“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, and the seventh day is the Sabbath of Jehovah your God. In it you shall not do any work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Jehovah has blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.” Exodus 20:8-11
Believers are not under the law (Matt. 19:18-19) for we are Saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9), nonetheless we are commanded to not forsake the assembling of ourselves (Heb. 10:25). So rather than turn a biblical principle of financing written piece into a segment about the Sabbath day, this is simply taking a look at an approach of how much should one work in order to pay the bills.
Before proceeding, there are all sort of financial problems that people, including Believers, get themselves into. There could be an occasion where you are forced to work temporarily seven days per week. Perhaps you have made a commitment, perhaps you have a contract for a business that you can not break and things didn’t go as you planned, forcing you to work more (this has happened to me), perhaps your spouse is temporarily unable to work and you have to pick up additional hours or a second job until that source of income can come back or perhaps you need more money in the short run for some sort of necessity, there can be reasons and this is truly a heart issue between a Believer and the Lord.
What we are looking at here is from a viewpoint of those who are not considered well to do (though there are many well-to-do people who also overwork in order to maintain total control over their operation or business or simply to earn more money).
When considering how to make a budget, how to handle the finances, what is being pointed out are biblical principles that will help a Christian to be able to properly get their finances in order in a biblical fashion, raise their family, if they have one, take care of their spouse, if there is one, and fulfill the other duties that require time that God has laid out for each Believer.
For God has given us individually tasks, the married man (or woman) has additional, if they have a child or children, then there are even more responsibilities, jobs, tasks, that are necessary for proper Christian living. There are also responsibilities as being part of the Great Commission, doing those things that God might call a Believer to do, or simply fully participating and helping out where the opportunity opens and the Lord leads at Church.
Over the years my wife and I have found ourselves in situations where we did not fully follow this biblical principle and there has never been a time where it hasn’t lead to very little spiritual growth, as the amount of time spent working, the consequences of having additional monthly expenses, as well as missed opportunities for the Lord.
When someone decides to put in extra hours, whether through a self-employed situation, their regular job or a second job, there are usually extra expenses related to the lack of available time.
These expenses could include eating out more often, spending more money on quick ready-to-cook foods, using services, such as laundry, lawn, housecleaning, etc. Nowadays that could easily turn into using delivery services for food and other retail items that would have readily been purchased by the individual(s) themselves. Also, the tax liability increases, so not all of the gain is actually realized.
In other cases, more miles on the vehicles means more gas, wear and tear, as well as maintenance. I certainly know a thing or two about that and with the pricing in 2023 for a vehicle, the maintenance and even the gas, would not want to do what I have done prior.
Things around the home can also fall behind, small maintenance projects that don’t get done, that could lead to further expenses down the road for failure to do that what should have been done. For instance, not getting around to changing the oil on a lawn mower at the end of the season or when needed could easily equate to needing to spend some of that hard earned money on repurchasing another mower in the future, much sooner than what should have been needed.
Though the bigger problem for the Christian would not be the increased expenses of their day-to-day living, but rather the time for spiritual growth, by themselves, as well as their family.
“Do not overwork to be rich; cease from your own understanding. Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle into the heavens.” Proverbs 23:4-5
“For the love of money is a root of all evils, for which some being greedy, have strayed from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1st Timothy 6:10
Sometimes this situation might not even be the Believer’s fault. Rather a job, a career, perhaps turns out to not be the best choice for a Christian.
Years ago I had taken a promotion as a general manager for a McDonald’s. The salary was not that great and my wife did not have a regular job. We also ran a small commercial cleaning service to supplement our income. Prior I would work 40 hours per week, with very little overtime available, and then we would work around 20 hours a week or so in the cleaning business.
The schedule was worked out so that there was still a day off per week and we only had one young son, age 2. Once I became a general manager, suddenly my work hours went to 65 hours per week, still with the added 20 or so hours with the business. Now I was working longer shifts, therefore often finding myself working 7 days per week as well. These things can happen and restaurant management is not the only career that can have a large amount of hours…so beware!
There is not an answer for every situation that an individual or a family might find themselves in, but purposely overworking to the point that the commitments that each Believer or Christian family no longer have time for, those edicts by our Creator not being followed, due to failing to follow or understand God’s Word is certainly outside of the will of God regarding finances and monthly budgets.
If a Believer finds themselves in this situation they ought to seek God and find a solution for solving the problem, for He is more than gracious to give wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5) and His mercies are great (Psalms 36:5).
The Bible clearly states that we are to be content with our wages (Luke 3:14) and we need to also be able to live within our means, a subject for a different biblical principle to be discussed. This does not necessarily means that we, in a free society, can not further our education or training for a different career, or simply take a different job, take the situation to the Lord in prayer.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1st Timothy 6:17-19
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19