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7 Best Compound Interest Investments (Overview + Examples) “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… he...
Anytime I write, I try to picture who the reader is — yes, I am trying to picture you, right now. And that may be both comforting and creepy at the same time.
I am trying to speak to you and direct you to what the Bible teaches about wealth. I suspect you are a person of faith who finds the Bible authoritative. You already have financial goals and want to realign those with God’s word. Or you are starting a financial planning process now and want to start on the right foot.
Maybe you are just curious and want to grow wise, mature, and stable.
The Bible is God’s word, more than divinely inspired. It was God-breathed through men who penned the words. Therefore, we find instructions in many areas of life, especially regarding money.
🔑 Free resource: Financial Planning Template for Individuals and Families
We've already talked about the 25 most powerful Bible verses about finances. In this article, however, we are talking about wealth. While "wealth" and "finances" may seem one and the same at first glance, there is a significant difference between the words money, finances, and wealth.
God’s way is righteous, good, and stable. And it gives tremendous warnings about chasing, building, and relying on wealth in society’s way. First, let’s define the differences between money, finances, and wealth, which should help us understand the Bible’s teachings.
Let’s get Merriam-Webster to help us:
Money: "Something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment." Money is the currency that we exchange for goods and services.
Finance: "Money or other liquid resources of a government, business, group, or individual. The system that includes the circulation of money, the granting of credit, the making of investments, and the provision of banking facilities." Finance is generally the system by which (or within) that money is managed.
Wealth: "An abundance of valuable material possessions, resources, supplies, property, money, or any material objects that have economic utility." Wealth is an abundance of resources, opportunities, skills, and time.
This term can be applied to spiritual, mental, or physical areas of life.
A spiritually wealthy person is a Christ-follower who has stored their treasures in heaven by trusting Jesus Christ to forgive their sins and obeying His instructions because He is the Lord of their life:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
A mentally wealthy person is one who has an abundance of peace, wisdom, and love in their life:
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid (fearful), but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
This person can be rich with family, friends, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit:
“Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
Yet, in this article, we are discussing financial wealth; more specifically – what does the Bible teach about financial wealth?
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” Genesis 1:27-30
God created us in His image and as His stewards. Everything we do starts from this truth. Our wealth is meant to be grown and managed in a way that glorifies God and serves humanity.
“I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.” Psalm 50: 9-11
God, the Creator, owns everything. Let that settle in a minute because it is enormously different than what our society teaches. God created everything; therefore, He owns it.
Granted, we have ownership within our society. Legally and physically, we take possession of many types of assets. And it is the Rule of Law’ within the United States that gives our ownership tremendous value. But God is the true owner. And when we settle this within ourselves, it can be financially life-changing.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” James 1:17-18
All good gifts are from God. Therefore, if it is good, it is a gift from God. There are no exceptions.
“Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
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Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.
He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8: 6-18
You live in the United States – a broad land with agricultural, energy, military, and financial independence led by the Rule of Law, giving ownership rights to buyers and sellers. This creates a tremendous bank system and open markets. You are blessed with the resources and opportunities to create wealth.
Then, God gives you the ability, intelligence, curiosity, work ethic, and skills to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that he also gives you. There are tremendous Biblical and logical warnings against saying to yourself: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”
“The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings ruin.” Proverbs 15:6
There are plenty of cases in which good people, Godly Christ-followers, suffer tremendous adversity and painful poverty. Jesus said:
“Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20
Therefore, in many cases, this verse is a little hard to square with history. However, we can see the civilizing effect of the Holy Spirit working in people around the world.
Generally, as a community or nation has followed Christ, they grew hard-working, honest, thoughtful, and interested in education and growth for the greater good of people. Societies like this create value. And people like this grow wealthy in more ways than one.
I cannot think of a method of honest growth and investment where risk is not involved. Therefore, how you handle risk matters tremendously!
Financial fear and worry run rampant in our country. Our banking and investing system is complex, and our freedoms allow us access often without education. I suspect that our worries, fears, and quiet dissatisfaction, even apathy, hold us back.
Before you bristle at those sentences, I am talking myself as much as you. I admit I fear and hate failure. If I am not careful, I will identify so much with my failures I will miss the good the Lord has provided for me. So, managing risk is a personal topic for me. Here are three instructions to best help you manage risk:
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3
When you identify with your successes and failures. When they define you. Success makes you insufferably arrogant, and it will never be enough. And failure crushes you and marks you like a tattoo. You will either take tremendous risks seeking to overcome failure, seeking success. Or your fear will freeze into doing nothing.
It becomes a bleak existence, a scarcity mentality in the land of the rich. And sadly, many people suffer from these fears.
But when your identity is in Jesus Christ, God’s glory is your glory! You recognize that Christ has forgiven your sins; therefore, forgiving your petty financial failures is easy. And He has given you His righteousness. You are declared RIGHTEOUS by the Lord God of Creation:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:29
Humble yourself and trust God:
“Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
How much do you think you are in control? Did you drive a car today? Do you realize that when you drive down the interstate, you often drive mere inches from many other vehicles moving at seventy mile-per-hour?
Think about it:you drive next to hundreds of people a day operating heavy machinery that could kill you, and I suspect you think you are in control.
When trying to earn and grow wealth, do you think you control the stock market? Have you ever started a business? Did you feel a tremendous amount of control during the COVID-19 pandemic? None of the business owners that I know felt any control – I certainly did not.
But God is in control. He is the Almighty, and He is good. Yes, we plan, work, and take the best, most responsible actions that we know to take; then, we pray, “Father, your will be done,” and humbly trust Him.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
This verse is one of the most well-known in the world. But have you stopped to think about its meaning? God loves people (YOU) so much that he sacrificed His son on your behalf. So, when you feel the risk of your investments, remember: find your identity in Christ’s glory, understand your level of control, and humble trust the One who loves you and is in control.
Tim Keller presented these topics in his talk “A Biblical Perspective on Risk,” stating: "Humble yourself – you are not in charge." Though you are in god’s hands, what you do matters. The One who is in control died for you.
The risk of loss causes us some much pain in America. I pray you use God’s word to overcome it.
“Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Ecclesiastes 11:1-6
Let’s look at these verses for a minute.
Invest wisely, freely, and systematically. Manage risk. And manage your emotions.
God’s promises for the future give us confidence today:
“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Because of God’s blessings today and promises for the future when can trust Him to manage our money His way. The Bible (and human logic) tells there are only three proper uses for our money. Anything else is either sinful or nonsense.
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:10-11
You have been given resources, opportunities, and the ability to create wealth, SO THAT you can be generous. God makes us rich to be generous.
God blesses us to enjoy His blessings. It was His idea to make a steak and glass of wine taste good. Therefore, enjoy without materialism or idolatry.
Just like a farmer plants seeds for a future harvest, we invest our wealth for future profits. So that, we can be more generous and enjoy more of God’s blessings.
The purpose of these actions is “thanksgiving to God.” He is the focal point, which frees you to be who He created you to be.
Don’t be alarmed, but the Bible is filled, packed, and jammed with warnings regarding wealth. This verse sums up these teachings simplest and best.
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6: 9-10
Every time we try to “get rich,” we trade our love and loyalty to God for money, leading us to ruin. Yet, we see God’s instructions within His warnings. Being wealthy is not sinful, but how we act with our wealth can be. Jesus taught:
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:8-13
You are, most likely, already wealthy. So, manage your wealth well. Learn finance, economics, and investing, or hire someone you trust. Do excellent financial planning.
If you are a business owner, build a creative company that does good work and serves people well. Be profitable. If you are working in your career job, climbing the corporate ladder, or spending your life in vocational ministry.
In whatever way you earn a living and grow wealth, do all of this for God’s glory, not yours.
How you manage your resources, opportunities, and skills matters tremendously.
I have many Believers say to me:
“Chris, God has entrusted this money to me; therefore, I must be profitable.”
Yes and no, the correct answer depends on your holistic approach, plan, and attitude. Remember, there are only three biblical actions for money: generosity, enjoyment, and investing to produce thanksgiving to God. So, within a complete financial plan, you should do these three actions while having an attitude of gratitude.
So, invest shrewdly to make a profit. Take this action seriously, thoughtfully, and at the right time, fearlessly and aggressively. But remember, your profit is often not very high on God’s priority list. He is building a Kingdom, saving souls from hell, and shaping them for all of eternity. You, if you follow Christ, are a part of this work. Your wealth is just a tool.
You cannot straddle the fence. You cannot ride two horses with one rear end. You cannot serve God and money. The word translated to money means the spirit of money. Our society is soaked in wealth. You have been trained your entire life to worship money, whether you realize it or not. It is hard and intentional work to change our minds and habits. But it is vital that you first realize that you (and I) are soaked in a wealth materialistic society. And then pray, “Father, help me.”
He will hear your prayer and begin to do great financial work in your life. It is a wonderful freedom to be freed from the slavery of financial success!
Freed to love God, love people, and manage the wealth He has given you accordingly and profitably.
Back in Deuteronomy 8, Moses taught: “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” If you worship your wealth, you will be destroyed.
🔑 Free resource: Financial planning template for individuals and families
And yet, the verse before: “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” God, Himself, gives you wealth. He gives good gifts – just don’t fall in love with the gift but the Giver!
This may be the logical question you may be asking yourself right now. However, the Bible does not answer that question. It gives many instructions around that answer but does not answer that question directly.
Jesus’ instructions in Luke 16 tell us to learn from the society around us– just don’t sin. Therefore, the method you can use to grow your wealth is the same as everyone else, but with a Biblical application.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
As you grow wealth, remember these commands:
.... and live as if you look forward to spending an eternity with the Lord – make financial decisions that make eternal sense.
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