Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.—Proverbs 15:22
There are certain areas of a man’s life where the counsel of others is necessary, but where I have found it hard to ask for help. One of these areas is money.
Why am I so hesitant to ask for help in the area of money and finances?
I think there are several reasons.
One | Shame
I, like many, have made numerous financial mistakes over my lifetime. I’ve lived on the financial edge, accrued debt, purchased useless things that I could not afford, and have made a bad investment or two. I, like most men, don’t like to reveal my failings to other men; it is shame and embarrassment about these events that keep me from getting the help I need.
Two | Self-Reliance
Shame, while one of my issues, is not the only issue. Self-reliance, in combination with ongoing shame, is a powerful one-two punch. Self-reliance complicates everything, resulting in the belief that I ought to be able to figure out budgeting, spending, saving, and investing on my own. Even though I may have a novice understanding of money, remaining in a state of ignorance because of self-reliance is not the better choice. And worse, the faulty self-talk that says, “try and figure it out on your own,” will keep you captive to unhealthy practices and from gaining the knowledge, disciplines, and skills for success.
Three | Pride
The third related core issue with shame and self-reliance, is pride. Arrogance keeps me, and all men, from asking for help and advice.
How do we handle these personal issues that keep us from getting the help we need?
I have learned we must humbly find help before we become humiliated. Proverbs 15:22 says it this way: “Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” One mark of Godly men is humility—not shame, not self-reliance, and definitely not pride. Humility is to think of yourself less. It’s thinking less about how the present financial situation reflects on you as a person and more about how others can aid in guiding you out of it. This infers that we must separate who we are from what the issue is, and in doing so, we must embrace the virtue of humility. But a humble man does not think “less of himself” in a self-defeating manner, but instead, he “thinks of himself less” as it relates to the issue at hand. Money, as it relates to manhood, can feel like a direct attack on who we are as a person. The best thing we can do is detach the issue from who we are and admit our mistakes and failures so we can find a way out with competent counsel. Why? So we can be the men God designed us to be and so we do not live in constant shame, self-sufficiency, and pride.
Where do we find help for our financial questions?
First | Jesus
One of the most popular and essential areas from which one to develop a biblical understanding of money, finances, budgeting, debt, and sound financial decision-making is the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus talked about money more than many other subjects—more than heaven, more than hell, more than heaven and hell combined. And even more than love. Of the 39 parables Jesus told, eleven of them are devoted to talking about some aspect of money. Maybe Jesus knew money would be challenging for men?
So if you are looking for wisdom on money, read the words of Jesus in a few of these stories.
- The Parable of the Prodigal Son—Luke 15:11–32
- The Rich Man and Lazarus—Luke 16:19–31
- The Day Laborers in the Vineyard—Matthew 20:1–16
- The Widow’s Two Coins—Mark 12:41-44
- Ceasar’s Taxes—Matthew 22:15-22
- The Rich Young Man—Matthew 19:16-24
- Zaccheus the Tax Collector—Luke 19:1-10
Or consider these foundational quotes by Jesus about money.
- For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.—Matthew 6:21
- Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.—Luke 9:3
- No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.—Matthew 6:24
- For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?—Mark 8:36
- Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.—Matthew 5:42
Second | Other Faithful Christian Men
There are many great Christian men out there who know a ton about money. They are usually men who have done an excellent job managing, leading, and guiding their finances. Ask them if they would share with you what they know and how they handle their finances. Ask them questions and let them know what kind of specific guidance you need. If you want, you could gather a group of men together who wish to openly discuss the topic of finances, learn with one another and encourage one another.
But remember that there are also some people from whom we should not seek counsel. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” Be aware that some of the financial advice that we find in the world can be self-serving. In other words, it feeds on the assumption that we will be selfish at some point and that, financially, there will be things that we will want, that we will be afraid of missing out on, and that we will convince ourselves that we need right now.
Regardless of whom you turn to for guidance, spend some time addressing your motives and desires and make sure that your heart is in the right place before you make a significant purchase or investment. If in doubt—don’t do it. If pressured for a quick decision—walk away. If you have not prayed about it—wait. Waiting is a profound financial principle that people who live in a consumer-driven society need to heed.
Son, don’t let shame, self-reliance, or pride keep you from discovering the fantastic gift of financial freedom. We have all paid a dumb tax with finances. Don’t pay more. Get counsel, teaching, and Godly advice on money.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 16 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God’s Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org