Saving Money: What Does Proverbs Say? (Pt. 2)
What does the Bible say about saving money? This is a big question, and a good place to start is the book of Proverbs. In my previous article, I shared the first two of five principles found in Proverbs that lay a general foundation of saving money: (1) Everything Belongs to God and (2) Money is Acquired Through Work. Let’s look at the final three.
3. Money and Wealth are Not Inherently Sinful
Proverbs 13:11 states, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” Proverbs 23:4 states, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” Notice that wealth itself is not the sinful agent in either of these passages. Rather the focus is on the disposition, demeanor, heart, and desires the human heart.
Friends, neither wealth nor money is inherently evil. We know from 1 Timothy 6:10 that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils,” not money itself. It is very important to understand this difference! Money is merely a tool, it neither lives nor breathes nor has the capability to sin. It is our heart and our desires that can become sinfully obsessed with this tool called money.
4. A Good Man Leaves an Inheritance
With the first three principles in mind, we must finally ask if Proverbs permits and encourages us to save money? We saw above that Proverbs 13:11 explains that money gained “little by little” will increase. Just a few verses later, in verse 22, the author states “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…”
We can rightfully assume that if one can pass on an inheritance, he/she must have gained, saved, or collected resources (a.k.a. money) throughout their life. Also, notice that the inheritance is described as stretching to one’s grandchildren, emphasizing a large enough amount that can span across two generations.
5. Wealth Is a Blessing From God
There is one final principle we must glean from Proverbs’ description of money: wealth is a blessing from God. Proverbs 3:9-10 states,
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
This proverb depicts the heart of someone who rightly handles their money and wealth by honoring God with it and by giving him the firstfruits. The outcome of such honorable living is that, in return, God blesses those who honor him with their possessions.
This is not “prosperity theology” where one gives to God in order to get rich. It is a general truth that God will bless those who make him their first priority in every aspect of their life, including their finances.
What Does Proverbs Says About Saving Money?
So what does Proverbs say about saving money? From this, I believe it’s safe to say that saving money is not inherently sinful, as long as we have a God-centered disposition—knowing we shouldn’t hastily seek after money or view it as the purpose of life.
We must understand that Scripture is continually calling us to examine our hearts, our motives, our dispositions, and our thoughts. In everything, we must remember the word of the Lord to Samuel: “For the Lord sees not as man sees… the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
God sees our innermost financial desires. Thus, saving money is biblically permissible if it is done with a Christ-centered heart and proper submission to God’s will for the money he has given us and the life he has given us. Because we’re called to live this life in tension—always subjecting ourselves, our thoughts, and our actions to Christ—let’s live intentionally for Christ in everything we do, including how we spend or save our money.