A faith and finance expert reveals what the Bible really says about money and being successful
Few topics affect our lives so much as faith and money. As many misconceptions as there are about both of those topics individually, trying to understand how the two relate is almost a taboo subject for a lot of people.
That’s why I reached out to personal finance expert, Jason Cabler, to share his insight into faith and finance and what the Bible really says about money.
In this exclusive interview, Jason shows that the Bible wants Christians to be successful and that it’s ok to be wealthy. I’ve transcribed the interview below so watch the video or you can read the transcription.
The video is part of our expert interview series on the Let’s Talk Money YouTube channel. I’m bringing you the very best experts in beating debt, making more money and making your money work for you. Click through to check out the other interviews and subscribe free to the channel.
Joseph: Today's video is with a good friend of mine and a great blogger. It's the 7th in our expert series and I'm excited to get him on the channel to share his insight. Dr. Jason Cabler completed his doctorate in dental surgery in 1993 from the University of Tennessee and has been a practicing dentist ever since.
When he first started his practice he really knew nothing about personal finances. He and his wife fell into the same money conflicts that so many couples go through. Not only did learning how to manage their money help grow their savings, but it made their relationship stronger.
Jason is also a man of great faith, and he writes on some of our misconceptions about faith and money, what the Bible really says about success. It's these two themes behind his blog Celebrating Financial Freedom.
Jason, thanks for being here today and sharing your insight.
Jason: Thanks for having me, Joseph. I'm glad to be here and to be able to talk about these kind of things like we're doing person, but for the benefit of other people.
How Does Money and Faith Fit Together?
Joseph: One of the biggest questions I've always had about personal finance, and I think a lot of people are this way is, “How do money and faith fit together?” I think a lot of families it's kind of taboo to talk about money and faith in the same sentence. How do those really come together?
Jason: I think you're right. Money and faith are a very difficult subject for a lot of people because there's a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of people of faith really believe and are taught many times that money and faith are really incompatible; that you, as a Christian, as a believer in God, that you should really be poor and humble rather than wealthy and prosperous.
Thankfully, that's starting to change a bit. When you look through the Bible and you take the totality of it, you really find out that the Bible teaches many, many success principles, and you find out that God is really a God of abundance. He wants us to be prosperous and productive people, so we can have an effect on the world. You can't do that if you're in poverty.
What Does the Bible Teach Us about Money?
Joseph: Okay. So what are the some of the differences you see in the what the Bible teaches about money and some of these secular financial principles that we grew up learning?
Jason: Well the neat thing is, people see all these secular financial principles that are taught as far as how to become wealthy, how to become rich, how to do well in life, and when you really examine those things you see in books anywhere from Donald Trump to Anthony Robbins, any of those people, you discover that many of those principles are basically repackaged biblical principles.
Again, we don't get a lot of that in church and a lot of that in religious teaching. When you really delve into it, you find that these principles that you hear in the secular world are really principles that have been around for thousands of years, that originated in biblical texts and biblical principles. So really most of them are very compatible as opposed to being incompatible.
What Does the Bible Say about Building Wealth?
Joseph: What are some of those principles that overlap, that that are from traditional biblical principles?
Jason: Well, for instance that building wealth is a good thing for the individual and a good thing for society as well. People understand that having more money means you can have a bigger effect on the world. When you have less, when you're in poverty, you can't have as big an effect on the world.
Now, are there some people that misuse these principals? Absolutely! There are some people that build tons and tons of wealth and they don't do much with it. They don't have a an effect on the world that helps other people, that helps bring other people up, that helps make the world a better place.
What Does the Bible Say about Success?
Joseph: I guess it makes sense. You know, you think of examples like, Bill Gates and what he's done with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett is obviously a huge outspoken person for charitable actions.
How does faith in God help you be a more successful? I mean, can faith in God help you be more successful?
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. It's one of the things that the Bible teaches is that, when you are in right standing with God, when you are a righteous person, that doesn't mean you have to be a perfect person, but when you are in right standing with God and you follow his ways and his principles then you will be successful and that includes finances.
That is the main thing that will help to make you a happy, healthy, well-rounded person who has a greater effect on the world. It all comes down to having faith in God and having giving up control of your life to him as opposed to thinking you can do it all yourself.
Because we're flawed human beings; we're not always going to do it right. But when we have faith in God and give up as much of that control as we can to him and live a righteous life, then he will make sure that things fall our way most if the time.
Why is there a Misconception about Faith and Finance?
Joseph: Where is that disconnect though? Because I think a lot of people think good Christians, good people of faith should be humble and poor and ‘the least among us’. Where's the disconnect there and how can people kind of bridge that gap that, it's okay to be financially wealthy?
Jason: Well one way to bridge that gap is just to educate yourself. Read the Bible which a lot of people, even people of faith, don't do.
But also there are plenty of good books out there, excellent books, about building wealth and the meaning of wealth from a Christian perspective.
For instance, Truett Cathy, if you know who he is, he's the guy that started Chick-fil-A; obviously, did very well for himself, became very wealthy. He wrote a book years ago called ‘Wealth: Is It Worth It?’ which talks about his journey with wealth especially and what he was able to do with it.
He is a man of great faith actually and he’s done a lot of great things in this world. The book details his journey and his belief and goes into the Bible and really researches everything that people need to know about how righteous wealth can be built and can have a huge effect in the world.
How Can People Use their Finances to Promote their Faith?
Joseph: So what's the purpose of wealth as it relates to people of faith? How can people of faith use their money to best affect the rest of the world while still paying for those bills that that preoccupy our daily lives away from the more important things like our faith?
Jason: The purpose of wealth, when it comes down to it, it's to be shared with other people.
If you just are trying to build wealth just for the sake of building wealth and getting a bigger bank account or bigger investment account, ultimately that doesn't do anything for anybody. It doesn't make you happy, it doesn't help other people, it doesn't make the world a better place.
Wealth is meant to be shared.
So even if you don't have a lot, the Bible wants you to share some of that. Even if you're relatively poor, you're expected to share something because, it changes your heart; it makes you have more of a heart for other people. When you're a giver, God recognizes that and he will trust you with more.
That's a basic biblical principle that Christians believe but not all of them practice. And I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, the more I give, the more I get in return. And I'm not just talking about money but I'm talking about happiness.
It really changes your life in a better way and in a huge way, and changes others’ lives as well.
Joseph: Excellent. And I think that perspective is important there too. We talk about being poor, being rich or wealthy. And I think a lot of that is in the perspective.
You can be a billionaire, in the top 1%, and still feel like you need to create more wealth. So it's never like you actually get to a point where you say, “Okay, I'm wealthy. Now I can start giving back.” You you have to build that mindset of giving back really no matter where you are.
I want to thank our guest Jason Cabler for sharing his expertise in faith and finance and some of the things the Bible teaches us about money.
We really didn't talk a lot about how that kind of that money communication can really solidify a relationship and make it stronger, but that’s a big part of Jason’s blog as well and a reason why I click to it regularly. It’s helped Jason and his wife enjoy 23 years of marriage together so it’s something that every couple should read.
Is Money Really Evil?
There is no passage in the Bible that says money is evil. However, there are some passages which can be used to argue that it isn't evil. In fact, if one uses Galatians 6:7 to say “money is the root of all kinds of evil” then a few other verses need your immediate attention too. For instance, 2 Timothy 4:10 and Luke 16:13 teach us that “the love of money leads to distress”. Also Matthew 19:24 tells us that it's easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for someone rich in this life (notice, not rich in heaven) who finds his wealth more important than God to enter into the Kingdom of God. Further, Matthew 6:24, Luke 12:21 and 1 Timothy 6:10 all show that those who seek to gain riches will fall into temptation and a trap, never realizing how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The list goes on from there with many more passages.
The human mind has an innate need to categorize things. The entire story of the Bible is a struggle between God and man about how to categorize things. While God wants us to accept him as our way, truth and life, we like to think for ourselves. In order to do this, it's natural for us to put everything into categories and then attempt decide which category any given thing belongs in.
One very important question that comes up over and over again in Scripture concerns money. Can Christians have money? Should they look at it with disgust or contentment? Is it OK for them to desire more than just food and clothing…and maybe more than that even? No passage in the Bible addresses all these questions directly, but some passages are helpful in forming a biblical understanding of money.
I want to thank Jason for his insight into faith and finance, what the Bible says about money and success. Don’t forget to click through and check out some of those other expert interviews and subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Read the Entire Money and Success Series