By Keith Parker
Is money the answer for everything? The average churchgoer in America would say no. But the student of the Bible knows better. Listen to what the wise and wealthy author of Ecclesiastes penned: “A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things” (10:19, KJV). The NIV says, “But money is the answer for everything.” One translation says, “Money solves a lot of problems.” Money can’t save your soul or get you a ticket to Heaven, but money solves many problems. It’s hard to eat or feed the hungry without money. It’s difficult to support missionaries or orphans without money. It’s hard to build church buildings or print Bibles without money. Oh, the love of money is a root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), but you don’t want to try to live without any.
The greatest book in the world on managing money is Proverbs. The wise man wrote words of wisdom about wealth. First, we should put God first with our money. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (3:9-10). The greatest thing you can do with your money is to give it to God. Trust Heaven with your wealth. Didn’t Jesus say in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you”? He did not say, “Give in order to get.” But he did say, “Give and you shall get.” Even our money cries, “In God we trust.” Do we, really?
Second, don’t be responsible for another person’s debt. In other words, don’t co-sign for a friend or family member. The wise man wrote, “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor” (6:1-4). People who become responsible for another person’s debt usually do so because they are trying to help. They have big and generous hearts. But according to Proverbs, they are unwise and misguided.
Third, work hard. If you want to be blessed financially, it requires sacrifice and sweat. “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (10:4). To illustrate the principle, look at one of God’s smallest creatures, the ant. “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” (6:6-8). The ant is always busy, building, carrying, gathering. And I’ve never seen a starving ant, have you? I’ve never seen an ant on welfare. The apostle Paul put it in these words: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28). And, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Fourth, realize that there are blessings more valuable than money. Want a few examples? Peace of mind. Good health. A loving family. Friends who would die for you and for whom you would die. Wisdom and understanding. “Choose my instruction instead of silver; knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (8:10-11). In other words, wisdom is better than wealth. Want another example? A good name. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (22:1). The next time you feel down in the dumps because of a lack of money, think about the blessings that you have which money cannot buy.
Fifth, be honest. Always tell the truth in your business dealings. The wise man said in Proverbs 13:11, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” In Proverbs 21:6 he said, “A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.” God is a God of Truth. His people are people of Truth. Tell the truth to your employer. Be honest in paying your taxes. Don’t fudge on the business miles that you claim. Be open with your mate and family as to where you spend money. Don’t give someone the right to distrust you.
Sixth, be generous. Have a heart of compassion, not just toward God, but others. The wise man said in Proverbs 11:25, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Later he added, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (19:17). Put gas in someone’s car. Take someone to lunch. Buy toys for tots. Pay a widow’s electric bill. Help pay a young minister’s tuition. Send some money and a note of encouragement to a missionary. Treat people like you want to be treated. “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (22:9).
Seventh, do some financial planning. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (21:4). Think about your future. Where do you want to financially be ten years from now? When do you want to retire? Pray about your finances. Get on a budget. Invest wisely. Borrow little, save some, and give a lot.
Be a good steward. Manage money wisely.
Money: The Answer for Everything
By Keith Parker