Tag Archive for money

Setting The Financial Example

cash“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

– Romans 13:8 (ESV)

It would appear that debt is in vogue. Our culture is saturated with messages that encourage families and individuals to owe lots of money. To make matters worse, our federal government has bought into the debt as fashion mentality by mortgaging our future to fund its spending binges. There seems to be no negative social consequences for living way above your means. If the President says its okay for the country it must be okay for my family, right?

Wrong! Consider the following consumer debt statistics:*

  • According to a recent USA Today article about debt, 78% of Baby Boomers have mortgage debt, 59% have credit card debt, and 56% have car payments.
  • If you use credit cards instead of cash you will spend 12-18% more.
  • The average family today carries $8,000 in credit card debt according to the American Bankers’ Association.
  • 78% of the time, after someone consolidates his credit card debt, the debt grows back.

The facts don’t lie. Our nation is swimming in a wave of debt that will inevitably come ashore as a tsunami. So what can be done? Is it possible to defy convention and live within your means? A certain radio host named Dave Ramsey says yes. Watch what he suggests is our best solution:

So are you following the popular trend and pulling out the plastic? As authentic Christians it behooves us to model restraint and good stewardship in how we handle our finances. I hope that you are heeding the words of the Apostle Paul from Romans and setting a good financial example.


* statistics courtesy of Dave Ramsey’s website.

Is Capitalism Evil?

moneygreedandgod




Is Capitalism evil? If you listen to many in our society you might get the impression that capitalism is an inherently evil system that is corrupting us. A closer look at this system and how it has shaped western society, however, reveals quite a different picture.

In his new missive entitled Money, Greed and God, Dr. Jay Richards provides a defense for capitalism and demonstrates how it has been a force for good. The book was recently published by Harper One. Here is the publishers description:



Does capitalism promote greed? Can a person follow Jesus’s call to love others and also support capitalism? Was our recent economic crisis caused by flaws inherent to our free market system? Jay Richards presents a new approach to capitalism, revealing how it’s fully consistent with Jesus’s teachings and the Christian tradition, while also showing why this system is our best bet for renewed economic vigor.

The church is bombarded with two competing messages about money and capitalism:

  • wealth is bad and causes much of the world’s suffering
  • wealth is good and God wants you to prosper and be rich

Richards exposes these myths, and other common misconceptions about capitalism, and reveals the surprising ways that capitalism is, in fact, the best system to respond to the biblical mandates of alleviating poverty and protecting the environment. Money, Greed, and God equips readers to take practical steps in their own lives to conduct business, worship God, and serve others without falling into the “prosperity gospel” trap.

I have not read the book yet, but I plan to put it on my short list. I hope that you will do the same. Its about time that capitalism be let out of the penalty box. Capitalism may be wounded but it is not dead and it is most certainly not evil.

HT: Justin Taylor

Render Unto Caesar

tax

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

– Mark 12:17b (ESV)

April the 15th has to be one of the most loathed days of the year. The events leading up to this years day of tribute make parting with our hard earned dollars especially difficult. There seems to be very little incentive to pay what the government claims that you owe and yet it is your moral obligation to do so.

I dont like it any more than the next guy. I have had one of the worst years financially that I have ever experienced and yet I am told I have to pay. Aside from the frustration of complying with a government that is woefully managing our money I am angry about what effect it may have on the neediest of our society.

We should be authentic Christians and “render unto Caesar” but are we also “rendering unto God”? I don’t necessarily mean money-although that may be what is called for-I am speaking primarily of taking care of those who cant take care of themselves. We are called to give of our resources above what we pay to the government even when it hurts. Despite the belief of some that bigger government means more help for the needy, in reality you and I know the truth.

It is irritating how we are taxed in this country. It almost make us choose to either “render unto Caesar” or “render unto God” but we know that this is not an either or, but a both and proposition. So when you cry your way to the post office today, remember your job is not done. Pray that God will help you manage your time and finances so that you can “render unto Caesar” and “render unto God”.

Money and Morality

money

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

– Matthew 6:21 (ESV)

How you spend your money says a lot about the condition of your heart. Or to put it another way, wherever your money goes your heart follows. Its a fact of life that is even mentioned by Christ in the scripture quoted above.

What happens, however, when our money is demanded of us and sent somewhere we don’t want it to go? Are there moral consequences to wealth being confiscated by a bloated and fiscally irresponsible federal government? If so what are they and how should authentic Christians deal with those consequences?

To begin with, there are indeed moral consequences to high taxes. According to an article posted in the Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, the tax proposals of the current administration would decrease charitable giving over $125 billion over the next decade. It is ironic that efforts made to spread wealth tend to hurt the ones they are most intended to help. Who can blame a business owner for cutting back in times of high-taxes and financial instability?

Authentic Christians have a vital role to play in dealing with the consequences of bad federal fiscal responsibility. We need to continue to give even if all we have to give is our time. Our hearts must be given to giving. The struggling families in our society need to know that the federal government is not the answer to its problems but the gospel of Jesus Christ is. We need to be the resource that these families turn to in times of need and crisis, but we cant ignore material needs if we want to meet spiritual needs.

The tie between money and morality is inseperable. Despite the hardships that may lie ahead there are also many opportunities. Where is your wallet leading your heart?