Biblically Based Financial Planning

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Pastor Mark Mikels – July 19, 2009
“BIBLE-BASED FINANCIAL PLANNING”

Intro … Today’s message is really just part two of the message I preached three weeks ago called … “Bible-Based Giving”. In that message we looked at the three critical components that make up a comprehensive Biblical-Giving program: Tithing, Free-Will Offering and Need-Generated Responding. Notes on that message are available in the foyer this morning and, of course, at our Sonlife Community Church website.

The final thot of that message (with a slight modification) becomes …

Today’s Key Concept …
Biblically-Based GIVING Requires
Biblically-Based FINANCIAL PLANNING

The point is … Nobody gives Biblically accidentally. It’s too demanding and it’s too contrary to the way our fallen minds and fallen world actually thinks. On the surface, it would seem practically impossible.

My task this morning is to show you that it is not – it’s incredibly doable if we follow the key financial planning principles that are found in God’s Word. I also hope that you discover this morning is that in addition to being doable … following biblically-based financial principles is delightful – you might say that, “It’s the only way to live”.

So then let’s look at four of them this morning …

FOUR KEY FINANCIAL PLANNING PRINCIPLES:

Key Principle #1 … SPEND Less Then You EARN
(Proverbs 21:20)

Now that seems like a no-brainer but the sad truth is, it’s a principle that is violated every day of the year by more people than we would imagine.

The Bible has a special name for those people.
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food
and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”

A foolish man devours – uses up – consumes with relish (like a dog with a meaty bone) all that he has. Like my mother used to say, “His money is just burning a hole in his pocket”.

The foolish, undisciplined consumer lifestyle has been around for a long, long time. Our world today (through the magical wonders of consumer credit) has made it possible for the foolish person to consume even more than he has.

It used to be that if a man had a $100 dollars he could buy $100 dollars worth of stuff … but in the world in which we live today, a man with $100 dollars can buy as much as $10,000 worth of stuff. It’s called credit and so that $100 almost magically allows a man to devour not only his own stuff but the stuff of others as well.

He eats food in fancy restaurants paid for by his banker; he lives in a house and he drives a car and he fills his closet and he even educates himself in the same way. And decision by decision he locks himself and his income into a box where there is no freedom and there is increasing tension. More marriages are ended due to financial tension than for any other reason.

Is it any wonder then that the Bible, in addition to pointing out the wisdom of “under-consumption”, would support this second key principle.

Key Principle #2 … SEEK To Live DEBT-FREE
(Proverbs 22:7; James 4:13; Romans 13:8)

The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7)

When we borrow we put ourselves in a kind of bondage; we also enter
into a world of illusion – we are given the impression that we “own stuff” when in fact we only own it technically/legally. Until we make the final payment, we are in fact merely “renting it”.
Consider this Scriptural Admonition in light of today’s discussion …

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.
(James 4:13-16)

Biblically speaking … When we borrow we exercise a kind of presumption – we (and our lender) presume a lot of things as those loan papers are prepared (or as our credit card is swiped). We assume that our financial situation will continue uninterrupted or even improve; our banker assumes the same. We assume that the purchase will be beneficial to us and worth the commitment we are making.
We exercise faith in an unknowable and therefore unreliable future. We step onto shaky ground. Our entire world (lenders and borrowers alike) are discovering right now just how shaky that ground can be.

It’s not surprising therefore that God would have the Apostle Paul include this instruction to the early believers in Rome … Romans 13:8 .

“Owe no man anything but to love one another“ (KJV)

There’s a little less sting to the New International Translation …

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love
one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” (NIV)

The best way to avoid the consequences of debt is to seek to live as absolutely debt-free as possible!

But wouldn’t that eliminate from our lives most of the things that we enjoy … for most Americans (to restate an old saying) if it weren’t
for “borrowed stuff”, I’d have to stuff at all!

Well that where Key Financial Principle #3 comes into play …

Key Financial Principle #3 is a principle made possible by the First of these Four Key Principles (Spend less than you earn) and one that is absolutely required by the Second (Seek to live debt-free) …
Key Principle # 3 … SAVE A Pre-Determined AMOUNT
(Genesis 41:25-36; Proverbs 6:6-11)

Save a pre-determined amount out of every paycheck – some people would say “pay yourself first” … it’s really the only money that you actually get – all the rest goes to somebody else.

Ten percent (10%) is a good place to start – start with your very first paycheck (allowance). Set a goal of amassing at least 3 months actual expenses in an emergency reserve fund (put any “unexpected” money that comes your way in this fund as well).

This fund will create a bit of a buffer against the unexpected. It’s more important to establish this fund than it is to get debt-free … might take a couple of years.

However, once the three month fund is established, the fun really begins.

Place that 10% amount (that you had been saving) against your smallest consumer debt balance (or possibly against the debt with the highest rate of interest). Make the additional payments until that debt is paid off. Then add the debt payment amount to the original 10% savings amount and apply the total against the next smallest consumer debt balance that you have (credit card or car).

When you have that loan paid off, apply all three amounts to your next smallest debt and so on and so on – all the while taking on no additional debt!

Before you know it you will be consumer debt free and you will have three months expenses in reserve which will now cover more than just three months because your expenses will now be so much lower.

Once you have all your consumer debts paid off, then put the entire debt-reduction amount into your savings and watch your balance grow.
You may choose to begin to systematically “pre-pay” your mortgage – a modest additional principal payment each month can take years off your loan.

Now there’s good biblical precedent for these actions – it has nothing to do with “lacking faith” or “not trusting God to provide” – your job and your ability to follow God’s Direction is the primary way that He does provide!
Consider the instructions God gave the Egyptians in Joseph’s day …

“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” (Genesis 41:28-36)

Years later God would inspire the wisest man who ever lived to write these words in Proverbs 6 …

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

If God had told us six or seven years ago exactly what was going to happen in our economy, would we have done anything any differently?

Here’s the thing … those who were following God’s Biblical Principles all along didn’t have to – they had already positioned themselves in the best way possible to make it through these “tough times”.

People who live debt-free and who consistently spend less than they earn and who save a pre-determined amount every month are better positioned to make it through economic downturns than those who don’t. During tough times survival is the main agenda.

However, when times are not so tough – when things are moving along a bit more smoothly and normally, the person who is following these Biblically-Based Financial Principles will find that they are amassing quite a large financial surplus – once they are debt-free, they might be saving as much as 30% or more of their monthly income. – after tithe and taxes, of course.

And that reality leads us to Key Financial Principle #4 …

Key Principle #4 … SENSITIVELY Invest Your SURPLUS
(1Timothy 5:8; Galatians 6:10/James 2:15-16; Judges 16:30)

Here too we would follow Biblically-Based Priorities:

* Sensitively Invest In Your Family – 1 Timothy 5:8
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his
immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

* Sensitivity Invest In Your Church Family – Gal. 6:10/James 2:15-16
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,”
but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

* Sensitively Invest In God’s Broader Kingdom – Phil 4:14-17; Jud.16:30
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.

Samson … pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

Final Thot …
Biblically-Based Financial Planning will eliminate much
EARTHLY STRESS and guarantee much HEAVENLY REWARD.

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