最大的理財錯誤

By Austin Pryor

我有時會問顧客以下的問題,用來行銷我的公司(SMI 健全心理投資顧問公司):「在投資時,最多基督徒犯的第一大錯誤是甚麼?」回答就是:「在管理他們的財務時,他們忽略了聖經原則轉而跟從其他人的建議。」

你相信當把聖經中神告訴我們的原則當作指導原則時,在管理財務上,你會更有智慧和誠信,也能同時榮耀神嗎?我相信,因為在我的生活當中,我就是這麼實行的。從70年代初期到80年代中期,基本上在管理財務和投資上,我都依靠自己的才能和判斷。我的確成功很多次,但我失敗更多次。

在80年代後期,我面對將郎才盡的窘境,所以我向我朋友 Larry Burkett 求助。當時他在福音界中已經是使用聖經原則來理財的領導人物了。依照聖經原則理財,打下了日後我成功經營的基礎,有了成功的經驗之後,也漸漸讓我有成立SMI推廣用聖經原則理財的想法。

為了榮耀神以及達成神給我們的目標,我們都要設定自己的財務優先次序, 在財務上、工作以及家庭中扮演好我們的角色。我發現最優先也是最需要知道的是聖經-神的話。如同提摩太後書3章16所說的「聖經都是上帝所默示的( – 或譯:凡上帝所默示的聖經),於教訓、督責、使人歸正、教導人學義都是有益的」。我們首先應該注重的是神的智慧而非一般世俗的教導。在判斷方面,以下是一些應用的原則:

擔起自己的責任。 我們必須要擔起自己的責任,讓自己成為一個有智慧的人,堅持聖經所教導的理財原則。我們不能期待別人為我們做困難的選擇。「所求於管家的,是要他有忠心。」 (哥林多前書4章2節)

我們的財務是自由。 欠債會挾制我們,應當盡可能避免負債。「富戶管轄窮人;欠債的是債主的僕人。」 (箴言 22章7節)

保持平衡 。要平衡目前的支出和長程的儲蓄需要神的智慧。「智慧人家中 積蓄寶物膏油; 愚昧人隨得來隨吞下。」 (箴言21章20節)

如何做決定 。我們應該持續小心計劃,而不是匆促做決定。「殷勤籌劃的,足致豐裕;行事急躁的,都必缺乏。」 (箴言 21章5節)

我們的動機 。避免貪心或浪費許多精力一直想去攫取最大的報酬。「不要勞碌求富,休仗自己的聰明。」 (箴言23章4節)

當我們用聖經原則更新自己的心思意念時,就能把他們應用在日常生活上,以及每天要做的許多決定上。如果我們能持續地使用聖經原則,就能在支出、儲蓄和投資上做出有智慧的選擇。

Austin Pryor具有超過三十年理財顧問的經驗。他也是「健全心理投資」的創辦者。他住在美國肯塔基州的路易斯威爾市。他的網址是www.soundmindinvesting.com

省思/討論題目
你同意聖經原則能夠有智慧地引導我們的財務計畫和管理嗎?我們有可能會遇到甚麼樣的挑戰?分享自己的看法。 以往傳統的理財知識和聖經的理財原則,在支出、貸款和投資方面有甚麼地方是牴觸的嗎? 作者提到依靠自己的才能和判斷做決定的時候,他的確成功了很多次,但其實更常失敗。這也是你的經歷嗎?如果是的話,請分享你的經驗。 關於理財和財務管理,聖經中提到許多原則,哪一項對你來說最重要?請分享你的看法。如果你想看看聖經當中與這個主題相關的經文,請參閱:箴言13章11節,22章26-27節;傳道書 11章2節;馬太福音 6章2-4節、19-24、28-34; 提摩太前書 6章6節

THE NUMBER ONE FINANCIAL MISTAKE
By Austin Pryor

An approach we occasionally use in marketing my organization, Sound Mind Investing (SMI), is to ask, “What is the No. 1 financial mistake many Christians make?” Our answer: They ignore biblical principles when managing their money and follow advice from other sources instead.

Do you believe that when you use God”s protective biblical principles as a guide, you will manage your money more wisely and prudently – and glorify God at the same time? I do, because I have lived it. From the early 1970s through the mid-“80s, I relied primarily on my innate skills and intellect for making financial and investing decisions. My successes were many, but my failures were more.

In the late 1980s, I faced up to my limitations and turned to the teachings of my friend, Larry Burkett, who had become a leading voice in the evangelical community on the importance of followers of Jesus applying biblical principles for managing their finances. Aligning with God”s ways laid a foundation for future financial success I experienced and continues to shape the work we do at SMI.

We all must learn to set financial priorities that honor God and point toward the attainment of God-given goals. For managing our finances, conducting ourselves at work, or being the people we should be in our homes, I have discovered the things worth knowing are, first and foremost, rooted in God”s Word, the Bible. As it states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We should look primarily to God”s wisdom, not the conventional wisdom, for practical principles to guide our decision-making. Here are some examples:

Our responsibility. We must each accept personal responsibility for making knowledgeable, biblically consistent financial decisions. We cannot expect others to make the tough choices for us. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Our financial freedom. Debt can be enslaving, so we should avoid it as much as possible. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).

Our balance. Maintaining a proper balance between current spending and long-term saving requires wisdom. “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Proverbs 21:20).

Our decision-making. We should consistently invest using a carefully considered strategy rather than by making impulsive choices. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).

Our motives. We must guard against greed, wasting energy in futile attempts to get the highest possible returns. “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint” (Proverbs 23:4).

As we “renew our minds” with these guiding principles, we can apply them to our day-to-day financial decisions we each face. If we follow them consistently, we can be confident we are making wise choices for spending, saving, and investing.

Austin Pryor has 36 years of experience advising investors, and is the founder of the Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website. He is the author of The Sound Mind Investing Handbook. Austin lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with Susie, his wife of 50 years.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you agree with the assertion that wise financial planning and money management should be guided by biblical principles? Why or why not? What might be some challenges in following this philosophy? In what ways, if any, have you seen biblical principles for managing finances in conflict with so-called “conventional wisdom” about how to spend, borrow and invest? Mr. Pryor states that in using only his innate skills and intellect to make financial decisions, he experienced considerable success but more often, he encountered failure. Has this been your experience as well? If so, what examples could you share with others? Hundreds of Bible passages deal with money and financial management, but which of those cited in this “Monday Manna” seem most significant for you?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions from the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 13:11, 22:26-27; Ecclesiastes 11:2, Matthew 6:2-4, 19-24,28-34; 1 Timothy 6:6

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