In discussions about Christian believers and finances, a subject that often comes up is tithes and offerings.
Christian financial experts, however, note that there is more to managing money for Christians than just “setting aside your 10 percent” for God and the church with each paycheck.
Nashville, Tenn.-based financial advisor Teddy Fayne of Teddy Fayne & Associates noted that while being obedient to the command to tithe is important, the Bible also has numerous passages addressing other aspects of financial management.
“The purpose of those passages is to help us become and remain financially free. With the national unemployment rate near 10 percent and record foreclosures, financial freedom and debt relief are critical today,” said Fayne, who was the featured presenter for Bishop Eddie Long’s Financial Boot Camp during last week’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration.
Indianapolis businessman James Poore, a devout Christian, who offers financial advice at churches, agreed, says that the Bible mentions the management of money and material resources more than any other topic so that resources would not be misused, wasted or hinder a believer’s relationship with God.
“We have to realize that everything, including money, is God’s and that he is entrusting us to properly manage those resources,” said Poore, who owns three Indianapolis McDonald’s franchises and is the author of the book, Christian Principles of Managing Money.
“We have to develop the right attitude about money because we spend about 80 percent of our waking hours thinking about it,” he added. “Between working for it, balancing the budget, planning spending and savings, and just plain worrying about and wishing for more money, financial matters consume most of the average person’s time.”
Both Fayne and Poore encourage Christians to purchase a “study”-style Bible, where Scriptures can be easily found based on a topic, and read those listed under “money.”
As for practical advice, Fayne strongly encourages consumers, Christians and otherwise, to learn how banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and other lenders calculate interest rates before making major purchases such as cars and houses.
“People who don’t understand interest often pay a lot of it in their lifetime,” Fayne said. “You end up paying much more than the real value for something you purchased, and for an unnecessary length of time.”
Poore said a person can become smart about money by adopting the principles of praying before making purchases (especially major ones); spending cash and avoiding interest-building credit cards; keeping good records of cash flow (income and outgo); committing to a daily intake of Scripture for guidance in all areas of life, including finances; and having a trusted financial accountability partner to discuss financial decisions.
“If people can grasp on to these five things, they’ve got half the battle won,” Poore said.
The following is a list a popular Christian-based financial advice Web sites: