Did you know that financial matters are
mentioned in the Bible more often than prayer, healing, or mercy? Fifteen
percent of everything Jesus taught was on the topic of money and
possessions—more than his teachings on heaven and hell combined.

Why would the Bible give so much attention to
money when Matthew 6:33 assures us that we don’t need to focus on worldly
matters such as our bank balance? It says that so long as we seek the kingdom
of God, we have nothing to worry about. Yet the sad truth is that most people
are only one paycheck away from a financial disaster, and too many of us are
consumed by money worries. If you sometimes catch yourself spending more time
stressing about money than growing your relationship with God, you are not
alone. Though the Bible tells us to place our trust in our eternal security,
all too often our attention is focused on concerns about our temporary
security.

 

A little about me: After I graduated high
school, I decided to join the Army. When I completed basic training, it was the
first time I saw real money. I took home about $700 every two weeks. The ironic
part is that while my clothes, housing, and food were paid for by the military,
I would always find myself with no money in the bank. I thought that buying a
bunch of stuff would make up for all the things I had to go without when I was
a child. After about a year in the Army, I got my first credit card. I don’t
think the ink was even dry on the back of the card when I already had it maxed
out.

 

I was promoted to Private First Class. A
higher rank meant a higher salary, and that higher salary afforded me the
opportunity to get another credit card. Soon after, I had that credit card
maxed out. You might be thinking to yourself that I would eventually catch on,
but the cycle continued to repeat. I would get promoted, make more money, get
another credit card, and max it out. As long as I could make the minimum
payments, I thought I had a handle on my credit card debt. I told myself that
the next time I got promoted I would have enough money to pay off my credit
cards. I’m sorry to say that when I left the Army after twelve years,
financially all I had to show for it was $32,000 of credit card debt.

 

Now comes the best part! God opened a door
for me in finance. I hadn’t planned on a finance career, but one of the
contacts I had made in the Army saw a talent in me that I hadn’t yet
discovered. Through that contact, I became an investment representative for a
national broker-dealer in El Paso, Texas. There I was, fresh out of the Army,
$32,000 in credit card debt, with nothing in savings or put away for
retirement, and my job was to help other people with their finances. Using
Biblical principles I was able to completely eradicate all of the debt. Later
on, I authored
a book
to help others overcome financial debt:

 

Week 1 is one of the most important
parts of the book because it lays the biblical foundations of personal finance.
You will learn what God says about money and how much you should give of your
time and of your financial resources.

 

Week 2 is all about spending. It is
very important to take control of your spending because your spending affects
your savings, credit, and retirement needs.

 

Week 3 is where you will learn how to
put together a plan for reducing and eventually getting out of debt. It also
provides advice on smart ways to improve your credit score.

Week 4 covers short-term savings and
the basics of investing, including how to determine your savings and investment
goals, and the different types of investment risks.

 

Week 5 looks at the important financial
documents you should have in place—such as wills and powers of attorney—and
touches on life insurance.

 

Week 6 is your chance to review
everything you have learned. You will conduct an assessment to see what you
have been doing well and which areas you need to continue working on.

 

Some of the chapters might be more
challenging than others, just as in life some things are harder than others.
The key is that you can’t grow unless you challenge yourself.  For some of you, what you are about to read
may not be new—but it will serve as a great refresher.  I ask you to spend some time, be willing to
make some sacrifices, and constantly pray for strength and guidance from God
because I believe your finances, your relationships, your life, and whatever
else is important to you will be everything you ever dreamed of if you do it
God’s way.

 

Steve Repak, Certified Financial Planner™, Financial Literacy
Speaker, Army Veteran, and the Author of 6 Week Money Challenge: For Your
Personal Finances.

 

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