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Ask Chuck: Helping others break their financial dependency

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

I serve on the benevolence committee at my church. Inflation seems to be a common issue. How can we help the hurting during this time without creating dependencies?

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Helping Without Creating Dependency

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Dear Helping Without Creating Dependency,

Many people suffering from the impact of inflation are hurting because of the symptoms of a deeper problem. With rare exceptions, the problems they experience began years earlier, perhaps even in childhood.

Many of the symptoms we see today, like business failures, bankruptcies, divorce, job-juggling families, soaring credit card debt, etc., stem back to the problem of a lack of understanding of God’s financial principles. Few come from homes that instill basic financial training or biblical stewardship. False attitudes toward money were essentially modeled for them. Here is an example of that problem I recently addressed that may be helpful to those you serve.

Let's review the basics that can help those seeking benevolence support to avoid having to return in the future.


Proverbs 13:18 reads, “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.”

Spending less than one earns is vital to avoid many of the financial issues that families encounter. Overspending should be so discouraged in Christian homes that children wouldn’t even consider it a possibility in their own homes later. 


Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.” 

Not only are we to repay what’s owed, but we should also save for needs, not borrow to get them. Trusting God to provide without borrowing is the beginning of financial freedom.


Proverbs 21:20 states, “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” 

The availability of easy credit is crippling today’s society. Families must model the biblical and financial wisdom of saving for the future rather than relying on creditors. Expecting a continual bailout from the church, family, friends, or the government is wrong.

Hasty decisions

Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” 

Hoping to win the lottery or living off the compassion of others is not a strategy to break dependency. A firm financial foundation is built by taking small steps over a long period of time. A husband and wife who commit to managing money in God’s way will model self-control, self-discipline, and sacrificial living. One of the best disciplines a parent can teach a child is working toward a goal. When things are given without effort, then an expectation of that becomes a lifetime habit. 

Become outwardly focused

Many Scriptures teach about the dangers of material riches, but God’s Word does not teach that poverty is the alternative. Greed and covetousness lead many to financial ruin. Greed is wanting more of what you already have. It is the endless pursuit of more. Covetousness is wanting what someone else has. Both are misplaced desires for things that cannot meet our deepest needs for fellowship and communion with God. When we set the standard for pure motives and contentment with what we have, we will be transformed from selfish-driven pursuits into the character and goodness of God that puts others’ interests ahead of our own.

God wants us to see money as a tool to use in accomplishing His plan through us. It is a matter of conforming to the standard of what He set forth in His Word. Here are some basic guidelines for families who want to break the cycle of dependency and desire to wisely steward the resources with which they have been entrusted:  

  • Establish a reasonable standard of living.
  • Get in the habit of giving.
  • Set priorities.
  • Develop a thankful attitude.
  • Reject a fearful spirit.
  • Seek God’s will for you.
  • Trust God’s promises.

The need for biblical financial literacy training in the church is acute. I hope your committee will consider all the resources that Crown can provide.

Another helpful and trusted source is Christian Credit Counselors. They can help consolidate debt and get those with financial dependency on the road to financial freedom.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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