“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:7
With so much stock market turmoil and economic uncertainty swirling about, now more than ever we need the reassurance and guidance of God’s eternal Word. In order to cope with these challenging times, consider the counsel and timeless principles contained in the following passages of Scripture.
Go to God. If the ups and downs of the markets are wearing you out and causing you stress, turn to God for comfort.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
You might think your concerns are too small to bring them to God. They are not. The God of the universe invites you to bring them to Him.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Go to others. This is not the best time to hang out with those who are checking their 401(k) balances every 30 minutes (then again, maybe you could help them). Look for friends who are riding out the madness of the markets with a sense of calm, and spend some time with them.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Count on God’s promises. Are you worried about your retirement portfolio? Your kids’ college funds?
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:25-34
In other words, God knows your needs and he promises to provide for you.
Take Action. God’s Word is not just for contemplation. It is designed to spur us to action.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:22-25
Want to be blessed in your financial life? Do what God’s Word says to do. Here are some of the best biblically directed money moves you can make:
Develop a plan. The Bible does not say that the hopes and wishes of the dreamers lead to profit. It says…
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5
If you’re not currently managing your day-to-day spending with a plan, you’ll find a simple guide to getting started here.
Give generously. Times of economic uncertainty often lead people to cut back. You might think now’s the time to ease back on your generosity. It isn’t. The Bible teaches us that we will always have enough to give generously.
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
Save consistently. Among the many biblical principles highlighted by a tough economy is the importance of having some money in reserve.
The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. – Proverbs 21:20
Build an emergency fund totaling one month’s worth of essential living expenses in a bank or credit union savings account or a money market mutual fund, pay off consumer debt, and then build your emergency fund up to six month’s worth of living expenses.
Spend wisely. Be proactive in managing your day-to-day spending, looking for the most effective use of money in each spending category. As one of my mentors likes to say, every financial decision is a spiritual decision because it all belongs to God.
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? – Luke 16:11-12
A cash flow plan is the essential tool for managing money well.
Avoid consumer debt. Those who do not carry a balance on their credit cards from month to month and do not finance vehicles live with an unusual amount of financial freedom.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7
If you have such debt, use today’s financial upheaval as motivation to get out from under it.
Diversify. A common mistake investors make is to build portfolios that are too concentrated. Now more than ever—with stocks falling and bonds gaining—we can see the wisdom of diversification.
But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. – Ecclesiastes 11:2
Be patient. When times get tough it’s tempting to bail out of the market. But as was pointed out earlier, the Bible warns against making hurried decisions.
Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty. – Proverbs 21:5 (TLB)
Use wise counselors. The Bible teaches us the importance of using trusted advisers.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22
If you aren’t reading the content produced by Sound Mind Investing on a regular basis, now would be a good time to start.
These are just a handful of the many money related principles found throughout God’s Word. People who practice such principles will be the ones best able to weather even the worst financial storms.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. – Matthew 7:24-27
Take it to heart: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Take action: Which of the verses mentioned above resonated with you the most? What action steps do you feel prompted to take as a result?