To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.
My pastor talked about sin in a recent message at church. I am curious to know what the Bible says about financial sins. Do you have a list?
Dear Needing Insight,
Thank you for your question.
Like you, there are many in America and around the world who have lived in financial sin, some intentionally and others completely unaware. We live in a time where many people, even those who claim Christ as Lord and Savior, are Biblically ignorant. I certainly was ignorant in spite of having broad access to Bibles and training. Often, these warnings are ignored due to apathy or tyranny of the urgent. The world seduces believers who fail to consult God before making financial decisions. They follow the crowd or heed worldly advice. I know. I did.
My Quick Story
I will tread carefully on this topic to avoid being a Pharisee, since I not only have a list of some of the major financial sins referenced in the Bible but have committed them as well! I graduated from college with a desire to get rich and fast. My goal was to make millions of dollars, and by the way, I was millions of dollars away from that goal! My worldview was something like this: Make as much money as fast as you can, to retire as early as you can, to entertain yourself as long as you can. Even though I had grown up attending church, it was not until my early 40’s that God got a hold of my heart while participating in a Crown Bible Study. The impact of that course was so profound that since that time, now twenty years ago, I have been committed to teaching others what the Bible says about money and stewardship.
A Short List - Part I
There are more than 2,350 verses in the Bible dealing with money and possessions. The vast majority of the principles that God gave us deal with our heart and mind. God is careful to tell us exactly what to believe and not to believe when it comes to material goods and wealth. This is in no way an exhaustive list of financial sins, but it will get you started on the right track.
A clear indication of a misplaced dependency is complaining about our financial status in comparison to others.
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV)
When we desire what others have, we fall into the trap of coveting.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15 ESV)
The drive to have more, more, more leads us into conflict and turmoil.
A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. (Proverbs 28:25-26 ESV)
Love of Money
Most people do not recognize their love of money until they lose it. It becomes their security in the place of God.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)
Spending everything on ourselves is a common sin we often overlook.
There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:13-14 ESV)
Accumulating money can often lead us to think more highly of ourselves.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. (I Timothy 6:17 ESV)
I suggest that you and your church become aware of the courses available to you with Crown Online. These courses offer spiritual guidance as well as practical tools in your journey to become a faithful steward. Your question is so important that I have divided my response into two parts. More next week!
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, 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, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.