There are only three alternatives when it comes to control over your finances. Either you rule, God rules or the Credit Card Companies and mortgage lenders rule. That’s it. You, God or the Lender. Let me say right off the bat, God is the only one you want in charge.
If YOU are in charge, you will fulfill Proverbs 21:2: “every way that a man takes seems right in his own eyes.” I have never run across anyone clever enough to work out the overall financial plan that God has for his people using his best thinking. I am not saying there aren’t many clever financially astute people, but if they don’t base their financial acumen on the Word of God – well, you get about a tenth of what God intends. It doesn’t help to be a mathematician or an accountant; without the principles of Godly finance, you may get the math right, but end up with the wrong outcome. In fact, I predict it.
If YOU are in charge, Proverbs says that what you chose (“every way that a man takes seems right in his own eyes”), you will justify – that is, you will allow many ways of dealing with money that are dead wrong and convince yourself that they are right. How do I know this? Because I have seen it time after time. It unfortunately is normal. So we’ll come back to this later because it is so important, but I’ll give you an example from my early days.
Fran and I were in a church community in the 1970s with a very special single girl who had some disability but also had received a modest inheritance from her deceased father. A friend of hers and mine wanted to build a house for his growing family, but was short $10,000. $10,000 is a lot of money today, so you can imagine how much it was back then. So my friend went to the young girl and asked for a loan.
Of course she wanted to help because she loved his family, but her money was in a Trust her father had established for her welfare. Since it was “in trust,” she had to get her father’s Trustee to approve making the loan, and the Trustee refused to do so with out someone else “standing” for the debt in case our friend could not make the necessary interest payments. Now I knew that Proverbs 17:18 says that one should not “co-sign” on a mortgage, but in this instance, I thought surely it would be all right. After all, this was in church, and our friend had a pretty good business and a growing family. But bottom-line, I too wanted them to have a brand new house. So I ignored God’s principle and co-signed on that loan.
Nothing I had assumed for the future turned out the way I thought it would. My friend defaulted on his first mortgage and the 2nd mortgage held by the girl’s Trustee was wiped out. I thought surely the fellow who had borrowed the money would at least cover the $10,000, but he did not. So a year passed and the Trustee called me one day and said “Rusty, I see you backed up this loan. We can’t get money from the borrower. It looks like you will have to come up with the money.” How hard do you suppose that was? Pretty dog gone hard, and it took most of the savings I had accumulated for my growing family and deposited it in the girl’s trust account. I was glad for that, but very sorry for my mistake.
What had happened to my money? It was gone. The money that I had saved represented almost a year’s worth of work. Gone. Vanished. I ignored God’s clearly stated principle. Who had been in charge? Me, not God.
So please don’t make that mistake. Listen to God, and ignore all your justifications that YOUR situation is different – that somehow your little decision will be Ok even though you know it violates a Biblical principle or a prompting restraint from God’s Spirit.
Summing up, Let God be in charge.