Spiritually-Based Financial Advice, Part 2
In part 1 of this post, we met Pete from the spiritually-based personal finance blog, Bible Money Matters. He described why faith and finances go so well together, how his faith influences his finances, his use of the Bible and some financially relevant scripture. Today’s topics are somewhat more abstract, though the answers are equally interesting. Here’s the conclusion of the interview:
M: Do you believe in a world of scarcity, or a world of abundance? The former implies that for you to get ahead you’ll need to take away from someone else, and the latter implies that we can all improve our lot in life.
P: I believe in a world of abundance, a world where your success is defined by your drive as an individual. For you to succeed doesn’t mean that someone else has to suffer. A post on my blog the other day had a quote that sums up my thinking on this. In part it says, ‘You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.’ I think this is an idea that is losing favor in this country right now as we are seeing more and more people relying on the government to take care of them, and punish big business and the rich in order to help the less fortunate. In the long run I don’t think anyone will be helped by this.
M: Are lofty financial aspirations in conflict with your interpretation of the Bible? That is, can a rich person lead a faithful life?
P: I think there is a balancing act that needs to take place when weighing how important your money and possessions are in your life. Can a rich person lead a faithful life? I think that they definitely can. However, as Jesus said in Mark, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God [Mark 10:25].’ Jesus didn’t say that it was impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, but he did stress how difficult it would be. For it to be possible we need to rely on God, and allow him to work in our lives.
M: In what ways does spiritually based financial advice differ from secular advice?
P: For one I use a lot of Biblical references in my financial advice. Secular sites don’t do that. But when you really look at it, even the advice in the Bible is really just common sense, so the advice I’m getting in there isn’t going to be a lot different from secular sources. My advice will tend to me more in favor of avoiding debt of all kinds since I’ve read over and over the dangers of debt in the Bible. Also, I will tend to focus a lot more on giving and tithing on my site than some secular sites. I believe we are called to help those in need, even if it means taking a ding to our own net worth. Giving isn’t that hard however, when you believe it’s all God’s anyway.
M: Is your financial philosophy a source of conflict or comfort in your marriage, and why?
P: At first it was a source of conflict because for the longest time I didn’t follow my own advice, and was more controlling and less communicative about our finances with my wife. As time has gone on, and after we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class we became more open about our finances, and held monthly budget meetings to talk about our money. Since then it has become much more of a source of comfort.
M: Do you recommend any specific books on faith-based personal finance?
P: Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” is a good one that mixes in some faith, while not being preachy – good for all audiences. Another good one that I read recently was called “Does Your Bag Have Holes” by Cameron C. Taylor. Anything by Jay Peroni is also good.
Again, thanks to Pete for sharing his thoughts on this subject. Interested readers can learn more at Bible Money Matters. Regardless of your own religious beliefs, sound financial principles, from any source, are worth integrating into your daily life.
Does your faith influence your financial decisions?