Finance is a tool that should benefit you. When the tool is used, it does wonderful things for your life. If you allow it to master you, it will bring pain, frustration, and disappointment. Mastering the tool of finances will bring you into the abundant life that God has prepared for you. Here are some questions from readers about the tithe, husband spending, and bankruptcy.
Question – Should I tithe even though I cannot pay my bills?
Great question, I have received many questions on this topic. Conventional wisdom says no, but the Bible says yes. If you are a Christian, you should tithe. Many would say this is careless but you have to look at why you are in this situation. It was not the tithe. It was due to overspending and not managing your assets properly. Of course if you don’t have income, you should tithe your time to your local church in the area of volunteering. Let your leadership know. If you do have a job, I suggest that you should take control of your finances. Proverbs 3:9-10 says Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. If you honor God first, he will honor you. God works through a covenant with his people. Malachi 3:10-11 guarantees two things that God will personally do if you tithe. First, he will open the windows of heaven for you meaning that your needs will be met including your unpaid bills. Secondly, God guarantees that he would rebuke the devourer from your harvest. The devourer can be anything that eats up your paycheck before receiving it. In reality, paying the tithe prevents overspending and will put you in a position by God to honor his Word in your finances.
Question – My husband spends money that we don’t have, how can I stop him?
The answer to this question will surprise you. You cannot stop him from spending. Here is my question to you. Do you and your spouse have a financial vision? Write the vision and make it plan for all to see so your spouse may run toward it. Most people correct their behavior if an overall goal or vision is in front of them. Normally, I suggest that every family have their financial vision posted on the refrigerator or on the bathroom mirror to remind them the purpose of their money and the goals that they want to accomplish. Here are some additional pointers:
1) Sit down with your spouse and analyze your financial future – short term and long term
2) Create a list of items that you want to accomplish with your money including getting rid of debt and making major purchases.
3) Create a budget around those activities and look at your current budget to substantiate that vision for the short term goals.
4) Allocate spending money for your spouse. Realize a spouse is either a saver or spender. There is a time to spend and there is a time to save.
5) Come into agreement and hold each other accountable by having monthly family meetings in reviewing your vision.
6) Have fun and be creative
Question – Do you think I should file for bankruptcy as a Christian?
In 2009, over 300,000,000 people filed for bankruptcy. This means1of 212 people have filed. Bankruptcy is not a Christian problem, it is a choice. Bankruptcy can devastate lives and it can help others out of the strain of debt. You should seek a trusted counselor before you do so. While the Bible never states anything about bankruptcy it warns us about debt. Romans 13:1 says don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. God’s expectation is that you pay your bills regardless if you are a Christian. Here are some additional tips:
1) Pray over your finances and listen for the answer
2) Communicate with your creditors regularly about your payments – don’t shy away from them
3) Offer lenders a written copy of your budget and a list of your debts – God may choose them to give you leniency with your bills.
4) Operate in integrity; Proverbs22:1 says that A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
5) Be patient for all debt will not automatically go away– But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4)
P.S. Encourage your friends and family by sharing this column and invite others to ask questions about their money – it’s free! Send questions to Twiiter @CDDukes firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the contact page at www.cedricdukes.com. Cedric Dukes, speaker and columnist, is the author of Hostile Takeover – Manifesting God’s Plan and Purpose for Your Finances.