Ex-'Greedy' Businessman: Bible Serves as Finance Manual

The Bible serves as a guide in every aspect of one's life, including in the important area of finances, contends a former "greedy" businessman turned evangelical financial advisor.

Howard Dayton, co-founder of Crown Financial Ministries, cites Bible passages and calls on people to have a closer relationship with God, but not in the typical fashion of a preacher or evangelist. Dayton is a Christian ministry leader whose passion in life is to help faithfuls improve their financial situation by spending money God's way.

He teaches that debt is bad, although not a sin, and that the Bible discourages getting into debt as it says in Proverbs 22:7, "The borrower is the servant to the lender."

"It's not a 'Thou shalt not be in debt, or else,'" Dayton said, according to ABC News. "But it's a principle of life that [you] should seek to get out of debt as quickly as you can."

Families for various legitimate reasons need to take out loans, but they should save money aggressively to pay off the debt, he advised.

Another tip is to keep cash in envelops designated for specific expenses, such as groceries, and wait for the next pay day if all the money is used.

Personally, Dayton and his wife Bev practice what they preach. They have paid off their home and cars and have one credit card between them, which they pay the entire balance of after using it.

Prior to his financial conversion, the financial ministry leader was a self-described "greedy" dealmaker in the restaurant and real estate businesses.

Money was his God, Dayton recalled.

"It was my total focus in life," he said. "I literally didn't care about people. I just wanted to make as much money as I could."

After getting into some serious debt, he searched the Bible for guidance on financial management and found more than 2,350 references to money and possessions. Then he and his wife began to live following the Bible's teaching on money management.

"Bev drove the same car for 17 years. We used to call it Puff because of the smoke that would come out of the exhaust when it took off," he said. "One of the things that the Bible teaches is that of contentment ... not that we are to be lazy and not try to improve our lives. But what you have at the moment, be content with it. And that was a huge concept for me, particularly coming from a place where I had just wanted to get filthy rich."

Dayton teaches God is the manager and as His followers, Christians, should manage their resources according to His will, focusing on what God wants rather than what they want. He also teaches Christians should tithe 10 percent of their money to their local church.

If the teachings are practiced well, Christians should find they have more time and resources to devote to God. The Dayton's, for one, have saved up enough money for both of them to have been unpaid volunteers at Crown Financial Ministries for 22 years.

He noted he expects many more participants in his courses this year with the threat of recession.

Dayton's Bible-based financial counseling can be heard across the nation on more than 1,000 radio stations that broadcast his program, which reaches about 2 million people each week. He has written dozens of books to help people navigate and overcome financial woes.

Moreover, his personal and business financial courses, all biblically inspired, are taught in tens of thousands of churches in the United States, and 49 countries around the world. Each class begins and closes with prayers, and participants are encouraged to pray on their knees.