There are so many different perspectives on this topic as you find that some Christians simply promote a life of denial; where they eschew any luxuries and savings that they have at the time they have it. Whereas, other Christians believe that budgeting, regular saving, and avoiding debt are the best solutions for enjoying greater wealth which they can spend later on in their lives. The Financial Independence/Retire Early movement, however, believes that extreme frugality and saving is the way to go to ensure that you retire early, like before the age of 40.
All these seemingly conflicting and inconsistent messages can make it difficult for a believer to come up with his/her own personal theology of money which also balances the biblical orthodoxy. Particularly when it comes to matters touching on saving and investing for an uncertain future. That being said, here are some of the biblical principles that may be of help if you are in conflict with yourself over the same issue.
Saving for future needs
Some Christians choose not to save for retirement pointing out that it is disobedient by quoting Matt. 6:19-20. Others simply claim that the guilt that eats them when they put money away while others need it eats them. Other Christians base this notion on the quote Isa. 46:4, saying that God will provide. Others quote Prov. 13:18, where, in as much as they would like to save, end up spending everything they make.
But the Bible actually encourages saving. And encourages it for the anticipated future needs as quoted in (Gen. 41, Prov. 6:6-11, Prov. 21:20).
Saving honors God and also serves others
Choosing to think of saving as a selfish activity is what some Christians choose to go for. And there is some truth to that point too as you can see in the story of the rich fool in the book Luke 12. But you also find that that isn’t always the case.
As saving also honors God. Other Christians view savings and money as a gift that God Himself gave to us as is written in James. 1:16-17. And in Luke. 12:47-48, where it’s clearly quoted that instead of making unplanned, foolish, and impulsive spending, wise saving is one wise way of showing the importance of stewardship to His gifts.
Eph. 4:28, explains that proper stewardship can help to put you in a better position where you will be able to handle any important needs should any arise. Prov. 13:22, also explains that you can also bless your heirs by leaving behind an inheritance after your death.
Procrastination is a mistake
Most people postpone saving not because they believe it’s unimportant, but because they think that down the road, they will have more money to save. Matt. 25:27, points out that even if things eventually get better down the road and you start saving, the amount you save then won’t really have enough time to grow. And you will be forced to put in a lot more effort if you are to save the same amount as if you started earlier on.
Debt is debilitating
The Bible, as in Prov. 22:7, characterizes debt as some form of bondage. Remember, this doesn’t strictly prohibit debt. Also, it would be wise to note that borrowing and lending was also part of the economic landscape even during Jesus’s time. But it always comes at a price, the interest paid. These means that when considering loans its best to do an intensive research so that the credit type you opt for will be able to meet your needs. Installment loans happen to be one of the flexible credits that one can easily access when in dire need of cash.
Wise investing is good and right
Here, you need to know the difference between investing and gambling. Yes! There is a difference. Stock trading is gambling on future events without ‘knowing’ the outcome. But investing, if done wisely, is actually commended. Putting money into businesses that deliver products and services and employ people is good. And this is supported by Prov. 31:10-31 and Eccl. 11:1-6.
Saving can bring temptations
Sometimes, people can be tempted to save but for the wrong reasons. Say, out of greed and fear. Maybe even for a desire to have some sort of independence from God or other people. 1st Tim. 6:17, explains that if you are saving out of fear, then you are not trusting God. And the same can be said in Prov. 1:19 and Mark. 8:36.
Balance is key
Ps. 107:8-9, explains that finding the right balance is also key. So, in as much as you should set aside something to invest for our future, you also need to be generous and learn to be dependent on God. Recognize that He is all you need and solely controls your future.
What other things would you add to this list?