I used to enjoy walking down my local high street but lately, all the empty shop fronts have become slightly depressing. A business that survived the first and even the second lockdown has been unable to bounce back in the third. The unemployment rate in the UK has soared, currently standing at 7.4%, compared to 3.9% in 2019. The financial vulnerability has never been more at the forefront of our minds.
The dictionary defines vulnerability as ‘capable of being physically or emotionally wounded‘. So it is little wonder financial vulnerability often impacts people very deeply.
Although I have worked as an accountant for many years, there was a time in my life when I fell into debt myself. As I helped others plan their finances my own became more and more out of control. The impact was massive, not on just my mental health but also my physical and spiritual health. I wasn’t sleeping and my hair started falling out. When you are in debt, anxiety and frustration build, everything feels out of control. You fear the future and all the hope that scripture has to offer seems empty and meaningless. Prayer feels ineffective and pointless.
Having a strategy and being in control of your finances enables you to make better decisions. Joe Biden famously said,
Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.
As Christians, faith is the bedrock of who we are and what we do. That includes our finances. But what does it look like to manage our finances faithfully in the UK today? The world of money often feels complex and tricky to navigate. Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all system, I want to suggest five biblical principles for managing your finances as we move into this post-COVID season.
- Remember God is the source of all we have.
Philippians 4 v19 says “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Remembering that God is the generous giver of all we have keeps us humble and protects us from the worship of money. It also makes us more responsible with our money; we do not have the title deed for our possessions and we will have to give an account to God for how we have used his gifts.
- Be generous.
Luke 6 v38 says “Give, and it will be given to you.” You may feel like you do not have enough to give. But there is always something in our hands that we can give. In Genesis 26, Issac sows in faith during the famine and receives a harvest of a hundredfold. There is a blessing in giving and treasure in heaven.
- Budget carefully.
Luke 14 v28 says “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”. Having a budget and a plan is so important. Ensure you have enough not just to start a project but to finish it. Think about your values and what is important to you and reflect that in your budget.
- Avoid the dept trap
Proverbs 22 v7 says “the borrower is a slave to the lender”. Buying on credit and with money you don’t have can seem attractive now but it is incredibly dangerous and often comes from a discontented or greedy heart.
- Save wisely
Proverbs 21 v20 says “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but the fools gulp theirs down.” It is wise to set money aside and not spend everything we have as soon as it comes into our hands.
If you think through these five principles in your personal finances they will equip you to make wise, biblical decisions. For many of us, when things were easier before COVID, we lost sight of these principles. Often all that is needed is a plan, the belief that change is possible and the courage to start.
Living fearlessly, the theme of this year’s Uncommon Women conference, speaks powerfully of financial vulnerability. Women coming together in a community that is not defined by age brings an incredible opportunity. When I got into debt, I had no older women in my life keeping me on the right path or teach me from their mistakes. As we empower one another and delve deeper into the practical ways to manage our finances we can find freedom from financial vulnerability. This post-lockdown season is an amazing opportunity to teach biblical financial principles to the younger generation and be reminded of them ourselves! The onus is now on us to put in the work to reflect our faith in our finances.
Written by: Laide Olunloyo