Everywhere you look in modern society you find a connection between money and power. Either people with money want power or people with power want money. This pattern does not depend on any particular political system. This truth plays out in democracies, communist states, socialist countries, and totalitarian regimes all around the world, and history records its prominence throughout the centuries. And yet, interestingly enough, to some degree, money only has the power we choose to give it. In fact, what we think of as money only has representative value. It is, after all, only paper and fairly common metals. Nevertheless, what it represents is access, and access is the path to power and the expression of power. But, more than that, because money has value (even if only representative) and because you cannot live without it to some degree, it requires our attention.
Attitudes toward money and finance run the gamut. Some people obsess over the stock market, and some pinch pennies to excess, while others seem obvious to the relationship between work and a paycheck or the connection between goods and services and the ability to pay. Regardless, the attitude we should all adopt stems from scripture, and Solomon, who was by far the wealthiest man in the world, provided some important principles when it comes to finances. He warned, “My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler” (Prov. 6:1–5).
Financial decisions deserve careful consideration, long-term contemplation, and particular attention. All too easy we can promise to help a friend and lose a lot of money along with the friendship. Some even promise aid to those who do not even offer friendship as a foundation for trust (Prov. 6:1). Regardless, the integrity of the soul expressed in promise binds the godly (Prov. 6:2). Placing your financial future into the hands of someone else—friend or not—goes far beyond love, kindness, and generosity and reaches into the realm of foolishness. Therefore, wisdom argues for swallowing your pride and seeking to reverse the error (Prov. 6:3). Indeed, it should receive high priority because of all that is at stake (Prov. 6:4). Acting cavalierly with your money—even with good intentions—can quickly place you in the role of prey. It has become common today to argue that a Christian should hand over every dollar to the beggar, every item to the thief, and every trust to the conman. This is not biblical love; this is foolishness. God, who is love (1 John 4:8), does not love apart from wisdom or standards of conduct, and neither should we. While we should be as generous as we can, we should do so with wisdom, rather than handing Satan our checkbook. Financial planning is not just a course important for young married couples; it is a principle of benevolence too.