Having over fifteen years experience encompassing various roles within the financial industry, I have been fortunate to learn many sound financial principles. However, there is no doubt that my greatest lessons have come from the Word of God.
I have known what it’s like to lose my job and to have barely enough money coming in to pay the bills, and I have also known the freedom and benefits of having a robust income. However, through it all, I have realized the challenges we all share are in learning how to be content no matter what our economic situation may be and being consistent in honoring our responsibilities as stewards of God’s resources (Philippians 4:11).
Even though I became a believer as a child, I failed to maintain an intimate walk with The Lord over the years. It wasn’t until I surrendered my life completely that I truly began to understand my responsibilities as a steward of God’s blessings, which included my time, talent and treasures.
This insight impacted me greatly, for it was the first time I realized that my life, including the hard-earned knowledge and skills I acquired in the financial industry, were to be used for more than my own personal benefit and gain (Proverbs 16:9). Their greatest value was in serving others, honoring God and expanding the gospel.
Thankfully, there are many great Christian books written on money management. However, I wanted to also share my personal testimony on how the Bible has shaped my financial behaviors and condition through a disciplined system I describe as the GIVTen Plan (Give, Invest, Vanquish).
Give 10 percent – Don’t neglect the tithe. It’s vital to give back to God, at least, ten percent of our income and increase (Malachi 3:10). It acknowledges God as our source for all things, and frankly keeps us from greed by keeping our hands open and flowing, not closed and clinging. Our God always proves faithful, and we can never out give Him (Luke 6:38)!
Invest 10 percent – This is money outside retirement plans. By putting aside at least 10 percent of our income and increase in an account we can quickly access, we’re saving in preparation for the hard times (Proverbs 13:11). Having enough set aside to cover six months to a year’s living expenses is ideal. For we can never know when the “drought” may come and need resources just like God’s example set forth in the life of Joseph (Genesis 41:48).
Vanquish by 10 percent – Get rid of the debt (Romans 13:8). However, we can’t do this if we don’t have a plan. By putting aside at least 10 percent of our income and increase with the direct purpose to pay down debt balances, we not only build our wealth and net worth, but we become better stewards of God’s resources (Proverbs 22:7).
In addition to executing this simple plan in my own life, sacrifices have been made to support accomplishing these goals. For example, my wife and I both drive decade old cars with well over a hundred thousand miles, and we have resisted the temptation to splurge on some of the luxuries we’d love to have. I’m definitely not against toys, or luxury, if they can be afforded, but our conviction is to pay cash for everything, and never take on new debt, especially when we still had debt. So, instead of splurging on these things, we decided to save the money in order to give, invest and vanquish more robustly.
Lastly, as a banker, I’m not opposed to debt in that there are some strategic and beneficial ways leverage can be utilized, but I do believe we must always seek to pay off our credits as quickly as possible (2 Kings 4:7). It’s good when the body of Christ can be free from the worry and temptation of making decisions based upon fulfilling our debt obligations and lifestyle maintenance. Rather, when we are released from the burden of debt, our time, our talents and our treasures, including money, are made more available to be used by God, for His glory and His Kingdom expansion – not ours. We then get to enjoy and share in the benefits!
Incredibly, ten percent of a dollar is only a dime, but those dimes in the hand of God are powerful. So, consider – how many dimes can you begin giving, investing and vanquishing today? It will change your life (Luke 12:15).