If you worry about money issues, you have a lot of company – according to a Marist Institute Poll published in USA Today, 65% of Americans “always” or “sometimes” worry about their money.
But, according to the Bible, should you be worrying about money? And does the Bible give practical tips for overcoming worry? Worry has many affects on your health and situation, so how do you get rid of it? In this post, I won’t claim to give the totality of Biblical counsel on this topic, but I do promise that the following passages will help.
What Jesus Said About Worry
Jesus has plenty to say about worrying, so I will share some of his thoughts, followed by my comments.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? – Matthew 6:25 (NIV)
You have life, so don’t waste your mental energy on peripheral issues such as food and clothing.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Worry accomplishes absolutely nothing, so don’t do it.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
Instead of wasting your time with worry, do something practical and effective: Seek the Kingdom of God and righteous living. When you get your priorities straight, God promises to give you everything you need.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
We are prone to wearing ourselves out worrying about stuff that hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. Reality is that the things we dread and fear are seldom as bad as we imagine they will be.
Bottom line: If you deal with problems as they come along without allowing your imagination to run rampant on what may happen, you will always have the ability to cope.
Joe, I understand that Jesus teaches us not to worry, but when the bill collectors are calling and my husband gets his hours cut, I find myself sinking into worry mode before I realize it. Any tips for me?
Sure. The Bible is very practical, so let’s dig a bit more.
Substitute Prayer for Worry
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
You can’t simply drop a bad habit; you need to replace it with a good habit. Therefore, pray instead of worrying. While you are at it, tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.
Devise a Plan
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. – Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)
Have a financial plan, starting with a budget. A good budget will not solve your problems by itself, but it will give you a clear synopsis of your financial condition. If you had been suffering abdominal pains for a month, wouldn’t you prefer a medical diagnosis instead of stewing about the unknown? Me too. A budget is your financial diagnosis; once you know where you stand, even if it is not good, you can create a plan to deal with it instead of wasting your time and energy worrying about it.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24 (NIV)
Married couples are inextricably connected – one flesh, meaning that every facet of the marriage – including money management – is to be handled jointly. Instead of blame games, name calling and secrets, a healthy marriage means clear and open communication. Whatever your financial problems, attacking them as a team will eliminate worry.
Consider Your Worst Case Scenario
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)
Whatever your financial problems, look them in they eye and take the time to consider your worst case scenario. Could it be foreclosure? Perhaps even bankruptcy? Take a deep breath, put your circumstances in the perspective of Heaven, and realize that you have a helper in the Lord. Nothing anyone can do to you will ever change that, and worrying, of course, will never help.
Keep Life in Perspective
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? – Mark 8:36 (NIV)
The almighty dollar may try to dominate your thoughts, emotions, and your life, but if you back away and look at the big picture, your fiscal net worth adds up to zip when compared to the value of your soul. Therefore, worrying about anything temporal is an exercise in futility.
What does the Bible say about worry? There is no reason for worry, but, in case you find yourself doing so, take time to reexamine your priorities . . . a perfect segue to our closing Bible quote about money:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. – Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)
If your treasures are in Heaven, you have nothing to worry about.
Do you worry about money issues? How often? When worry comes your way, what helps? Leave a comment!