If you worry about money issues, you have a lot of company – according to a Marist Institute Poll published in USA Today, 65% of Americans “always” or “sometimes” worry about their money.
But, according to the Bible, should you be worrying about money? And does the Bible give practical tips for overcoming worry? Worry has many affects on your health and situation, so how do you get rid of it? In this post, I won’t claim to give the totality of Biblical counsel on this topic, but I do promise that the following passages will help.
What Jesus Said About Worry
Jesus has plenty to say about worrying, so I will share some of his thoughts, followed by my comments.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? – Matthew 6:25 (NIV)
You have life, so don’t waste your mental energy on peripheral issues such as food and clothing.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Worry accomplishes absolutely nothing, so don’t do it.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
Instead of wasting your time with worry, do something practical and effective: Seek the Kingdom of God and righteous living. When you get your priorities straight, God promises to give you everything you need.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
We are prone to wearing ourselves out worrying about stuff that hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. Reality is that the things we dread and fear are seldom as bad as we imagine they will be.
Bottom line: If you deal with problems as they come along without allowing your imagination to run rampant on what may happen, you will always have the ability to cope.
Joe, I understand that Jesus teaches us not to worry, but when the bill collectors are calling and my husband gets his hours cut, I find myself sinking into worry mode before I realize it. Any tips for me?
Sure. The Bible is very practical, so let’s dig a bit more.
Substitute Prayer for Worry
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
You can’t simply drop a bad habit; you need to replace it with a good habit. Therefore, pray instead of worrying. While you are at it, tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.
Devise a Plan
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. – Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)
Have a financial plan, starting with a budget. A good budget will not solve your problems by itself, but it will give you a clear synopsis of your financial condition. If you had been suffering abdominal pains for a month, wouldn’t you prefer a medical diagnosis instead of stewing about the unknown? Me too. A budget is your financial diagnosis; once you know where you stand, even if it is not good, you can create a plan to deal with it instead of wasting your time and energy worrying about it.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24 (NIV)
Married couples are inextricably connected – one flesh, meaning that every facet of the marriage – including money management – is to be handled jointly. Instead of blame games, name calling and secrets, a healthy marriage means clear and open communication. Whatever your financial problems, attacking them as a team will eliminate worry.
Consider Your Worst Case Scenario
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)
Whatever your financial problems, look them in they eye and take the time to consider your worst case scenario. Could it be foreclosure? Perhaps even bankruptcy? Take a deep breath, put your circumstances in the perspective of Heaven, and realize that you have a helper in the Lord. Nothing anyone can do to you will ever change that, and worrying, of course, will never help.
Keep Life in Perspective
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? – Mark 8:36 (NIV)
The almighty dollar may try to dominate your thoughts, emotions, and your life, but if you back away and look at the big picture, your fiscal net worth adds up to zip when compared to the value of your soul. Therefore, worrying about anything temporal is an exercise in futility.
What does the Bible say about worry? There is no reason for worry, but, in case you find yourself doing so, take time to reexamine your priorities . . . a perfect segue to our closing Bible quote about money:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. – Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)
If your treasures are in Heaven, you have nothing to worry about.
Do you worry about money issues? How often? When worry comes your way, what helps? Leave a comment!
You can find even more Biblical perspectives on money in my article: 5 Bible verses about money!
Josh @ Live Well Simply says
I needed this today. Sometimes in all my budgeting and ‘being a good steward’ I can worry needlessly about financial details that really are in God’s hands. Prayer and faith in God’s provision is a good substitute to worry. 🙂
Joe Plemon says
Josh — How true. One wonders what God must think about His children when He sees us worrying about things He has under control. Hmmm.
I don’t think it ever makes sense to worry, period. Where does worrying get you?
Joe Plemon says
Mario Cisneros says
Thank you, God Bless!
Joe Plemon says
You’re welcome Mario, and may God also bless you.
hi …that verse puzzles me it says do not worry about what you eat god feeds the birds and we are more important than birds yet i think about the starving children in africa and places….help me make sense of that..thanks
God’s word is full of promises to us. My family and I spent many years in full time ministry
in an inner city in the midwest. God provided for us in every way possible and then some.
Last year my husband went through chemo for a year and the Lord was so faithful and continues
to be to this very day. We are grateful for everything and thankful at all times. God loves us!
Joe Plemon says
Thanks Cindy, for sharing how God has blessed you and provided for you during some very tough times. Your story says more than my article, and I am sure that you have inspired many with your comment.
Annette R. Smith says
Hello, Joe. Your post arrived in my inbox with perfect timing. These practical tips and reminders are just what I need this afternoon! Thank you for an encouraging post. Have a great weekend!
Joe Plemon says
Annette — Isn’t it amazing how God’s timing is always perfect? Thanks for sharing!
My husband and I were seeing a counselor. He asked us what was the worst thing that could happen in our situation. We both agreed that the worst thing would be for my husband to lose his job. (I realize there are far worse things, but that was our response.) He replied, “OK, so you lose your job. Would your friends let you starve?” We knew they wouldn’t. It was a good reminder that God would supply our needs in some way.
Joe Plemon says
Gail — Sounds like you had a wise counselor. Sometimes it can be liberating to voice what you consider the worst thing that could happen.
Mary Kaplan says
I agree that worrying accomplishes nothing. I’m not particularly religious, so I don’t typically look at problems with God of Jesus Christ in mind. What I do think about is moving forward. Staying stuck and dwelling and worrying doesn’t help fix the problem. Moving forward or at least trying to get going does help. When your momentum picks up, things seem more positive and the problem starts to resolve.
Joe Plemon says
Mary — How true. My 7th grade teacher told us that we should never worry about anything. If we can do something about the problem, do it. If we can’t do anything about it, worrying won’t help. Sound advice!
Joe- Thanks for being the voice of the Lord today. When I apply this concept with Kari Jobe singing Steady My Heart in the background, its an experience with my Daddy telling me to just sit in His presence and let Him take care of me. How incredible to be used by God. I discovered this website a few days ago and I have found such peace in the simplicity of the articles that are incredibly applicable for our home! With Christmas around the corner, I begin to feel the gnaw that it just won’t be enough to go around, and yet isn’t the mere thought of Christmas enough? That the Lord came to this earth vulnerable and helpless as a child and then gave us the very thing we use to hold ourselves back; freedom and worry regarding a bill; when He has overcome the world! I have had an insecurity with money since childhood, I am unsure why and this site is giving me such a comfort about the future; that I am able to affect! On a side note: I have never provided my tithe as first fruit and not after thought and had Him let me down! I encourage each of you reading this to give Him His and He will surely give you yours!
Joe and friends,
Thank you so much for sharing these blessed insights. I’m going through hard times but I’m sure God is watching over me. Your tips have been great to me because they proof that there’s a way out. Please, keep posting and don´t stop to help those people around the world who deals with financial problems.
Jeffrey Woodard says
I was surfing over the web tonight as an issue confronted today that I’ve been praying about for months. It seemed like my answer to the issue is delayed. One of my character flaws is that I am impatient and a bit of a perfectionist. I went into worry-mode. I’m grateful God led me to this web-site (what does the bible say about worrying and money). The scriptures and the practical advice you gave soothed my spirit. Really, the scriptures calmed me down and helped me put things back into perspective. I will copy, print, and paste up this article in a place like on my refrigerator to remind me of God’s promise (His Word) and his care for me – should I slip back into worry-mode. Again, thank you and be blessed.
Reading this article has been a good reminder that money cannot take over out thoughts. Thanks a lot. I’m looking forward to praying more often to replace y worry with good ideas in my heart and mind.
Arcelle T says
I just found out my unemployment benefits will run out on 12/28/2014. I just knew I’d be able to extend the benefits, however; I’ve been informed that Congress has yet to approve unemployment benefit extensions. I am confident GOD will provide and reading this passage has helped me with worrying about losing my house, husband, car…everything!!!!!
I will hide these words in my heart and move forward to be a better help mate to my husband. Please pray for me, my husband and our situation…pray that my worry vanishes and believe with me that all will certainly be well.