The 10 Commandments of Financial Health
Pastor Jim Stilwell
Before I came on staff at Christ Church, I was a credit counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling and coached several thousand people. I was always amazed how little people knew about their finances and their debt. I was also amazed that after the appointment, if I didn’t fix their problems, they were disappointed in me as a counselor. Never mind they didn’t listen to my tips about reducing their expenses, never mind they didn’t want to cut up their credit cards, and never mind they didn’t want to adjust their lifestyles.
The fact is, money management is twenty percent knowledge and 80% behavior, so my guess is most of what you are reading, you have already heard. The question is, if you are not doing these things, then why not? If you are, I applaud you.
More than 50 percent of Americans today live paycheck to paycheck. One in 5 families that earn over $100,000 live that lifestyle as well. Two-thirds say they have a budget, only 19% keep it. Thirteen percent of American families spend more than they earn (it is probably higher), 40% say they need $500 per month extra to live comfortably. The Average credit card debt is $5500 per person and the total consumer debt is $ 4 trillion in the U.S.
The 10 commandments of Financial Health are:
1st commandment Know what God says about money management.
What do the scriptures say about money management? Over half of the parables are about money and I have heard that there are 2300 total scriptures about money. Do you think God feels that this is important? I have several favorite scriptures. Matthew 6 is one of them, another is Psalm 24:1, which says “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Others are, Luke 14:28-20, 16:11-13, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Matthew 6:25-34, Matthew 25:14-30, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Proverbs 22:7, Proverbs 21:5, Proverbs 21:20, just to name a few.
2nd commandment Pray to God for Wisdom and guidance.
Solomon prayed to God for wisdom and discernment. God was pleased by this and not only gave Solomon great wisdom, but gave him great wealth as well. This is one area most of us fail at when it comes to our finances isn’t it?
3rd Commandment Keep daily record of expenses.
Now that sounds simple enough, but my guess is that most people have no clue as to how their money is spent. Proverbs 20:7 A sluggard does not plow in season, so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. Doesn’t fit exactly, however if you don’t keep track you may find nothing at the end of the month. This is a simple step but vital to money management.
4th Commandment Develop a spending plan or budget.
Use your daily log and make a budget. What is my spending plan? How much should I spend on food, gas, utilities, Tithe, entertainment, etc. Where are you at the end of the budget? Plus, minus, or zero?
5th Commandment Use Credit Card wisely or not at all.
Credit cards can be addictive. If you put something on your credit card and don’t pay it off, you could be paying for that pizza for 30 years.
6th Commandment Payoff debt and stay out of debt.
When you have debt, you can be in bondage to the debt. It can affect what you do and how much you do it. Debt and money management problems are a major cause of divorce in America.
7th Commandment Live within your means.
What does that mean? It means you don’t spend what you don’t have, and you don’t buy what you don’t need. You have got to discern what is a want and what is a need.
8th Commandment Have a regular savings plan.
Do you have a nest egg for emergencies? If over 50% of people go paycheck to paycheck, then over half would probably say no. A question that always comes up is how much savings I should have. I would say in this economy, you should have 3-6 months of your expenses save up, if not more.
9th Commandment Develop a giving plan.
Remembering the words, the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Giving is not only monetary, but of your time and talents as well.
10th Commandment Develop financial goals.
We should all have goals, whether it is financial, career, retirement or spiritual. They should be short term and long term. Adjusted all the time, monitored all the time. Goals keep you focused on what is important and your priorities in front of you.
You can contact Pastor Jim here.