Last week we kicked off our series on the six things that Christian singles need to do before being married or if they never get married.
Number 1 is always #1 and that is the importance of an intimate, transformative relationship with Christ, before we attempt to choose a spouse. If you miss #1, you are missing the most critical component to a successful Christian single life and a successful Christian marriage. Nothing works if you do not make God the center of your life.
We then started to delve into #2 God needs to give you a home. This is not specifically referencing a house, but it is talking about financial stability. We spoke directly about getting out of debt and living on a budget plan before saying I Do. Check Money, Money, Money, Money…Money! to read part 1.
In part 2, I want to discuss financial planning for singles.
I know financial planning sounds SUPER boring and I know that you are about to click to another website or start scrolling IG.
We are all adults here! Stop avoiding the thing that is keeping you stuck!
“I’m doing pretty good for myself.”
Is that really the aim of your life? When you were a kid, you dreamed of being “pretty good”? You think God created you to be do “pretty good”?
“I’m much better off than…”.
Or just better off than some other person? The homeless in America are better off than the homeless in many other countries. Does that mean they are “all good”?
“I don’t need a will; I don’t have anything”. Sound familiar?
And stop overspiritualizing finances too!
“God will provide all my needs.” “Money is the root of all evil”. Or the best one, “It’s harder for a rich man to get into heaven, than a camel through the eye of a needle.” That is my favorite.
God does provide our needs. And what we need is a job, a budget, and a plan for the money He gives us the strength to gain.
Deuteronomy 8:18, But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy father, as it is this day.
It doesn’t say He gives them wealth. It says He gives them POWER to get wealth. That means they had to do something. But He was the source of the power they needed to do that “something”, whatever that thing was.
This was a reminder to the children of Israel who had gotten beside themselves with the idea that they had been the source of the good and the wealth that they were experiencing.
I believe that the problem of being self-dependent is still true. But the solution that it is really God that gives us power to get wealth is also true.
He didn’t say to get enough. He said, “to get wealth”. Now if we know anything about God, we know that the purpose of that was to be a witness of God’s provision and a blessing to all the nations that they encountered. Israel did a poor job of that.
But God did not stop being God because Israel messed up His plan. He still blesses us FINANCIALLY now, so that we can be a witness and a blessing to others.
Financial planning is committing to protecting and wisely using the money that God has given you the power to get. That is the main way that He supplies our needs
This is one verse that seriously gets twisted on a regular basis.
The bible is clear in 1 Timothy 6:10 For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness,and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Money is not the root. The love of money is the root. Money is not an end goal, it is a means goal. The end is not to just have money, or at least it should not be. The end is to be able to provide for our needs and invest in others and the kingdom of God. The means is by creating wealth. Money is simply a tool that we use to provide for our needs and as Christians the needs of the church and others. When we have sufficient tools for what God is intending us to build, the result will be more effective and efficient for his calling.
Proverbs 30:8-9 “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, ‘Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
Yet, we know plenty of Christians who were and are wealthy who don’t deny the Lord. And many people in poverty who do not steal or take God’s name in vain.
So what does it all mean? We should not make money our God, the thing we seek after or worship. Yet, neither should we venerate and idolize poverty as a measure of holiness or spirituality.
Financial planning is not about loving money. It is protecting the money you have, growing it, and planning for how it will be used in your life and service to God and others.
So many people misinterpret Mark 10:25 simply because they do not read Mark 10:”23-24. So what is this camel through the eye of a needle situation all about?
Of course, I recommend reading the whole narrative as it tells the backstory of these verses. But for our purposes we will cut to the chase.
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, ‘Children, how hard is it for them that TRUST in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
But then we also miss verse 27. Critical. “And Jesus looking upon them saith, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.’
The missing piece to many people’s criticism of rich people and wealth is the TRUST part. Are they trusting in their wealth? That is what is keeping them from God, not the money itself.
There are no signs in heaven that say “No Rich People Allowed”.
The point is that if we trust in wealth, our own goodness, other people, science, or anything other than Jesus, we cannot see the kingdom of God.
So now that we have gotten the excuses out of the way. Let us talk about what financial planning for Christians should look like because it is should look a bit different than what VALIC, AIG, and Charles Schwab are doing.
Did she say it. Yes, she did. The first and primary step in your Christian financial plan is to return unto God a tenth of ALL your income. Yes, a tenth. (Fun fact: tenth is literally what tithe means in Hebrew).
God’s requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left of our income after all our imaginary wants have been supplied. Before any part of our earnings is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims. In the old dispensation an offering of gratitude was kept continually burning upon the altar, thus showing man’s endless obligation to God. If we have prosperity in our secular business, it is because God blesses us. A part of this income is to be devoted to the poor, and a large portion to be applied to the cause of God. When that which God claims is rendered to Him, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when a man robs God by withholding that which He requires, His curse rests upon the whole.Adventist Home, p.369
“CDF Capital was founded in 1953 with a single mission (is everyone smiling with me right now?) to help churches grow.”
In their article entitled, Significant Statistics About Tithing and Church Generosity, they state that there are 247 million U.S. citizens that identify as Christians, but only 1.5 million tithe. That is .006%. That is so pathetic that I could hardly get myself together when I calculated the number. I kept looking at it like it could not really be true. But the calculator doesn’t lie if you give it the right information.
There are so many arguments and articles about why we no longer need to tithe and that is an Old Testament practice that is not relevant anymore etcetera, etcetera.
Here is why I tithe and why I teach that any true follower of Christ will do so.
- Jesus said do it.
- It all belongs to God and He allows us to keep most of His money. Psalm 50:12
- I trust Him to take care of me when I obey Him. Matthew 6:33
I was not always here in my early twenties. I struggled with this, not because I did not believe that it was a mandate, but because I was living paycheck to paycheck. I did not have a financial plan so I could not, um did not, faithfully tithe. But I felt guilty all the time. I kept track of my “debt” to God. One Sabbath, I just felt such conviction about it, I decided that I had to obey. I paid all the “back tithe” (is that a thing?) and then from then on, have been faithful in this area that I was previously very weak. I have seen God’s provision, especially when I returned tithe when I knew that something major, like my rent was late. He IS faithful; even when we are not. But He promises in Malachi a blessing beyond capacity when we are faithful to Him.
It’s not a Christian financial plan if it doesn’t include tithe. That is my $.02.
Save (Not hoard)
It is important for everyone to save because the rain will come. If you do not have an umbrella, you will get drenched. For singles, this is amplified because typically we have only one source of income (standby, we will address that in a coming blog). If that income decreases or God forbid is eliminated, having savings or an emergency is the difference between that income loss being a major crisis versus a minor challenge.
You might today have had a capital of means to use in case of emergency and to aid the cause of God, if you had economized as you should. Every week a portion of your wages should be reserved and in no case touched unless suffering actual want, or to render back to the Giver in offerings to God…. Adventist Home, p.395
The means you have earned has not been wisely and economically expended so as to leave a margin should you be sick and your family deprived of the means you bring to sustain them. Your family should have something to rely upon if you should be brought into straitened places.Adventist Home, p.396
For most of my life, I did not have a consistent savings plan. The main reason for that is that I HAD NO FINANCIAL PLAN AT ALL. I just paid stuff, bought stuff, and hoped that it would last until the next check when I needed to pay some more stuff and buy some more stuff. When crisis came, and it did, a sister was struggling.
When I met Dave Ramsey (not literally) and Financial Peace University, I started a regular savings plan. The first step is to save $1000. I did it! It was so freeing and empowering. I was not afraid every minute about not being able to address an issue with my car or in my life because of a lack of funds. And the funny thing is, crises decreased when my savings increased! Because everything is a crisis when you do not have any money to address it. Suddenly things that would have caused me significant stress in the past, were minor bumps because I had a safety net.
Save. Save something. Even if you are struggling, save something. $1, $5, $10 a week or even a month. Before you know it, it will build, but more importantly, you will be establishing a habit that will begin to relieve worry about the next money crisis. You will also begin to recognize the difference between your wants and your needs as you discipline yourself to include saving.
Hebrews 12:11 – NLT
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.Hebrews 12:11
Now, let us be clear on the point that I am not saying hoarding or just building up money to store for yourself. Like the rich fool in Luke 1216-21, your end will be a tragic one if this is your mindset.
However, many would use that story to say not to save at all, because Jesus goes on to say that “a person is a fool to store up earthy wealth”. And indeed He did say that, but like the camel through the eye of a needle story, people leave out a critical part of the statement. The end of that verse is, “but not have a rich relationship with God”. I agree totally. As I will always say, Number #1 is always #1.
Saving is a critical part of a Christian financial plan.
Make A Will
A will is simply a plan that you communicate legally to your family, friends, or the executor of the will telling them what you want done with your money, belongings, and even your body in the event of your death.
Those who are faithful stewards of the Lord’s means will know just how their business stands, and, like wise men, they will be prepared for any emergency. Should their probation close suddenly, they would not leave such great perplexity upon those who are called to settle their estate.
Many are not exercised upon the subject of making their wills while they are in apparent health. But this precaution should be taken by our brethren. They should know their financial standing and should not allow their business to become entangled. They should arrange their property in such a manner that they may leave it at any time.
Wills should be made in a manner to stand the test of law. After they are drawn, they may remain for years and do no harm, if donations continue to be made from time to time as the cause has need. Death will not come one day sooner, brethren, because you have made your will. In disposing of your property by will to your relatives, be sure that you do not forget God’s cause. You are His agents, holding His property; and His claims should have your first consideration. Your wife and children, of course, should not be left destitute; provision should be made for them if they are needy. But do not, simply because it is customary, bring into your will a long line of relatives who are not needy.Adventist Home, p.396
Whether you have houses around the world, or you live in a room with a backpack and a snuggie, the people left behind when you die need to know what to do with your stuff. Losing a loved one is hard enough without having to deal with the drama of figuring out all their business and goods because they were too selfish and immature to provide a plan for you.
Yes, I said it. Being a grown up without a will is selfish and immature.
I was both of those things until last year. I had started several wills, but never finished them. Thereby making them completely useless.
If I had died before last year, I would have left a house, a car with payments, school loan, and a house full of stuff that no one would know what to do with. In addition, even though the insurance and investment accounts had beneficiaries attached, I wanted those funds to be distributed by the beneficiary in a specific way. That could not have happened without a will telling them how and who.
A good man (woman) leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.Proverbs 13:22
Now we may be singles with children and that is a specific command to us. However, you may be single without children like me. Does that leave you free to do whatever? Nope. I still believe in the village. I have eight nieces and nephews, and 5 great-nieces and nephews (that makes me feel old). Almost all my friends have children. There are children in my church. There are organizations that serve children. Need I go on? All of these are my responsibility because they are God’s children firstly.
When I take care of my money, I can actually help children today while I’m living and leave an inheritance for some child(ren) to go to university, start a business, start a nonprofit, patent an invention, or just get a good start out in life without any debt.
Financial planning as a single is important not just for our lives and stability, but for those that we can impact through our means and influence through our example.
It is God that gives us power to get wealth, yes. But He expects us to use wisely and plan well for the wealth that He affords us through His power.
We are not done with money yet. Check back next time for Part 3. In the meantime
To create a life you love you have to plan your money on purpose not just let things happen to the gift of resources God has provided.