Brewing Wisdom was given a complimentary copy of Master Your Money: A Step-by-Step Plan for Experiencing Financial Contentment by Ron Blue from the Moody Publishers Newsroom for us to review.
The book that I hold in my hands today is an updated version of the 1986 Christian Financial classic Master Your Money. This is actually the 5th version of this book. In the versions in between this one and the first, Mr. Blue has taken the time to update the content in the book to keep it relevant to what is actually happening in the world. The one thing he notices, however, is that with all of the updates he has made, the vast majority of the content has not changed. He says “I haven’t changed any of the basic principles in this book. God’s laws are timeless and transcendent, regardless of changing economic situations. His principles still work.” On the back cover of the book, and inside the first few pages there are numerous reviews from well-known figures in the Christian community: Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Randy Alcorn, Dave Ramsey, Mark Batterson, Patrick Morley & Dr. Dennis Rainey. Just about all of them agree that this book is the “Gold Standard” for financial wisdom. After reading this book, we’d have to agree with them.
Table of Contents:
Will I Ever Have Enough?
Four Biblical Principles of Money Management
A Financial Planning Overview
Guaranteed Financial Success
The Dangers of Debt
Where Am I?
Setting Faith Financial Goals
Avoiding the Most Common Financial Mistakes
Designing a Personal Financial Plan
Control the Flow
Stewardship after Death
As a Christian, this book reminds me that the way we are to live should be different than what is generally accepted by the culture. Our primary goal in life isn’t to acquire assets and die with the most “stuff”. Our goal and our purpose here is to be the “salt and light” of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), servants to others (Mark 10:43-45) and stewards of God’s blessings to us (Matthew 25:14-30). With this in mind, Mr. Blue sets up the foundation of the book and then begins to put into place the 4 pillars that hold it up. These are the four biblical principles of money management.
God Owns It All: Matthew 25:14 says “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” God, as the owner, has all the rights to everything and can give or take as he desires. As stewards, we don’t have rights but rather responsibilities.
We Are in a Growth Process: Matthew 25:21 says “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” God uses money and our possessions in life as a tool, a test and a testimony to our spiritual growth. It’s not something to be hoarded, but rather something to be managed to bring God glory.
The Amount Is Not Important: Matthew 25:23 says “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Since God owns it all, we need to keep an open hand to allow him to work. Whether God chooses to give or take, our attitude should be the same. Whether he has entrusted us with a little or a lot, our hearts should be the same.
Faith Requires Action: Matthew 25:29 says “To those who use well what they are given, even more, will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” We cannot be paralyzed by fear or an overabundance of information. We must actively seek to do God’s will with what he has given us.
After spending the first few chapters of the book setting up a foundation by which to understand the importance of getting a grasp on your finances. By chapter 4, Mr. Blue begins diving deeper into how we actually master our money. In doing this, he gracefully presents a case against the misuse of debt in the life of a believer. What really stuck out to me was his biblical perspective on debt. He asserts that debt is not a sin, but we have to be careful when taking on any debt. He suggests 4 questions (partially paraphrased):
1.) Does it make economic sense?
2.) Do my spouse and I have unity about taking on this debt?
3.) Is this debt consistent with keeping biblical principles and leave me with peace of mind?
4.) What goals and values cannot be met in any other way other than this debt?
Debt is not a sin, but the Bible does clearly discourage the use of debt. He sums up his position beautifully with this quote: “In many cases, when we borrow the money to fund one item, be it for the purpose of a new car, a television, a new home, a vacation, or whatever, we are putting the lender in the place of God.” This is a refreshing perspective on debt in our eyes. It elevates the decision above ourselves justifying what is a want or a need in our life. It encourages us to make a choice in light of God’s wise counsel. That’s what really sets this book apart from many other’s we’ve read on the same subject. I can see his heart and hear the compassion through the words that are written on each page.
Another unique aspect that this book has is that at the end of each chapter, Mr. Blue and his son Michael offer reflections. This may not seem all that exciting, but the perspectives are from 30 years of experience. Mr. Blue is in his early 70’s while his son is in his late 30’s. There is a generation of difference between them that offers insights to us. Ron went from being a young, successful businessman to a born-again Christian trying to serve using his talents. Over the years, he’s found great success in helping others with their finances. His son grew up in a home led by this man and what is in these pages was taught in their home. While their experiences are different, there is an agreement that the principles taught in this book truly work.
The “meat” of this book’s financial advice is found in chapters 3 through 14. The advice is rock solid. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone, Christian or otherwise. The first 2 chapters lay the foundation Biblically that the remaining chapters build off of. That is the hallmark of this book. It truly is the differentiator between it and other books in the same category. The first 2 chapters frame the perspective that we should have if we’re a Christian reading this book. With this perspective, we can see the value in the remaining chapters. The financial wisdom offered by Mr. Blue is applicable to anyone. However, as a Christian, it lines us beautifully with God’s Word. There is enough information here to completely turn your life around if you don’t know a thing about personal finances. If the information you are looking for isn’t found in this book, then odds are you either need a much more specific book for your situation or professional guidance. At the end of the day, we would recommend this book to ANYONE who needs help managing their finances in a way that honors God.