Are you looking for a Christian finance workbook that is based on biblical principles? Read or listen to the Introduction to the Your Finances God’s Way Workbook to see why it stands out among finance workbooks.
Table of contents
- A Finance Workbook for Christians
- Keeping God’s Word in Your Heart
- A Christian Finance Workbook Heps You Be a Doer Versus Only a Reader
- This Finance Workbook Offers the Benefit of Writing on Learning
- Using This Christian Finance Workbook
A Finance Workbook for Christians
Finances are one of our most important stewardships. If for no other reason than that, we should want to manage them well. So, let me commend you—you went beyond simply reading Your Finances God’s Way to also purchasing this accompanying workbook. You are investing time and energy (spiritual, mental, and emotional) to learn how to handle money in ways that please God and bring Him glory.
Keeping God’s Word in Your Heart
As a pastor, I’ve spent numerous hours doing counseling. The time with people has given me familiarity with the most common problems people face. I have seen them struggle and then find the solutions in God’s Word, which provides us with wisdom for every area of life, including finances. When I ask you to trust God’s Word, I do so because I have seen it work in my life as well as the lives of people I’ve counseled.
This workbook is designed to encourage practical application and bring real change (because that’s what applying scriptural truth does—it brings about change). For this to happen, we must keep God’s Word in our heart, as it repeatedly reminds us:
- “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6).
- “The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip” (Psalm 37:31).
- “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
- “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
- “Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart” (Job 22:22).
While Your Finances God’s Way is not the Word of God, it is a guide filled with the Word of God. I have written this workbook to help you apply the teaching from the book and keep God’s Word in your heart. As Jesus said, “The good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15).
A Christian Finance Workbook Heps You Be a Doer Versus Only a Reader
From years of weightlifting, I’ve had lower back issues. I’ll go to the physical therapist and learn the stretches and exercises I’m supposed to do at home, but I rarely do them. My wonderful wife, Katie, repeatedly says, “Why do you go to those appointments if you’re not going to do what you’re told?” I don’t have a good answer. My actions indicate that I think simply going to the appointments helps me, but I’m deceiving myself.
We make the same mistake when we read scriptural truth but fail to apply it to our lives. James 1:22 says, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This verse reveals a common mistake I make with the physical therapist and many of us make with God’s Word: We learn it without applying it to our lives.
We do this with our finances when we believe we have done enough simply by learning what the Bible teaches about money, reading Christian finance books, and attending Christian conferences or Bible studies on money. But as believers, our responsibility goes much further than simply obtaining information. We must also apply it, or none of the knowledge we gain will be of any benefit. We do not learn God’s Word simply for the sake of acquiring knowledge. We learn it so that we can apply it and better serve the Lord. Jesus said, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it…If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (Luke 8:21; John 13:17 NKJV).
The Parable of the Two Builders
He also taught an entire parable making this point:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:24-27).
I would like to begin our journey through the Your Finances God’s Way Workbook with a look at this parable for two reasons:
- Jesus brought the Sermon on the Mount to a close with this teaching. He wanted to make sure His listeners put into practice what they heard. My prayer is that this workbook will help you put into practice what you have read in the accompanying book.
- This teaching makes clear that there is only one true foundation for any area of our lives, including our finances: Jesus Christ.
Be encouraged that you are off to a great start being not just a hearer (or reader), but a doer (or obey-er) by using this workbook.
Financial Storms Will Come
Why is it so important to have a strong foundation? Jesus revealed the need this way: “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew” (Matthew 7:25). You have probably seen on the news—or perhaps personally experienced—what can happen to a house under the onslaught of a powerful storm, hurricane, tornado, or tsunami. Jesus was not teaching that the weather will be unpleasant or chilly and we might need an umbrella or coat to protect ourselves. Rather, He was speaking of the inevitable trials that we all experience (see John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12).
The words “beat on that house” in Matthew 7:25 are analogous to the struggles that wear on us. Financially speaking, this could be a job loss, bills that pile up, stock market crash, or car accident. Not only are many of these storms financial, statistics show financial storms are the most common we face. Since the American Psychological Association began their survey in 2007, “Stress in America: Paying with Our Health,” each year they found that money is people’s most common cause of stress. A survey conducted by Northwestern Mutual had similar findings: Money is the primary source of stress for 44 percent of people, followed by 25 percent who said personal relationships, and 18 percent who cited work. In the same way that physical storms have the potential to knock down a house, financial storms have the potential to make us feel as though we are going to collapse. How many people have said, “I can’t pay this anymore…I don’t know how we are going to make ends meet…I will lose my mind if we get one more bill”?
Did Jesus Teach Obeying Him Prevents Trials?
Let’s note what Jesus was not teaching in this parable: Obeying Him keeps us from experiencing storms. Sometimes we think that if we are “good Christians,” then God will prevent trials, including financial ones, from coming our way. This is prosperity theology, also known as health-and-wealth doctrine, and it is false. Note that Jesus said the storms were beating on a house that was built on the strong foundation of His teaching.
If obeying Jesus’s teaching does not enable us to avoid the financial storms of life, then what is the benefit of obedience? Jesus promised that obedience enables us to survive the storms: “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25). Obeying Jesus’s teachings will not help us avoid financial storms, but it will help us survive them.
Perhaps you have witnessed people experiencing a financial difficulty and thought, How can they handle that? I don’t know what I would do if that were me! The great encouragement is that if you are obeying Jesus’s teachings, you can be assured that you, too, will be able to withstand.
The Importance of Obedience
If we are not building on Christ—which is to say we are not obeying the commands in Scripture—then we should not have much confidence that we will survive the financial storms of life. Jesus made this clear when He said, “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27). Jesus’s words are strong, but was He being harsh? Just the opposite! He was being loving. He wanted to convince us to build our lives on the Word of God.
The Sermon on the Mount is filled with incredible teaching for every believer, but those who familiarize themselves with its teachings without obeying are no better off than those with no familiarity with the teaching. Your Finances God’s Way is a book filled with the Bible’s counsel on money, but if you do not obey what Scripture says, you will be no better off than those who never read the book in the first place. Christ is the strong foundation we need in our lives so that we can manage our finances well, but that requires us to do, and not merely read.
Response Determines Outcome
The accounts of the wise and the foolish builders are almost identical:
- They both seem to be talented builders.
- There was nothing to indicate any difference in their houses; they both achieved the goal of building strong, sturdy houses.
- They faced the same storms; verses 25 and 27 say that “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house.”
This is why the two widely differing results are so shocking: “it did not fall” versus “it fell. And great was its fall.” The builders had nearly identical circumstances, but completely different outcomes. The only noteworthy difference was the foundation under each house.
Similarly, it is not the size of our paychecks or the amounts in our checking, savings, and retirement accounts that is of greatest importance. Instead, it is the foundation we are building on.
Wisdom and Foolishness Revealed
In Your Finances God’s Way I wrote:
More wisdom is required with finances than most parts of the Christian life…Solomon was the richest man ever to live. First Kings 10:21 says, “All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold…Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.” He had such an obsession with money that he accumulated enough gold to cause silver to become worthless. Yet he still recognized wisdom’s greater value: “How much better to get wisdom than gold!” (Proverbs 16:16)…
This book is primarily about money, but it’s important to keep wisdom’s greater value in mind because “a foolish man devours [precious treasure]” (Proverbs 21:20). This verse is often loosely quoted as, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Unwise people waste money and spend it so carelessly that they soon find themselves penniless. To put it simply: Those who lack wisdom will lack money no matter how much they make. No amount of money is enough for foolish people who don’t know how to manage it well because they will soon be separated from it…
The wisdom we need is found in God’s Word. Second Timothy 3:17 says Scripture allows us to “be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” and this includes the managing our finances. The following chapters will provide an abundance of guidance from Bible verses because if we are going to do things God’s way, we need to know (and obey) what God’s Word says!
Because wisdom is so important, let’s ensure we understand it. We typically associate wisdom with knowledge: People are wise when they have some measure of knowledge. Conversely, we associate foolishness with a lack of knowledge. But knowledge doesn’t make people wise any more than a lack knowledge makes people foolish. The lack of knowledge simply means people are ignorant. Thus, when the apostle Paul wrote to people who were ignorant, he gave them knowledge versus condemning them.1
If foolishness isn’t the lack of knowledge, then what is it? A good definition of foolish is “failing to apply knowledge.” A good definition of wise is “applying knowledge.” Consider the builders in the parable. They both heard the same teachings of Jesus, which means they had the same knowledge. The wise builder was wise because he applied what he heard, and the foolish builder was foolish because he did not.
I would like to again commend you because in purchasing this workbook, you’ve taken a big step toward applying the knowledge you’ve learned (or will learn) in Your Finances God’s Way. But keep in mind your wisdom or foolishness is not shown by how much knowledge you gain from the book. Rather, it is shown by whether you apply that knowledge. Here’s the simple yet crucial truth: Managing our finances God’s way means having Christ’s teaching as the foundation.
This Finance Workbook Offers the Benefit of Writing on Learning
What better way to apply what you have read than to answer the questions in the following chapters? I am confident your investment will pay great dividends, for two reasons. First, the instruction in Your Finances God’s Way is drawn from the Bible. Haggai 2:8 says, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.” As the owner of all wealth, God knows what we must do to manage money well.
The second reason I’m confident your investment in the workbook will pay dividends is less spiritual and more practical. Before becoming a pastor, I was an elementary schoolteacher. That’s when I learned how people learn. When I started preaching—telling people to open their Bibles versus telling students to open their math books—it was another form (albeit infinitely more important) of teaching. Whether I’m delivering a sermon, speaking at a conference, or guest preaching, I do my best to provide those in attendance with handouts that have lessons and blanks to fill in.
Why do I do this? Most of us retain only a small amount of what we read. This is unfortunate because of the importance of going beyond hearing or reading to applying and obeying. As you probably know, people retain more information when they take notes versus only listen.2 But did you know their retention is even better when the notes are handwritten versus typed?3
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve written much by hand. We’ve moved away from letters to emails and many of us rely on our computers all day. But you can be encouraged in knowing the answers in this workbook will have a much better chance of staying with you because you wrote them down. Another added benefit is you will have a record you can refer to in the future. It is always exciting and humbling to see how God changes us along our journey.
Using This Christian Finance Workbook
I know you are eager to begin, and here are three guidelines that will enable you to receive the most benefit from the Your Finances God’s Way Workbook:
- There are questions for each section of the book. Read the corresponding section in the book before you look at the workbook questions.
- Instead of reading an entire chapter of the book and then answering the questions, it is best to read one section at a time, and then answer the corresponding questions.
- Do not rush the reading or hurry to answer the questions. Take your time and pray. Reflecting and meditating on what you are reading and writing will give you the most benefit and allow God to be part of the process.
Let’s begin this journey together with the Bible as our guide and the Holy Spirit as our Helper. We are on our way to experiencing the blessings of managing our finances God’s way.
I have been praying for you, will continue to, and if you have any specific requests for me, I invite you to please let me know. I would love to hear from you about how God is helping you manage your finances.
Your brother in Christ,
- For example:
—Romans 11:25 says, “I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery.” Then Paul explained the mystery to them.
—First Corinthians 12:1 says, “Concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.” Then Paul taught them about spiritual gifts.
—Second Corinthians 1:8 says, “We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia.” Then Paul explained their trouble.
—First Thessalonians 4:13 says, “I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep.” Then Paul explained what had happened to those who had fallen asleep.
- S.A. Beeson, “The effect of writing after reading on college nursing students’ factual knowledge and synthesis of knowledge,” Journal of Nursing Education, 35(6), (1996), 258-263.
- P.A. Mueller and D.M. Oppenheimer, “The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking,” Psychological Science, 25(6), (2014), 1159-1168.