Merging money and faith

Published 6:48 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

Apparently, merging money and faith can pay huge dividends — both in the bank account and in the soul.

Two weeks ago, I did a story about the Metropolitan Baptist Church Credit Union, which began in 1948 when the church leadership noticed many of the church’s members were having financial trouble. Credit union manager Ronald Hart told me that, like all credit unions, the institution places emphasis on character — that of both its members and its employees.

Since it began, three more churches have joined Metropolitan’s financial institution, which has grown to include more than $7 million in assets. Hart said the bank indirectly helps teach Biblical financial principles to its members and is able to help people who have been turned down by other financial institutions.

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“It makes you feel good when you can see the work you’ve been able to accomplish,” Hart told me.

The credit union’s support of church members is important, because financial health is important to spiritual and physical health. Though the Bible isn’t meant to be a book about money, God consistently teaches financial principles in its pages.

Besides teaching us that He is the source of all things, and that we can honor Him by giving to His work, God teaches us to save money, keep out of debt, be content with what we have, not to cosign for loans and to work hard.

Proverbs 22:3 tells us, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Saving is a prudent financial principle, and it’s easy to understand why. If we do not save for a rainy day, we will be punished.

Later in that same chapter, God cautions against debt. He tells us in verse 7 that “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Anybody who has ever had a car repossessed or house foreclosed on, or answered incessant collection calls knows the meaning of this verse.

Perhaps the best financial principle the Bible teaches is to be content with the things you have, rather than always desiring more. Hebrews 13:5 tells us to “Be content with such things as ye have.” In other words, don’t run out and buy a flashy new car, just because yours is a few years old. If your car is paid for, the peace in your heart that comes with not having a car payment can never be overcome by the false joy a new car brings.

As someone who has recently discovered the real joy that comes with being debt-free, I say hats off to the Metropolitan Baptist credit union for helping local Christians understand the importance of these principles.