The Surprising Way Most People Go Wrong With Their Personal Finances
So you’ve decided now is the time to really get on top of your finances. Perhaps you’ve always had that nagging feeling in the back of your mind convicting you to be a better steward of what you’ve been given by God, but candidly it hasn’t been the highest priority. Or maybe now is the time to seriously consider retirement and you know having a financial plan is something that will be integral to your success. Whatever may be the reason why you’ve started prioritizing your investments and financial plans, it’s integral to know where to start.
When managing money and planning for the future, it’s easy to focus first and foremost on the numbers. Will I have enough? If I save this much money in my investment accounts, what will the balance be in 20 years? If we purchase that second house at the beach, could we still afford the lifestyle we’re currently living? These are all valid, even important questions to ask in any financial plan. However, should questions about numbers and figures be the starting point and focus of our plans?
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Emphasis added)
When the prophet Samuel was sent to identify the next King of Israel from one of Jesse’s sons, Samuel’s eye was drawn first to the strong appearance and height of David’s brothers. However, God did not want a King because of his strength or his height. God wanted a king whose heart aligned with His. When we are building our financial goals and plans, are we starting the money conversation with our hearts aligned towards our own kingdoms or Gods?
James 4:13-15 “Now listen, you who say “Today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Because our behavior follows what we believe, all of our financial and life plans ought to start with aligning our hearts, like a compass, towards God’s will for our lives. The Bible outlines 4 areas of our hearts we can address when it comes to aligning our hearts and our finances.
Do we believe that God owns it all and we are stewards of what we have been given? As stewards we believe God has given us money as a tool we can use to enjoy and to bless others.
Are we content with what we have? The writer of Hebrews tells us to keep our lives free from the love of money and to be content with what we have because God will never leave us or forsake us.
Are we demonstrating our faith in the way we are utilizing and planning to utilize our resources? James tells us the evidence of our faith is shown by our actions. If we are not being faithful stewards of our money, it’s an area to pursue God in prayer and ask for Him to align our hearts with His.
Do we believe that God’s wisdom is available to us? When we align our hearts with God’s, our source of making wise financial decisions flows from what God has said to us in his Word and through prayer.
Making plans for the future is a very good thing. Pauls tells us in Philippians that he presses on towards the goal to win the prize God has called him to. The key to Paul successfully completing his race and achieving his price, lies in him running the right race. The race God called him to. When we start our financial plans aligning our heart’s desires with God’s desires we ensure we are running the race He has called us to run. And lest we get anxious that we won’t have what it takes to align our hearts with God’s heart and run our race successfully, we know that we have a faithful shepherd who leaves the 99 to find the 1, and who will return us to our course should we find ourselves astray.
Eric Schrum is an advisor and partner at Schrum Private Wealth Management. Eric contributes for The Faith First Advisor, The Faith Driven Investor, and has a particular interest in helping Christians align their finances with their beliefs through wise financial planning and investing. Investment Advisor Representative of Spire Wealth Management, LLC. Advisory Services offered through Spire Wealth Management, LLC, a Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through an affiliate, Spire Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC.