There’s a lot of misconception and myths when it comes to finances. You may have heard the way some leaders view finances. You have likely been taught by your parents how to view money as well. But how does the greatest leader of all time view monetary value? What does God teach us about finances?
Here’s 7 truths the Lord teaches us about finances
1- He is the Provider
Sometimes we think “It’s all my mine,” but in reality none of it’s yours. None of the money is yours and you don’t actually own anything. Everything we have, are, and will become is the Lord’s.
The Lord has declared, “It is my purpose to provide for my saints” (D&C 104:15). I’ve often read in the family proclamation that “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” I thought that meant it was completely up to me to provide for my family. But I’m not the provider. At least, not by myself I’m not. The Lord Provides for my family.
He will provide temporal blessings and open the door of self-reliance.
Being self-reliant does not mean that we can do or obtain anything we set our mind to. Rather, it is believing that through the grace, or enabling power, of Jesus Christ and our own effort, we can obtain all the spiritual and temporal necessities of life that we require for ourselves and our families. Self-reliance is evidence of our trust or faith in God’s power to move mountains in our lives and to give us strength to triumph over trials and affliction
Self Reliance doesn’t mean doing things alone in the strength of your own flesh. Christ says, “I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound” (D&C 88:50). Christ is the life and the light of every person (John 1:4, 9). King Benjamin teaches similarly that God preserves us from day to day, lending us breath, that we may live and move—even supporting us from one moment to another (see Mosiah 2:21), and that all we have and are come from him (see Mosiah 4:21).
Through Christ, I can provide. In His strength and in His wisdom, our temporal needs can be met. It’s when I cut Him off, when I become prideful in the strength of the flesh, I lose the access to the revelatory powers of inspiration for providing. But If I can learn to trust Him, lean on Him, and act in Him, then shall He be able to provide for all our needs.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.( Philippians 4:13)
While I served my mission in Brazil, one area in particular was difficult financially. It was the largest latin american neighborhood, home to over 150,000 people and one ward. We often needed to take a couple of buses a day to make our commitments. We did our best to strategize where we would travel to limit the amount of buses. But it was expensive to travel and our funds quickly began to run out.
I remember the feeling of stress, trying to hold on to my allowance. We began walking a lot more and eating less as I tried to hold on to our funds. We ended up exhausted and hungry.
Finally the funds were completely out and we were still a couple weeks away before we would receive more. This is the first time I remember feeling relief. I thought, “Well, with no money left, we have no choice but to exercise faith in the Lord to take care of us.”
When we had money, I was stressed and hungry. But once the money was completely gone, we ate like kings! Suddenly miracles began to happen and food kept appearing before us. Not just food, but also the rides for needed travel. A $50 bill would appear out of nowhere in a pocket, a new friend made that provided a meal, coconuts that fell into our lap from the sky, a friendly taxi driver was touched by the missionaries, etc.
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” (3 Nephi 13:31-32)
2- Abundance Mindset
JOHN 10:10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
“The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare” (D&C 104:17)
Many people believe that the world is full of scarcity. That if someone succeeds, someone else cannot. They believe that money will only be possessed by a select few. They also believe that we are overpopulated and cannot sustain the demands of food for survival as people. They declare we should limit children coming, because resources, opportunities, and necessities of life are limited.
Meanwhile, the Lord’s command to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (see Genesis 1:28; 9:1; Moses 2:28; Abraham 4:28) has never been rescinded.
“Is the world truly overpopulated? Consider the facts. The latest data indicate that the world’s population is 6.8 billion people. If every one of those 6.8 billion people were allocated one quarter of an acre (for example, under that formula a family with a father and a mother with two children would be given one acre), I repeat, if a quarter of an acre were allocated to each man, woman, and child now living on the earth today, they would all fit in the country of Brazil, with 20 percent of Brazil still left unoccupied!” (Russell M. Nelson https://www.byui.edu/devotionals/elder-russell-m-nelson-winter-2010)
Update to his facts, even with the current population now at 7.8 Billion- we still don’t fill all of Brazil.
The Lord teaches that there is enough in the earth for everyone. And that all things are His. Those with an abundant mentality believe there is plenty of everything in the world from resources, love, relationships, wealth and opportunities. They think Big rather than think small. They are optimistic and hopeful about the future. They are genuinely happy for others when they achieve success.
3- Seek Ye First
“Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (3 Nephi 13:25-33)
When my parents found out they were pregnant with their 6th child, my mother cried. Things were tight financially and she was asking “How could feed another child? How could we take care of another child?” She read these verses and she “Considered the Lillies” and pondered how the Father takes care of them. If she would seek first the kingdom of God, He would provide. Hence, my youngest sister was named Lilly.
Life changed for my family after she was born and blessings did come. In fact, it was exactly 2 years after she was born, on her birthday, my parents were able to purchase their first home.
4-Tithes and Offerings
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing. (Malachi 3:10)
Your attitude is important in paying tithing. Pay it because you love the Lord and have faith in Him. Pay it willingly with a thankful heart. Pay it first, even when you think you do not have enough money to meet your other needs. Doing so will help you develop greater faith, overcome selfishness, and be more receptive to the Spirit.
Kristiana and I were given wonderful advice from a stake president as we were preparing for marriage. He said “Want to know how much you should pay in fast offerings? Until it hurts. Once you find an amount that hurts to pay, you’ve found the right amount.” Kristiana and I have followed this council and have been so blessed for it.
My parents are again a wonderful example of paying tithing. While growing up and things were difficult for them, they paid tithing first. One evening when the cupboards were bare, all my mom found was some flour and chicken broth. She made noodles with flour and water and boiled the chicken broth. She sent us to bed with some chicken noodle soup- without any chicken. Just water, broth, and flour.
That was the last of the food and she began to cry. My father was out working through the night so she retired to bed alone. She pondered the lord’s blessing on the law of tithing and waited on him to “open the windows of heaven.” She was awakened by a bright light in her room. Talk about the windows of heaven! Then there was a forceful knock at the door. It was the police. Holding a man in custody they informed her this man had broken my parents mailbox in front of the house. It was an old mailbox and easily broke. My mom said they didn’t need to worry about it. But police insisted it was made right. The man gave my mom $300 and then they left. She prayed in gratitude to the Lord for providing for our family.
Tithing does indeed open the windows of heaven. That doesn’t mean that those are always financial windows. Often, they are windows of inspiration that help us to know how to be better stewards over our finances.
5- Revelation in Finances
Income has been tight for Krissi and I in the past as well. But like on my mission, the more I try to pinch the funds- the more stressful it becomes. At one point when Kristiana and were struggling, she said “We need to stop living like poor people. We need to be more generous and give.” When I try to control the funds, I often find the income decreases. But as I follow the spirit to serve others, the means to which to serve increases.
Consider this story- when Jesus Miraculously comes up with money to pay for something. Jesus and His followers were again in Capernaum. There Peter was approached by a collector of the temple tax, who asked: “Doth not your Master pay tribute?” Peter answered “Yes.” It is interesting to find that the inquiry was made of Peter and not directly of Jesus; this circumstance may be indicative of the respect in which the Lord was held by the people at large, and may suggest the possibility of doubt in the collector’s mind as to whether Jesus was amenable to the tax, since priests and rabbis generally claimed exemption.
The annual capitation tax had been required of every male adult in Israel since the days of the exodus. This tribute, as prescribed through Moses, was originally known as “atonement money,” and its payment was in the nature of a sacrifice to accompany supplication for ransom from the effects of individual sin. At the time of Christ the annual contribution was usually collected between early March and the Passover. If Jesus was subject to this tax, He was at this time several weeks in arrears.
The conversation between Peter and the tax-collector had occurred outside the house. When Peter entered, and was about to inform the Master concerning the interview, Jesus forestalled him, saying: “What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.”
Peter must have seen the inconsistency of expecting Jesus, the acknowledged Messiah, to pay atonement money, or a tax for temple maintenance, inasmuch as the temple was the House of God, and Jesus was the Son of God, and particularly since even earthly princes were exempted from capitation dues. Peter’s embarrassment over his inconsiderate boldness, in pledging payment for his Master without first consulting Him, was relieved however by Jesus, who said: “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”
The money was to be paid, not because it could be rightfully demanded of Jesus, but lest non-payment give offense and furnish to His opponents further excuse for complaint. The “piece of money,” which Jesus said Peter would find in the mouth of the first fish that took his bait, is more correctly designated by the literal translation “stater,”o indicating a silver coin equivalent to a shekel, or two didrachms, and therefore the exact amount of the tax for two persons. “That take, and give unto them for me and thee” said Jesus.
The knowledge that there was in the lake a fish having a coin in its gullet, that the coin was of the denomination specified, and that that particular fish would rise, and be the first to rise to Peter’s hook, is as incomprehensible to man’s finite understanding as are the means by which any of Christ’s miracles were wrought. Christ knows the fish. He knows you. He knows your financial needs. He can provide the revelation you need.
Jesus knows where the money you need is. He is your God. He owns it all and can provide it all so you may live “the abudant life.” I invite you to seek Him first. Put Him first. Do whatever He invites you to do, both financially and otherwise, and He will take care of you if you are not of little faith.