13 Mar Managing Money Wisely – A Novel Paradigm
In an opinion poll published by a leading English Daily, 64% fulltime students would like to be rich enough to buy anything they want. It suggests the youths like others in the society are gripped with consumerism which is the defining ‘ism’ of our time. Glitz of advertisements, online shopping, eye catching discounts, credit cards, ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes and mall culture lead us to this new slavery. Former American President Jimmy Carter rightly said, “Too many of us tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.” Crave for buying things beyond one’s requirement and affordability encourages narcissistic behaviour. The Scripture admonishes that one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses (Luke 12:6). God owns the earth and He is the source of all resources (Ps. 24:1, Phil. 4:19). God is truly the Provider and Supplier of all our needs. He has called every individual to be a steward of all resources – time, talent and treasure. Among all resources, money is the most significant resource which influences other resources and plays a pivotal role in our lives.
Saving money is an important step towards financial management. King Solomon suggests us to learn the lesson of saving for future from the ant that provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest having no captain/ruler/overseer (Pro. 6:6-8). We tend to save after spending. But famous investment advisor Warren Buffett opines, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”. Saving money demonstrates good and wise stewardship. “He who gathers in summer is a wise son” (Pro. 10:5). “It is wise and desirable to have treasure, but a foolish man squanders it” (Pro. 21:20). Planning ahead and saving up money makes it easier to be more purposeful and effective in the ministry.
Apostle Paul advised the Church in Corinth to let each one set aside some portion of his income and save it to the extent that God has blessed (1 Cor. 16:2). Saving money prepares us for the future and to avert ourselves from debts and to be subservient to the lender (Pro. 22:7). Financial planning makes it easier to accomplish goals. “The plans of the diligent lead only to plenty” (Pro. 21:5). At the same time saving should not be a trap to induce love of money for straying from faith to greediness (1 Tim. 6:10). Habit of saving should not induce covetousness in our conduct to keep on accumulating and amassing wealth but rather we learn to be content with things we have. Covetousness is the sin which easily beset the rich young man who asked Lord Jesus as to what he must do to gain eternal life (Matt. 19). It is unwise and arrogant to make riches as security for future for it certainly sprouts wings and fly away like an eagle toward heaven (Pro. 23:5). While financial planning is driven by wisdom, saving should not be guided by fear or worries. Irrespective of his savings a believer lives on trusting the provisions of God and His promises: “God shall supply all our needs”(Phil 4:9), “In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; “you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7). Natural corollary of savings is to see it grow through investments. In the parable of the talents in the New Testament, the servants traded the talents given by their master to increase investments. The Bible teaches us to know and make wise choice of investments (Pro. 19:2), carefully track and watch investments (Pro. 27: 23-24) and diversify portfolio of investments without putting all eggs in one basket (Ecc. 11:2).
Main purpose of saving up and investment for a believer is to give away. It is necessary to provide for one’s own and his household (1 Tim. 5:8) and pay taxes and tributes as per the prevailing rules of the land as law-abiding citizens (Rom. 13:7). Our Lord has advised to render to Caesar what belongs to him, render to God what belongs to Him. Learning to live on less than what we earn keeps us from becoming financially irresponsible and makes us compulsive saver. Only then, it becomes easy for a believer to give away to the Church, ministry, the poor and needy, orphans, saints & brethren and for the extension of kingdom of God as Apostle Paul urges Corinthians. God intends His people to be cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:7). It is more than giving tithes. William Colgate, founder of Colgate-Palmolive, not only gave one-tenth of earning of Colgate group products but gave five-tenths of all his income to the work of God.
We are also encouraged to be faithful and regular givers. Many believers contribute sacrificially for the kingdom of God and to the needs of others as they have learnt, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Mother Teresa practised the principle of giving: “If you give what you do not need, it is not giving”. The poor widow’s offering in the temple is the best example of sacrificial giving (Mk 12:42-44). A great blessing is in store for all who give. “Give and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive” (Lk. 6:38). Many testify that they are blessed to receive more than they have given. After all, it is impossible to out-give God.
Managing money wisely entails saving without hoarding, investing prudently, spending with discretion & control, keeping records, budgeting, paying taxes, staying out of unnecessary debts, providing for self & household, using money to help others with discernment & guidance of God’s will and giving to the Lord joyfully and sacrificially while living a life of godliness with contentment.
We need to hold everything God has given us loose so that we can give it away whenever He tells us to do so that we may lay up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6:20). One may be rich enough but not rich toward God if he lays up treasures for himself (Lk. 12:21).
Dr Nanda Dulal
The author is presently working as Group Director (Administration) in a central Government Department. He resides in Bangalore with his wife Geetanjali and daughter Bonita. He and his wife are involved with UESI ministry right from their student days.