Today is not looking like it will be an encouraging day for financial markets around the world, and predictably this news cycle will probably be dominated by ominous financial news. This is a difficult time for many, but doesn’t need to be cause for hopelessness or panic. In times like these it is evident that worldview really does matter. The Bible provides much financial wisdom, and consequently a Biblical worldview can provide stability even during the most violent financial storm. Here are ten reasons why.
#1 Troubled times remind us of what is most important.
Proverbs 11 discusses several important financial principles, perhaps the most important of which is that temporal wealth is just that – temporal. Ultimately money and other forms of financial wealth cannot deliver us from our ultimate problems. God provides another way. “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Prov 11:4). James 4:13-14 reminds us of how fleeting wealth is, and Matthew 16:26 concludes a stern warning that gaining the whole world is worthless if we have lost our soul.
#2 There is something worth far more than silver and gold.
Proverbs 3:13-15 reads, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profits of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire compares with her.” Wisdom can be had, regardless of financial status. What is wisdom? Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10 help us answer that question (spoiler alert: the fear of the Lord [or the proper perspective of God]).
#3 Financial meltdown can help motivate us to stay (or get) out of debt.
Proverbs 6:1-5 warns of the urgency of getting out of debt. Often times financial ruin is related to being indebted. No need to panic if we find ourselves in debt, but there are steps to be taken to “deliver yourselves like a gazelle, from the hunter’s hand…” (Prov 6:5).
#4 Learning by listening is less costly than learning by experience.
Proverbs 8:10-11 exhorts to “take my instruction and not silver, and knowledge rather than choicest gold. For wisdom is better than jewels, and all desirable things can not compare with her.” The Proverbist offers a simpler way to learn than the pains of experience: take hold of instruction. Learning this lesson once and for all is, ironically, worth significant financial cost.
#5 What was lost wasn’t really yours.
2 Corinthians 9:8 explains in a context about cheerful giving, that abundance is not designed for personal gratification, but rather “for every good deed.” When abundance is there, God has provided it that we might use it to share with others. When abundance isn’t there due to things beyond our control, then He hasn’t provided it, so nothing is really lost.
#6 Financial loss can help us avoid the love of money and associated griefs.
1 Timothy 6:10 is often misquoted as “money is the root of all evil,” but the passage actually says, “for a root of all the evils is money-love.” Money isn’t the problem, but our great affection for money is. If we respond well to it, financial loss can help us recognize how slippery temporal wealth really is, and we can wisely place our trust elsewhere. The alternative, if we maintain a high degree of affection for money, is that we can be pierced with many griefs (1 Tim 6:10).
#7 Trials and testing can provide a stronger faith.
“Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing” (Jam 1:2-4). James is explaining in this passage that for those who have put their faith (or trust) in Christ, trials and testing actually have a positive result, and are a part of our growth to maturity.
#8 Financial struggles give opportunity to love others.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15). Encountering financial problems can allow us to empathize with others. It can help us to have compassion on others who are also facing difficulty. While of course we would never seek out difficulty, we can extract every ounce of profit from those difficulties. Being able to share with someone who is struggling how God’s grace brought you through a rough time is worth the price of admission. It may not feel like it at the time, but it will when you are able to come alongside someone else and encourage them.
#9 Of the two masters, one causes worry, the other removes worry.
“No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and wealth” (Mt 6:24). When we are focused on gaining wealth, it is easy to forget how fickle a master wealth is, and its pursuit will fill you with anxiety if you let it. On the other hand, “who of you by being worried can add a single hour to your life” (Mt 6:27)? God knows what we need (Mt 6:32), and asks us to trust in Him (Prov 3:5-6). Times of financial loss afford us an opportunity to put that faith to the test to see how He will provide. He never promises to provide us with every physical blessing, but He does promise those who have believed in Jesus Christ that they have “every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph 1:3).
#10 What we can’ t lose is far greater than anything we might have lost.
Jesus promises that “the believing one in Him has eternal life” (Jn 6:47). He promises that those He gives eternal life to, no one will snatch them out of His hand (Jn 10:28). Anytime we lose anything at all, that loss can serve to remind us of how wonderful it is that if we have believed in Him, we can’t lose Him.
So take courage. Today is a rough day, and there may be rougher times still yet ahead. But difficulty need not overwhelm us as if we have no hope. Our hope is in Someone far greater, Who can deliver and Who can provide. When we lament the loss of what we feel like we have earned, let us remember that He paid our debt so that we wouldn’t receive what we actually earned – “for the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).