Do you feel like not all of your family’s financial needs are being met? Or, perhaps you know of another family — possibly, a good Christian family — that does not seem to be having all of their financial needs met. If either of these situations is applicable, the following information may be helpful.
First, let’s define “financial needs.” For purposes of this discussion, financial needs are “necessities,” or essential things, that can be purchased. Such necessities certainly would certainly include food, clothing, and shelter. Healthcare probably should be added. However, many Americans expect a lot more than these four basic needs.
On the other hand, the Bible does not assure us that we will have more than our basic needs met. In fact, only the first two of the four previously mentioned needs are specified in Matthew 6:31-33, which says, “[D]o not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ . . . For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Philippians 4:19 further assures us that, “[M]y God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” but it does not define the term “need.”
To decide whether or not your financial needs are being met, it is necessary to determine what your financial needs are. In a country like the United States, needs may be confused with wants or even desires. For example, most families in this country believe that a car is a basic need. Even if a car is a necessity, how new does the car have to be and does the family need more than one car? Telephone service may be another example of what most American families would regard as a basic need. Assuming that telephone service is a necessity, is anything more than basic local service essential? And there are probably other expenditures that most American families regard as needs, but are they? So, you will have to decide what the real needs are for your family.
Next, consider whether or not you have given God ample opportunity to provide what you need. God’s timing may not be the same as your timing, so you need to be patient. Isaiah 40:31 declares, “[T]hose who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” In other words, God will reward those who wait on Him.
If, after thinking about the preceding considerations, you believe that the financial needs of your family are not being met, discuss the following questions with your spouse and prayerfully meditate on them:
Have we been seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, in accordance with Matthew 6:33? Perhaps God is not meeting your financial needs because you have put something else before Him, or maybe there is some other type of unconfessed sin in your life.
Have we been seeking God’s will for our family in managing our financial affairs? Have you been praying about major financial decisions and reading the Bible to learn what it has to say about financial matters? The Bible has numerous scriptures that deal with such matters, including borrowing, financial planning, and saving and investing. [See our other articles on Personal Financial Matters.]
Have we been violating genuine secular wisdom about money management? The Bible indicates that God expects us to use good judgment in our financial affairs. Genuine secular wisdom can help us in making wise financial decisions. For example, virtually everyone can benefit from learning how to do long-term family financial planning and how to prepare an annual family budget to guide their spending and saving. [See our other articles on Personal Financial Matters.]
Is God leading me and/or my family to make a major change? Perhaps God is leading you to change jobs, or maybe He wants you and your family to move to a different location. Often, we are more willing to make such changes if our current financial circumstances are not what we would like them to be.
Is God just testing our faith? The faith of many believers has been tested over the centuries. The Bible mentions a number of such people, one of the most notable of whom was Job (see Job 1:14-22). Perhaps, God is allowing you to be confronted by financial circumstances that will cause you to realize your need to place more trust in Him.
If you are having difficulty deciding what you should do with regard to your financial needs, it may be beneficial for you to get assistance from a family financial management counselor, especially one who is a Christian who can provide you with insights from a biblical perspective, as well as from a secular perspective.
Regardless of what you decide to do, you need to be aware that the sooner you begin to take action, the sooner you should be able to provide for your family’s financial needs.
God expects each of us to do what we can to prudently manage our family’s financial affairs. The old adage that “God helps those who help themselves” seems to be as true in the area of family financial matters as it is in other areas of our life.