The Ripple Effect of Our Financial Choices

Who are your financial role models? Which of your relatives, friends, neighbors, or co-workers motivate you to make smart money moves?

For me, it isn’t the wealthy people I know who live in big homes or drive fancy cars. It isn’t the people who are always the first to own the latest gadgets. It’s the people I know who happily live well within their means.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

When I was new to church and trying to figure out the whole money thing, I attended some workshops about biblical money management. The teacher was great. He really knew his stuff. But how he lived his life marked me even more than the content of his workshops.

By his appearance, I assumed he was either middle class or maybe upper middle class. I happened to see him in the parking lot once and his car gave off the same impression.

Months later, I discovered that he made a lot of money. I mean a lot of money. A long time after that, I found out why he lives so modestly. He believes his gift for making money is primarily for the purpose of making a difference in the world. He gives away over half of his income every year.

I haven’t been in touch with him for many years and yet his example continues to influence me.

What’s Permissible May Not Be Constructive

The Bible teaches us to look not just to our own interests, but also to the interests of others and also to set a good example for others.  Have you ever thought about the way your financial decisions influence others?

I’m not saying we’re responsible for the decisions other people make or that we should feel guilty about buying nice things. But I am saying that people notice how we use money, and it would be good for us to consider what impact our financial choices have on others.

Are there any ways that our financial decisions may be influencing others to make bad financial decisions? Are the types of products or brands we buy creating distance between others and us?

The Bible says that even though something may be permissible, it may not be constructive.

I once heard a preacher say he thought it was a sin for a person to drive a BMW. I don’t agree with that as a blanket statement (and I don’t even drive a BMW!). However, certain purchases could foster pride. Other purchases could be unwise if they make us seem unapproachable.

It’s really difficult to draw clear lines, saying this is too large a house or that is too prestigious a car. However, I think it’s wise for us to consider the potential impact on others of the financial decisions we make. Our use of money has a greater impact on others that we probably realize.

Who are some of your positive financial role models and how have their choices influenced you? Have you ever thought about how your financial decisions may be impacting others? Has it ever made you not buy something you were thinking about buying?

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2 Responses to The Ripple Effect of Our Financial Choices

  1. Tom H. October 12, 2022 at 1:35 PM #

    This is too funny and timely.

    I have two Uncles who have a net worth in the millions, I’m guessing. One drives a clean, older pick up truck and the other drove a nicer town car. I, too, have a net worth in the low millions. I, just had a car die on me. I can’t bring myself to buy a new car yet and I think this article is timely because although I do not believe that buying a Tesla or a Volvo or Audi (all of which o happen to admire) isn’t a sin, is it right for me? Funny, I’m not there yet and I wonder if it would puff me up to drive one? The car I drive isn’t a clunker, but my kids and even my wife think I should buy a newer one. Thanks for the perspective.

    • Matt Bell October 12, 2022 at 1:47 PM #

      Glad the article came at a good time, Tom. It isn’t a clear-cut issue, is it? But it’s definitely worth wrestling with and praying through. I have felt the tension of certain products or brands putting distance between people. There’s freedom here, but there’s also an important opportunity to ask how this or that purchase might impact my relationship with God and others.

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