I like to talk. A LOT.
My husband tells people that I could talk to a wall. If he leaves me alone in a store, he will most likely return to find me talking to the person in front of me in line, the clerk or the random person who just so happened to smile at me.
But talking is more than just talking. Talking is a way for us to connect, form bonds with each other, share stories, deepen friendships and learn from or be influenced by others’ successes and failures.
It’s also a wonderful way to get advice on everyday decisions.
But how do we determine if the advice we receive is from someone we should trust? Are they really worth listening to, or are they just talking?
In Matthew 7:16-18, Jesus instructs His followers, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” So, we are to look for the evidence, the “fruit” of their actions.
For example, my son, who is getting ready to start the college application process, has been getting advice from friends who have been accepted to the schools he is interested in on how he can increase his chances of getting in next year. We trust their guidance because of their “fruit”–already getting accepted.
When it comes to our finances, it is much more complicated, because it’s not something that typically comes up in casual conversation. It can also be hard to discern if someone is making wise, biblical decisions regarding their money based solely on what we see.
I live in a city where it is more important to show off than to save, and I have known too many people who have fancy cars and luxury clothes, yet are living paycheck to paycheck and in a constant state of stress over their finances. In other words, their fruit is fake.
So, where can we go with financial questions, and whose counsel can we really trust?
As Christians, our first source of guidance should always be the Bible. How blessed are we that God has given us clear instructions in His Word?! The foundational perspectives on everything from debt, generosity, investing, crisis planning and more can be found in there.
But to be honest, most of us don’t know where to start or find it too overwhelming. Luckily, God doesn’t want us to do it alone! He wants us to do life together and learn from each other.
Proverbs 15:22 states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” So, it is important to humble ourselves and recognize that we need help from others who have “been there, done that.”
Compass has developed so many resources and tools to help us better align our finances with God’s plan. If you have been looking for wise financial counsel, there is no better place to start than on the Compass website at www.compass1.org.
Here you will find books you can read, Bible studies you can join or worksheets you can use to really drill down into your spending, saving, and investment habits. You will find solid counsel based on what God values, not what the world values.
When it comes to our finances, let’s make every effort to ensure that it is God’s plan we are following and that we are aligning our decisions with his Word. It is worth the effort!
Meredith is an active member of Christ Journey Church in Coral Gables, Fla., where she now works after spending several years as a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Ella and Hans. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s in history and a minor in Spanish. Meredith loves serving women in her community. She is the advisor for her sorority at the University of Miami and has faithfully led a weekly women’s Bible study since 2005. She and her husband, Hans, live in Miami, Fla.