Financial stress tops the list of marital conflicts. Quarrels over money are often given as the reason for divorce. News headlines remind us that money is the motive behind all sorts of wrongdoing. And our own experience of financial fears and desires confirms what God's Word reveals: money is necessary, but it's also a snare.
The Bible talks a lot about how to be wise with money. Often what's most needed in the midst of financial stress is wisdom.
What Can You Do?
Plan and Save
It's become almost countercultural in America to think of not buying something unless you have the cash to pay for it. Credit cards and credit debt are the norm for countless people. They're also the source of untold levels of financial stress. Proverbs 22:7 says "the borrower is a slave to the lender."
Work and Worship
Both the Old and New Testaments commend the goodness of work. God made work before the fall and called it very good (Genesis 1:31). Though it's harder because of sin (Genesis 3:17), work is still good and it's the normal means of providing what your family needs (1 Timothy 5:8). Conversely, Proverbs says the lazy man suffers for his sloth and calls him a fool (12:24, 19:15).
Money is far more than something you use to exchange for goods and services. Jesus boiled down the problem to its essence:
"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24).
Love and Give
Giving is a sure way to deflate a heart consumed with getting. We should work—to have and to give. Ephesians 4:28 says, "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need." Practice giving, starting with giving to God (Luke 6:38) and then giving to others (Hebrews 13:16).
No matter how little you have, there is always someone with less. Regardless of your need, there will always be someone whose need is even greater. Giving joyfully—even a small amount, and giving in faith that God will supply your needs—are commendable (Mark 12:43-44, 2 Corinthians 9:7). But it is also the key to loosening money's grip on your heart and saving you from being like the rich fool in Jesus' parable who stored up treasure for himself, but was not rich toward God. The Bible says that very night, his life was demanded of him (Luke 12:15-21).
Money, like everything else we have in life, is a gift from God. It is given in return for our labor, but it comes to us, ultimately, from God (1 Corinthians 4:7, James 1:17).
Money is also a tool to be used for the good of others. Remembering these two things will guard your heart from greed, selfishness, and fear. Steward what you have been given and work heartily and faithfully so you will have enough to provide for your family and give to those in need. This honors the Lord and demonstrates that He, not money, is your greatest treasure.