As a teen, you are in control and you can successfully learn to manage money according to God’s financial principles or you can wing it and fail. But please understand that a multi-millionaire is not necessarily more successful than somebody who barely has enough to pay their bills. Prosperity is not determined by dollars in the bank or the car you drive. Biblical prosperity is determined by how much you honor the Lord in the way you handle the money He gives you. Managing your finances according to God’s plan will give you peace in your heart and in your home. Above all, you will invest in the longest term of all, eternity!
The Significance of Money
Is money important to God? If it isn’t, why did He put about 2300 verses in the Bible giving us commandments, principles, and examples about money management? The Lord Jesus told several parables about money (talents and pounds) and promised eternal reward for the proper use of funds. In the New Testament, giving money could be used as a form of worship as “such sacrifices are well pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16).
Is money important to you? God hopes so. He wants you to share His view of money. He is the best financial planner you will ever meet. Are you interested in His counsel?
We must always be doing a “motive check” as to our attitudes and actions towards money. Many marriages in our world seem to be until “Debt do us part.” Financial stress due to improper actions and attitudes toward money can drive couples apart. The Bible says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith” (1Timothy 6:10). So even beyond the destruction of a marriage, mismanagement and a thirst for more money can drive you to change your convictions and produce spiritual shipwreck in your life.
The Stewardship of Money: Know it, stow it, and grow it!
Whether you are a manager at McDiddle’s Burgers or babysitting Denace the Menace next door, you work hard to earn money. That’s great! Laziness is something the Bible severely condemns. Learning to work without becoming addicted to work is a challenge you need to take on while you are young. The Bible says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4). A sluggard is a lazy person who cannot get up in the morning and would sooner dream about money rather than go get a job. God calls you as a young Christian to develop your work ethic so you are known as “diligent.” The Bible says, the person willing to work with steady determination will be able to provide for His family.
If you don’t know where you are, how in the world can you know where you are going? One of the greatest problems in the handling of money is that people don’t know what they make, how much they have, and how much they spend. The wise king said to his son, “Know well the condition of your flocks” (Proverbs 27:23). A good shepherd always knows where his sheep are, what they need, and thinks ahead. Writing out a list of your income each month and all your purchases and expenses will help you to trace your spending habits and be aware of the balance of funds you have available.
Saving is scriptural. While hoarding money out of fear is wrong, spending every dime you earn is not right either. “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it”(Proverbs 21:20). The goal is to always have something in savings, under the mattress, or in the bank. This means you must always keep an eye on the future. The wise man said, “The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer;” (Proverbs 30:25). They may have small brains, but they certainly aren’t dumb. They prepare for the difficult times ahead. Many experts recommend that you have a savings of at least two months’ worth of income. Also, you should have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
You need common sense to manage money. The traditional saying explains it well, “If your out-go exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.” The Bible says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3). In other words, instead of living for the here and now, the wise man thinks of the long-term consequences. If it will put him in debt, he restrains himself.
The Sacrificing of Money: Get it, guard it, and give it!
The Bible gives every true believer the opportunity to worship God with their possessions and with their income. Solomon counseled his son, the prince, to “Honor the LORDwith your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce” (Proverbs 3:9). He was to use what he had already and what he was going to earn to honor the Lord.
Under the Law of Moses, Israelites had to give a tithe, which was 10 percent of their income. In the New Testament, Christians are told, “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Each week, or with each paycheck, you should separate out a part to give to the Lord. You are not told to give a specific percentage or amount. You have to decide. You need to review your finances, see how God has blessed you, and determine an amount that you want to dedicate to the Lord and His work. This is the amount you can give to the church offering or distribute personally to support God’s work and workers or to help people in need. Therefore, part of your administration is to decide in prayer how much God wants you to give and how the funds should be used.
Giving can be one of the most thrilling activities for a Christian. Get a shoe box or a separate bank account where you put the Lord’s portion of your income. It does not matter if you make a million a month (in your dreams!) or are living on meager “gifts” for babysitting the neighbors’ children, start now to develop this necessary discipline. Once you put it aside, treat it as if it was the Lord’s – because it is! Don’t use it to go on vacation or loan it to yourself so you can get new clothes. Spend it wisely according to the Word of God and you will have the incredible joy of honoring God with your substance.
The Snares of Money: Use it, abuse it, lose it!
Whatever you do, please don’t be a…
A Clueless Clarence
Many people live in a financial fog and they can’t see where they are or where they are going. There is a special tranquility in living in the soup of ignorance, but eventually you will have to come out into the light of reality. You must know where you are, before you can plan a route to get to where you want to be.
An Owing Ollie
Why does the Bible say “owe no one anything (Romans 13:8)?” When you owe money, the person to whom you owe can control your life. Debt is a lead weight that will sink you very quickly if you are not careful. Watch out for the 1st and the 4000th credit card application in the mail. It can be a tool to build your credit rating, but YOU MUST PAY IT OFF EVERY MONTH! The trap of paying off the interest sounds so good. Far better to save your money and wait until you can afford to buy the item outright.
A Covetous Carol
Lottery tickets, raffles, online gambling, and casino games are just glamorized ways of getting rich quick without having to work; the Bible clearly condemns this. Don’t justify it by saying you will give half your winnings to the Lord. He only wants what you earned honestly. Also, look out for get-rich-quick plans and schemes – such as a company that has you watching videos, dreaming about being rich, or inclining you to look down on others who aren’t “making it.” Many companies that use pyramid sales schemes and similar tactics are just promoting covetousness which is sinful and inconsistent with Christian testimony.
A Tightwad Tim
Do you leave the minimal tip? Do you even leave a tip? Do you guard your money like Fort Knox and worry about whether you will have enough? The generous soul will have much. Above all, he will know the tremendous joy of giving. It is not a duty, but a tremendous pleasure that fills your heart as you try to help others in a practical way. The Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), a believer who gives freely and lovingly for the good of others just as God has done for us.
With all your pennies or your pounds of gold, God gives you the responsibility and some clear guidelines to manage your money wisely. He could do it for you, but instead He wants you to do it while He guides you with Biblical principles as to how to handle the money you earn.