And what I mean by that is when God gives and we receive, and then we turn around and start giving it to others and they receive, you can see the examples over and over through mission work, through feeding the poor, through helping to build churches. You can see that ripple effect, not just get smaller but get larger and larger. And when others see us giving, then they capture that and they start giving and that’s why it’s so important that we teach others how to give as well as our children.
Mary Jo: That is such a great visual that you were just describing, and so I think that’s a good place to kind of leave it there for our listeners this week.
Bob: Well, our advice, if it’s based on God’s word, is unchanging and it’s God’s wisdom, not ours. And we believe that there’s no independent financial decisions away from asking God and trusting in what he tells us to do in his word. And that’s where we verify that it’s coming from God. When we pray and when we ask is that it’s verified in his word because God would never go against his word.
Mary Jo: If you’re looking for wise counsel to help organize your financial life in a way that is consistent with your faith, we’re here to help. You can go to our website at ciswealth.com where we provide a list of Bible verses that provide the scriptural guidelines for handling money that we’ve been talking about on today’s show. So it’s in there, and you can go get the list if you want to hear more about that.
Bob: You’re going to find passages on ownership, tithing, giving, debt, saving, investing, honesty and best of all, seeking wise counsel.
Mary Jo: You’ve been listening to Christian Financial Perspectives. Join us next week as we explore more about how to apply biblical wisdom to your financial situations.
Bob: To make sure you don’t miss any of our podcasts, you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit out website at ciswealth.com or call 830-609-6986.
Mary Jo: That’s all for now until next week.
Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.