Financial Freedom Principle #14: Saving is not hoarding

Many people do not save any money either because they feel they cannot or they have chosen to not save. A good practice is – whenever you receive an income, the first check written should be to the Lord. The second check should be to yourself (placed in safe place as savings). In Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money, the definition of saving is “to forego an expenditure today so you will have something to spend in the future.”

Some people equate saving with hoarding. Others say saving is a demonstration of the lack of faith. Still others say saving is a wise thing to do. What is the truth? Does the Bible have anything to say about saving and/or hoarding? Yes it does.

In Proverbs 21:20 we find, “There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.” The Living Bible translates this, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”

Probably the best example of saving in the Bible is when Joseph saved grain in view of the fact that God told him a famine was coming. In Genesis 41: 34-36, we have a brief account of Joseph’s words to Pharaoh. “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.” The wisdom God instilled in Joseph spared millions of people from starving to death. When the famine came, he was ready to supply the people with grain.

Hoarding, however, is keeping a large quantity of something hidden in a secret place. Joseph refusing to make the grain available to the people, during the years of famine, would have been hoarding. Hoarding is often a sickness that needs some biblical counsel.

Probably the best example of hoarding in the Bible is Luke 12:16-21 “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

There are several lessons in this parable. One is to avoid the idea of self-sufficiency. Another lesson is that about hoarding. If he had shared his abundance with others, he would not have needed those new larger barns.

The fact is, under the Lord’s leadership we can spend money any way we want to, but once we have spent it, it is gone. We would be wise to save some money for future needs. We should also seek the Lord and learn from Him when our saving becomes hoarding.