Growing and Harvesting Financial Fruit

Stewarding your finances according to biblical principles will harvest fruitful rewards. The Bible contains nine keys on how to develop and apply these principles to your life as well as your finances.  

  1. Love: Seeks the Highest Good of Others

When you set love-targets for your finances, you are setting financial assignments for the well-being of others and the nurturing and growth of your own financial capacity, knowledge, and independence. By helping yourself become financially savvy and independent, you also can help your family and community.

People generally live long lives and are living longer. In addition to tithes, offerings, and alms (charity), allocating a portion of your income and financial gains to savings and investments is a form of love. You can best love others financially by growing and protecting the capacity of your finances and your family’s finances for the long haul, becoming a lifelong giver, saver, and investor.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • Establish, grow, and prudently use an emergency fund in a savings account.
  • Get retirement saving matches at work, such as in a 401(k). Or start with a Roth IRA if retirement savings is not offered at work.
  1. Joy: Gladness Is Not Based on Circumstances

Enough is a concept of being happy without dependence on circumstance and satisfied with what you have and with your prospects for the future. In a world dominated by money with its extremes of greed and fear, you can find financial joy by keeping a balanced view of money. Money is a tool to be paired with wisdom, information, planning, and a sense of assignment. So, if you have a financial setback, think of it as a setup for success, an opportunity to do the right thing next time. Make thoughtful choices reflecting your values, godly stewardship, and learning from mistakes or misjudgments.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • Inventory what you own, what you owe, and your income. Be joyful with what you have and cultivate the awareness and opportunity to make your next financial decision better.
  • Pray for more—that it becomes enough. Assign your money for living, giving, savings, investing, and enterprise.
  1. Peace: Unity between People

Peace with your money can mean unity of purpose with a financial partner, whether in marriage, business, or a family setting. Finding agreement on financial goals, tactics, and strategy is not easy. But continually learning and engaging in active discussions about money and goals will help reveal the knowledge and wisdom you need. A second opinion is helpful and can be the encouragement and check-in needed for sound monetary choices and decisions.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • When attempting a decision and setting priorities, you and your financial partner should each make separate lists of financial challenges, opportunities, and goals. Rank them in order of importance and then respectfully share each one as you go down the list together.
  • See if you can make a joint list of money priorities. This list might include taking a financial class, reading a book, researching information, seeing an expert, visiting financial institutions, and developing questions for those visits.
  1. Patience: Slow to Speak and Slow to Anger

Patience is one of the most essential yet most seldom followed practices in the world of investing and finance. Like the classic story of the tortoise and the hare, in nearly all cases, you want to be the slow and steady tortoise who thoughtfully and regularly saves, invests, pays down debt, and considers financial actions. Haste breeds panic and panic distorts rational decision-making. Time is your friend in investing. Sticking with sound and regular money habits will help you win the long race of life with which you are gifted here on earth.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • Never be pressured or rushed into a fast financial action whether it be an investment, loan, or purchase. Take a breath and wait days or even weeks. Seek out qualified Take time to learn about what you do not know or what might be confusing you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Ask, “Why the rush?” Seek alignment with your long-term financial goals. If you do not have goals, set them before making big or regular money decisions. A lack of financial patience can lead to fraud and scams. The bad guy wants your money and wants it fast—before you have time to think, get a second opinion, or do your background checks.
  • Lack of patience invites both greed and fear. Both are the enemies of prudent investing. Remember: this too shall pass—you are in it for the long haul.
  1. Kindness: Merciful, Sweet and Tender

Money should not be a tool of anger or manipulation. Yet money is part of business—  stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, debt, tax issues—all with its own terms. As a Christian, you can inject the spirit of kindness into personal finance. Be ready to forgive fast and learn from a misstep or a financial wrong done to you, your business, or a loved one.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • Keep financial boasting to yourself. Boasting can display both financial arrogance and ignorance. Boasting invites bad actors and possible fraud and misinformation.  Rather than boast, inquire. A financial question is the better use of the power of the tongue.
  • Money is a means of growth, independence, charity, and daily utility. It is a powerful world force that needs the qualities of mercy and tenderness to have sustained value, blessing others and yourself.
  1. Goodness: Generous and Openhearted

In investing and asset management over the past thirty years, there has been a growing movement toward investments that are aligned with an investor’s values and/or societal goals. It is called socially responsible investing or Environmental, Social, and Governance or ESG. This movement is something Christians can take a cue from. As we conduct and plan our financial lives, money should reflect our values, faith, hopes and responsibility to ourselves, our families, our church home, and our community.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • As the theologian John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”[1] This is a perspective which strives to use God’s gifts and talents in the marketplace, being thrifty and responsible to plan, as well as being generous and showing goodness to others.
  1. Faithfulness: Dependable, Loyal, and Full of Trust

Successful people, whether they are in business, public life, the arts, health professions, or are parents, seldom achieve that level of excellence and impact without learning and practicing faithfulness. Faithfulness in personal finance means taking your time, learning new things, and learning from mistakes. Avoid shortcuts and get-rich-quick schemes while practicing money integrity daily.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • Christians have a regular opportunity to demonstrate financial trust through faithful giving in church. This weekly check-in of trust and integrity should apply to our personal finances: cash management, spending, saving, borrowing, insurance (risk management), wills, trusts, retirement savings, small business practices, investing, housing/real estate, college, and training savings and other charitable donations.
  1. Gentleness: Humble, Calm, Nonthreatening

Money impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. It is the societal lubricant for achievement, dreams, security, growth, image, and yes, even destruction and control. Money is not the problem, but if used in the wrong way, it can become threatening.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • If you are in a situation where money is used in a negative and non-affirming manner, it is time to have a conversation, take inventory, and in some cases, get counseling or other help. Financial chaos, threats, narcissism, arrogance, and pride can sink even the best financial plan.
  1. Self-Control: Behaving Well

One of the most salient principles of personal finance is delayed gratification. Not spending all the money you have or excessively borrowing gives you a shot at financial well-being.  Taking money to a redline extreme of leverage, haste, or overreaction to events is the road to a financial car wreck.

Practical Financial Fruitfulness

  • Being under God’s control will give you the self-control not to become financially out-of-control. You are the steward of this resource. Gifts from God gave you the power and opportunity to make money, and if you are not making money in line with those gifts, ask God to show you what you should be doing with work or business that helps you fuel and fill your destiny.
  • Remember, the greatest investors and business people keep their emotions, actions, and desires in check. That way they can see both big and little opportunities in the markets and with creating and running an enterprise. Being in control reveals the haste and folly of others, as well as their overreaction to economic and political events and trends.

Brent Neiser, CFP®, is a Foundation Executive specializing in financial education, consumer trends, and public policy. Brent serves on a Federal Advisory Board on consumer protection and is chair of a city commission in Greenwood Village, CO where he resides with his wife Marion. Outside the office you’ll often find Brent enjoying yoga, snowboarding, swimming, paddle boarding, golf, or playing drums and Latin Percussion.

[1] Sondra Wheeler, “Wesley on Money,” Ministry Matters, May 1, 2009, accessed February 13, 2019, https://www .ministrymatters.com/all/entry/429/wesley-on-money.

 

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