Over the years, FaithFi contributor Howard Dayton has been asked just about every financial question possible. Here he tackles some of the toughest. You can read more on these and many others in his book, Your Money Counts.
Howard: That's the same question the pharisee’s spies asked Jesus in Luke 22: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Jesus answered, Show Me a denarius (which was a Roman coin). Whose head and inscription does it have? And they said, 'Caesar's.' And He said to them, Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.'
A lot of folks rationalize not paying taxes because the government squanders much of the money it receives. Now, I’m not condoning government waste. In fact, I believe a citizen should try to influence government to be more efficient and responsive. However, the Bible clearly tells us of an additional responsibility: pay the taxes you legally owe.
Howard: Scripture tells us that financial success is simply being a faithful steward. That’s different from the world, where success is measured by how much wealth one acquires.
As Christians, we shouldn’t assume someone is successful just by outward appearances. If we had seen Joseph or Paul in prison, Daniel in the lions' den, or Job in his affliction, how many of us would have considered them successful?
According to Scripture, the desired end for us is to become faithful stewards. After we have fulfilled that responsibility, it’s up to God to decide whether or not to entrust us with wealth, or not, according to His purposes.
Howard: Scripture certainly doesn’t condemn ambition. Paul was ambitious. In Corinthians 5 he says, We have as our ambition ... to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds.
However, the Bible strongly condemns selfish ambition*.* Paul also says in Romans 2 that the Lord ... will render to every man according to his deeds ... to those who are selfishly ambitious, wrath and indignation.
Our ambition shouldn’t be motivated by egotistical desire. It should be to please Christ. We should have a burning desire to become increasingly faithful stewards in using the possessions and skills entrusted to us.
Howard: There’s some interesting data on that. The number of women with children working outside the home peaked at 29 million in 2000 and remained there for nearly two decades. But since COVID, that number has dropped by 2 million. A lot of moms left the workforce to care for kids because schools were closed, and the experts tell us they’re not returning to the workforce.
In my opinion, during children's early formative years it is preferable for a mother to be home whenever the children are home. Titus 2:4-5 reads, Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home.
I think it’s ideal for a mother of young children to limit working outside the home to those times when the children are not at home, unless family finances depend upon her income. As children mature, the wife will have increased freedom to pursue work outside the home.
Howard: God’s people have asked that for centuries. Even the prophet Jeremiah asked it in Jeremiah 12, Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?"
The Bible tells us that some of the wicked will prosper, but it also says not to worry about it. In Psalm 37 we find, Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong, for like the grass they will soon wither.
You can also listen to related podcast on this topic.