Dealing with Money: A Spiritual Matter
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and God will reward them for what they have done. (Prov. 19:17)
Human beings were created for relationship with God, themselves, and others. Since money has an effect on all of these relationships, it is important to ponder its use. Do we utilize money to control others? Do we see it as our security blanket? Do we use it to attempt to buy companionship and friendship or to impress others? Is money our primary source of self-esteem? Or, do we use it to bless others?
The Bible has much wisdom to offer regarding a healthy relationship with money and possessions.
Money and possessions can become idols, so we must be sure they do not take the first place in our lives. First place belongs only to God (Ex. 20:2-3).
When someone in the Bible received a blessing, it was to bless someone else (Gen. 12:1-2). Thus, if we have received financial resources, we should also consider ways to use these resources to bless others.
These blessings can be most helpful, however, by first establishing healthy boundaries. It would be a mistake to give what I cannot afford or to put my immediate family at financial risk. When faced with someone in financial need, I ask myself three questions:
- Can I afford to help?
- Am I truly helping this person, or am I enabling him/her?
- If they do not pay me back, can I truly afford to help without it taking a major toll on my emotional relationship with this person?
We must be aware that, by lending money to a family member or a friend, we may be putting this relationship in danger. If they do not pay us back, are we ready to forgive the debt? Even more, are we ready to forgive them?
Perhaps this is why the Bible is also clear about not charging interest or profiting from someone who is in need (Ps. 15:5). Therefore, in the final analysis, if you can afford it and if you are not enabling the person, consider giving them the money as a gift, with no expectation of return, remembering that God will reward you for your kind action.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How do I relate with money? Do I respect money and the effect that it can have in my life and relationships? Am I an enabler or a true blessing when it comes to money issues? How generous can I be?
PRAYER: Dear God, thanks for blessing us with financial resources. Please help us to be wise and generous as we bless others with these resources. Amen!
Dr. Nora O. Lozano is professor of theological studies at Baptist University of the Américas and co-founder and co-director of the Latina Leadership Institute. She is also a member of the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity and attends Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her family.
Borrowing and Lending
Is it okay for Christians (or Christian businesses) to borrow money? To encourage others to borrow money? To lend money? What does the Bible have to say about appropriate interest rates for loans and credit? Come join us at our virtual table for a discussion about Borrowing and Lending. It’s difficult to purchase a car or a home or an education without agreeing to pay installments on that commodity for many years into the future. Is this what God has in mind for us and for our resources, or are we overthinking things here? Are there practical steps we can take to avoid borrowing money, and does it matter if we’re borrowing money from a family member or from a financial institution? We welcome your stories, your thoughts, and your experiences, whether you’re a borrower or a lender. What have you learned about God, his great gift of redemption, and his work of restoration through the experiences of borrowing and lending the resources entrusted to you?