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What Does God Teach About Saving?.

By Keith Rawlinson

Volunteer Budget Counselor

Does God have an opinion about Christians saving for future purchases or future financial security?  To answer this question, let's turn to the Bible and see what God actually says about it.  I have mentioned many times in my writing, that in counseling, and in my finance-related Sunday school lessons, I refer to the Bible as the instruction manual because that's what it really is.  The Bible is God's written instructions for how we Christians should live our lives.  There are quite a few verses relating to various aspects of preparing for the future, but I'll use just my most favorite verses on the subject of saving.

There is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders all he has.  Proverbs 21:20

In today's language, this verse could be interpreted to say that there are nice, and sometimes expensive, things in the home of a wise person, but a fool spends everything he earns.  Well, the man who spends all he earns must be spending that money on something--and it is reasonable to assume that at least part of that is the purchase of things.  The difference is that, in biblical times, oil was a valuable commodity and was basically liquid money.  Oil could be saved up, sold or traded. Of course the word "treasure" meant the same then as it does today--cash and valuables.  So, in this verse, the wise man is building up a supply of things that are valuable and can be spent or traded just like cash can be today.  The foolish man, on the other hand, is making a lot of purchases that deplete the money he has on hand.  He is also, most likely, buying a lot of things that go down in value.  Thus, he spends all he earns until it is gone.

Considering what "oil" and "treasure" meant in those days, it is quite obvious that the wise man is saving.  He is building up a supply of valuable holdings.  It is equally obvious that the fool has little or nothing to show for his earnings.  The bottom line of this verse, then, is that the wise man saves and the foolish man doesn't.

Here's another verse dealing with saving:

Who would build a tower without first sitting down and estimating the cost to be sure he has enough money to complete it?  Luke 14:28

This verse is talking about carrying out a construction project.  Basically, it can be interpreted to say that it would be stupid to start a major construction project before there is enough money on hand to make sure it gets completed.  As it relates to saving, this verse is a little more subtle than the previous one; but, the way I see it, the only way to have enough money on hand to complete a project you haven't even started yet, is to save it up.  In other words, the way to make sure you'll have enough money to complete the major construction project is to save.  Some would say you could just borrow the money, but trust me, God thinks borrowing is a bad idea.

Let's look at one more verse:

Go to the ant you lazy person.  Consider her ways and be wise, who having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.   Proverbs 6:6-8

What is the ant doing in this verse?  She is putting up supplies and food in the summer and during the harvest when these things are available and plentiful.  Notice that the verse is not talking about money, riches, treasure or anything like that.  This verse is talking about the basics such as supplies and food.  In other words, she is providing herself with security by saving up.  If she does not put up supplies and food while she can, then she will have nothing to get her through the winter.  No doubt about it--in this verse, the ant is saving for future needs.


These verses, directly out of the Bible, make it pretty clear that not only is it all right for a Christian to save for future purchases and future security, God actually wants us to do it.  It's right there in the instruction manual.  So, what does God teach about saving?  He teaches that not only are we permitted to save, we are instructed to save; therefore, saving is one of God's techniques for handling money.

To learn a lot more about where to get money for savings, how to save, how much to save, and how to build your savings into wealth, be sure to read the articles on my Financial Page.

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