By Dennis Wiggs
The book of Proverbs contains wisdom for many areas of life. One important area, especially for the young pastor, is finances. The following 10 principles from Proverbs regard financial matters.
We have at least three ways to make money: work, steal and receive an inheritance. Work is honorable. Proverbs 6:6-8 declares, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
The pastor benefits, and the Lord is glorified when the pastor is known for his hard work. And, what is work for the preacher? “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word,” the apostles told the disciples in Acts 6. Praying, preparing sermons, and preaching should be the priority. Everything else should be secondary.
“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender,” states Proverbs 22:7. You should shun debt and pay for everything possible. A vehicle and a home may be the exception, but even then, it is far better to eliminate those debts quickly.
Pay your bills when due. Telephone, utility, vehicle expenses, clothing, and food bills appear regularly. Proverbs 3:27-28 declares, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”
You will have a poor testimony if bills are not paid when they come due. Better to do without than have and can’t pay.
Avoid moneymaking schemes.
Proverbs 13:11 states, “Wealth gotten by vanity [dishonesty] shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. ” Quite a few people will ask for an appointment to influence you to join their moneymaking plans. Don’t get caught up in these traps. Better to look to the Lord for financial solvency than to rely upon the world’s methods.
Spend less than you earn.
Proverbs 21:20 challenges us with this statement: “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Set aside funds for a rainy day. Prepare for the time when you are without a church, the vehicle breaks down, or some other emergency occurs. Some follow the rule that we should give God 10%, ourselves 10% (savings), and live on 80%.
Take care of what you have.
Proverbs 12:27 declares, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Stretch the life of everything you possess. For example, hang up your suits neatly when you come home from preaching. Polish shoes regularly. Keep the vehicle clean and serviced regularly. Be a good steward of everything you have.
Don’ t trust in possessions.
Proverbs 11:28 warns us that “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” Major on being rich spiritually. Avoid any purchase without first seeking the blessing of God. Proverbs 10:22 declares, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”
Pray about purchases.
Count the cost before making a financial deal. Always seek the Lord’s will in financial matters. Financial troubles often develop when purchases are made without the Lord’s leadership or blessing.
Receive an inheritance with wisdom.
“An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed,” Proverbs 20:21 warns. Pay the tithe on the inheritance. Put the rest in a short-term investment. Seek the Lord’s will about how to spend this gift, rather than unwisely using the money.
Give liberally and unto the Lord.
Proverbs 19:17 admonishes us with these challenging words: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
The Lord keeps an accurate record of our giving. As we give for His glory, He will meet our needs according to His will.
About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.
Adapted from Contact magazine, September 2000.