YOUR MONEY COUNTS
The Biblical guide to earning, spending, saving, inventing, giving, and getting out of debt.
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:
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)
Steps to get out of debt: (42-47)
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:
Three acceptable goals for investing:
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:
Regarding Scriptural principles and our lifestyle. (140-44)
“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.