DayYour 00-12-132


The Biblical guide to earning, spending, saving, inventing, giving, and getting out of debt.


Howard Dayton

Crown Ministries, 1996, 168 pp., ISBN 0-9651114-0-7


Howard Dayton is the founder of Crown Ministries, an interdenominational Christian ministry that trains people in small group settings to manage their resources from a scriptural perspective.  This book is a summary of scriptural admonition and Dayton’s advice on personal money management.  It’s an easy read with solid practical principles.  The Crown Ministries program is highly recommended for churches and groups.


The family checkbook is the story of our lives.  It tells more about our priorities than anything else.  The Bible has 500 verses on prayer, fewer on faith, but more than 2350 on money and possessions.  Jesus dealt with money matters because money does matter.  (7,8)


How we manage money is important for at least three reasons:   

  1. How we handle money affects our fellowship with the Lord (Luke 16:11).
  2. Possessions compete with the Lord.  (Matthew 6:24).
  3. Much of life revolves around the use of money. (10-11)


God is sole owner of everything (Ps. 24:1).  “If we are going to be genuine followers of Christ, we must transfer the ownership of our possessions to the Lord.”  “To learn to be content, you must recognize God as the owner of all your possessions.  If you believe you own even a single possession, then the circumstances affecting that possession will be reflected in your attitude.”  (17)


“God is both predictable and unpredictable.  He is predictable in faithfulness to provide our needs but unpredictable in how He will provide.  (20)


Our responsibility is to be a manager and supervisor.  (27)  “Contentment is the by-product of the faithful discharge of our duties.”  We must be faithful in the whole 100%, not just 10%, regardless how much we have. (28) 


Consumers spend about one fifth of their income on personal debt, not including home mortgages.  (34)


The author’s recommended criteria for permissible debt (must meet all 3): (38)

  1. The item purchased is an asset with the potential to appreciate or to produce an income.
  2. The value of the item equals or exceeds the amount owed against it.
  3. The debt is not so large that repayment puts undue strain on the budget.



Steps to get out of debt: (42-47)

  1. Pray
  2. Establish and stick to a written budget.
  3. List your assets – everything you own.
  4. List your liabilities – everything you owe.
  5. Establish a debt repayment schedule for each creditor  (“Nobody ever gets out of debt by accident.”)
    First pay off small debts and higher interest rate debts.
  6. Consider earning additional income.
  7. Accumulate no new debt.  (People who use credit cards spend about 1/3 more than those who use cash or checks.  [I read 17% in another book. dlm[).  Pay the entire balance due at the end of every month or do “plastic surgery.”
  8. Be content with what you have.
  9. Consider a radical change in your lifestyle – lower your expenses significantly.
  10. Do not give up!


Automobile debt is one of the leading causes of consumer debt.  Here’s how to escape the trap.  1.  Keep your car for at least 6 years.  2.  Pay off the loan.  3.  Keep paying the monthly car payment into your savings account.  4. When you replace, buy a good, low-mileage used car with the equity of your current car plus what you’ve saved.  (48)


50% of those who co-sign end up making the payments.  Don’t cosign!  (52)


Where to seek counsel:  Scripture, Godly People, Spouse (Always seek your wife’s counsel.), Parents, the Lord, your small group. Fast and pray before big decisions.  The vast majority of those in financial difficulties have not sought and followed wise counsel.  (57-61)


God demands absolute honesty.  Even the smallest act of dishonesty is sin.  “Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Luke 16:10) (64,7)


There are more verses related to giving than any other aspect of money.  “If giving is merely to a church, a ministry or to a needy person, it is only charity.  But if it is to the Lord, it becomes an act of worship.”  (74)  “The only currency of value in heaven is our present service and generous giving to God’s kingdom.”  (76)  The author and his wife suggest that the tithe is the minimum amount we should give.  Then, we give over and above the tithe as God prospers us.  (79)


We should give to the family (as needed), the local church, Christian workers and ministries, and the poor.  (80-1).


“People usually lean to one of two extremes: they either work as little as possible because work is unpleasant, or they tend to work all the time because it becomes overwhelmingly important.”  (86)  “A primary purpose of work is to produce godly character….”  (87)  “Scripture reveals we are actually serving the Lord in our work and not people.”  Work hard but do not overwork!  Working too hard has reached epidemic proportions.  (89)  “On the seventh day you shall rest. (Ex 34:21).  “Rest can become an issue of faith.”  (90)


Scripture doesn’t talk about retirement.  Putting the old “out to pasture” is not biblical.  However, they may shift to a less demanding pace.  (95) “Work as unto the Lord.  The pay’s not always great, but the retirement benefits are out of this world!”  (97)


The average person in our nation is three weeks away from bankruptcy.  (99)  Set a goal of saving at least 10% of your income.  Spend less than you earn.  Then save and invest the difference over a long period of time.  Avoid risky investments.  Diversify.  (100-1)


Steps for investing:

  1. Save 1 month’s living expenses and secure insurance protection. 
  2. Save 3 – 6 months’ living expenses; save for major purchases. 
  3. Purchase a home; invest conservatively to meet long-term goals. 
  4. Make other investments.  (104)


Three acceptable goals for investing:

  1. Providing for your family (1 Tim 5:8)
  2. Becoming financially free to serve the Lord. 
  3. To operate your business.


Establish a maximum amount to accumulate and give away any beyond that.  This will protect us against the dangers of hoarding.  (107)


Motivation to get rich (love of money) is not godly.  Make a commitment never to participate in gambling or lotteries, even for entertainment.  (109)


Make a will.  “You should provide an inheritance for your children.  However, it probably is not wise to leave your children with great wealth if they have not been thoroughly schooled in the biblical perspective of money and how to properly manage it.  “No one has the right to handicap his children with such a burden as great wealth.”  (110)


“Children soak up parental attitudes toward money like a blotter soaks up ink.”  Give children opportunity to begin managing money as soon as they start school.  Make sure to allow natural consequences to take their course.  Don’t bail them out.  Establish boundaries and offer advice but let them choose.  Teach them how to budget and help them establish habits of giving and saving while they are young.  Teach your children to pray for the Lord’s guidance and provision.   Overindulgence can retard character growth. (119-26)


 “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”    (Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield, Charles Dickens, 129)


A budget is a plan for spending money.  Steps:

  1. Begin where we are today.  Precisely determine all income and all expenditures.
  2. The solution is where we want to be.  Either add income or reduce expenses.(130)
    Budgeting hints:
    1. Reconcile your checkbook each month
    2. Establish a separate account for bills not due each month
    3. Figure the annual (not monthly) cost of everything.
    4. Control impulse-spending.
    5. Include a personal allowance for husband and wife.
  3. Do not stop!  (130-7)


Regarding Scriptural principles and our lifestyle.   (140-44)

  1. Nurture an eternal perspective.  Life is short but we can influence eternity by how we handle money today. 
  2. We are citizens of heaven, pilgrims here, not settlers.  Material possessions are valuable only as they further the mission.  Every possession costs us time, attention and maintenance.  Acquire only those you need to fulfill God’s calling.
  3. We are at war.  In wartime, people alter their lifestyle to help win the war.
  4. The devil desires to divert us from serving Christ.  “Things” are a great diversion.
  5. Spend in a way that pleases the Lord.
  6. Do not waste possessions.
  7. Do not compare yourself to others.
  8. Do not be conformed to this world.


“The excessive accumulation of possessions will distract you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.”  (146)”


“There must be the conversion of the heart, the mind and also the purse.”  Martin Luther


For more information about Crown Ministries, call 407-331-6000.