My son bought me this book (along with a few others) after I had put it on my Amazon wish list. Many people have to be pretty good at balancing their finances, not because they have so much spare cash, but because they don’t have any to spare. I’ve been one of those people since my first marriage.
I did not know that this book was written from a “Christian perspective”, but I thought I’d give it a read nonetheless. It’s somewhat interesting to see how a Christian applies the Bible to issues of money. And since I’m an atheist, I think it’s also borderline comical. Think about it – the almighty creator of the universe, the one who made everything, needs your tithing! Sure he does…….
But let’s continue and see what kind of financial advice that can be gleaned from these pages.
The author relays several stories of how he counselled others (usually young couples) with their financial issues, creating a plan to deal with creditors & overdue bills, and of course get them back on track to tithing to the church. Afterall, that’s how you make things right in the world and win back God’s favor towards you. Nevermind that you can employ these same basic financial principles and get out of debt even faster, if you weren’t giving away a portion of your income right off the top.
And what are these simple, yet apparently blessed, steps to living debt free?
- Accept responsibility for your life choices
- Establish a realistic budget
- Live within your means
- Don’t get in debt
- And of course – pay a good chunk of your income to the church!
The stories he uses seem to be from the original publication date of this book – 1960. Sure, the stories are quaint, and I love going back in time, to see how folks were financially strapped because they had an extra $4K in bills that their income as a successful attorney just could not cover. One such story even included a budget worksheet with before and after numbers.
The author also includes a handy list of biblical quotes that pertain to money & finances, but he doesn’t discuss all of them, especially the most important one: Deuteronomy 15: 1-6, which says :
15:1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 15:2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD's release. 15:3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release; 15:4 Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it: 15:5 Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day. 15:6 For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.
In other words, debts are to be forgiven after 7 years. Unless you’re not a friend of mine.
Call your home mortgage company and see what they say about that verse. I’m certain that they will be a business first and NOT a Christian. I also believe this is true for the author of this book, which is why he quietly side-stepped this very important verse. Of course, this assumes that most Christians lead a good Christian life, which from my perspective, they don’t.
In the end, the first 4 financial ideals (listed above) are simple, yet solid advice that everyone should follow. Most of today’s budgets are much higher on both sides of the equation, but the principles are the same.