Volume. XXII, No. 53
Sunday, 29 June 2008

Saving, Investing and Spending Our Money

Money is an uncomfortable topic to write about. However, money as we all recognise, is a necessity for our daily living. There are many clichés and idioms about money. Money does not bring happiness. Money is the root of all evil. Money makes the world go round. Making a fast buck. Feel like a million dollars. Saving for the nest egg.

Much has been written and many have thought about the implications of money – the lack or abundance of it. Many sociologists have studied the pursuit of money, comparing  capitalistic societies and socialist states. Max Weber, a well known German sociologist studied the correlation between religious beliefs and capitalism. Weber\'s essay, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus) is his most famous work.  This work should not be viewed as a detailed study of Protestantism, but rather as an introduction into Weber\'s later works, especially his studies of interaction between various religious ideas and economic behaviour. In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber puts forward the thesis that “Calvinist ethic and ideas influenced the development of capitalism.” (Wikipedia)

Saving - When 10 Cents was like a ‘Bullock Cart Wheel!

When I was about 7 years old, my parents started giving me pocket money. I think it was ten cents per school day or 70 cents per week. Ten cents in the mid 1960s bought me a bowl of noodles at school which consisted of broth, noodles and 3 fish balls which is sufficient for lunch. However, I did not buy my lunch in school, but, brought food and drink from home so that I could save all my daily allowance, and this I did for several years. At that time, my focus was to hoard money so that I could out-save my older sister. My parents encouraged me to save my pocket money because the habit of saving was deemed as a good life lesson for me. I think they must have realised that I actually crossed the line from being frugal and thrifty to being rather stingy. Having observed the fashion that I treated my savings, my parents used to tease me in Chinese that my “ten cents is bigger than a bullock cart wheel’. I think that it is important for a Christian to understand and know how to handle money wisely and biblically. Otherwise, a Christian may end up saving money for selfish reasons in order to feed his obsession in growing a savings account.

Investing our Money – Have we Gambled or Have we Invested?

What should we do with the savings that we have accumulated over time? Generally, there are many investment options available to us and the most common ones being stocks, bank deposits and properties. There does not seem to be much opposition against bank deposits, but some may regard investing in stocks as gambling because they argue that stocks are bought with the hope that they will increase in value based on “luck.” Others who disagree with the above argument equate purchasing stocks as nothing more than a shareholding in a publicly listed company that conducts a legal and legitimate business. The company shares the company profits by paying a dividend to all shareholders. As a shareholder of a company, one would attend annual general meetings where matters pertaining to the company are discussed and voted on. Most of us who are working or have worked in the past have some form of superannuation which serves as long term savings and these are often invested in the stock market. Therefore, we should not assume that we have gambled just because we have purchased stocks. Nevertheless, it is important to examine the motive of every investment that we make. Gamblers  go to the casino to make quick money. Despite  knowing that they will lose their money, they would rather believe that their ‘luck’ would somehow turn in their favour to help them win handsomely. Perhaps, some of the bad connotations about investing in stocks are derived from those who wish to gain a huge profit by buying and selling in a matter of a few days or even few hours. In my opinion, speculative ‘day trading’ in stocks is more akin to gambling, likewise we must be careful not to term all stock purchases as gambling. Long term investment in stocks can be a sound investment option. We can also hold term deposits with a financial institution to profit by deriving interest paid. However, it is not always true that bank deposits are safer because when inflation is considered, bank deposits can possibly go down in real value in hyper-inflationary times. Examining our intention is important as a guide when making wise investment decisions. Long-term investments in stocks and property investments may return regular income and a capital gain profit over time and these are not the sort of gambling associated by rolling dice or playing cards in a casino. Capital growth is not sinful. On the other hand, get rich quick schemes, financial market speculation, and anything that requires what some may term as ‘luck’ should be avoided. The Bible offers some examples of growing wealth through legitimate means and it also teaches us not to get into get rich quick schemes.

 A faithful man shall abound with blessings but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” Prov 28:20

He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him” Prov 28:22.

The Bible also teaches us to work our resources and not to follow after the advice of people who seem to have much to offer. “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” Prov. 28:19.

There is a good side to wise investments because one could make use of these investments to fund for one’s retirement, save for children’s education or inheritance for families, and the ability to support various needs in the church. But when God allows our investments to grow, are we able to correctly handle our money?

A Time to Use and Spend our Money - When two dollars should be less than one Dollar.

When I first encountered the coins used in Australia, I found it an oddity that the two dollar coin was smaller in size compared with the one dollar coin. I thought it was only logical that a more valuable coin should be a bigger sized coin. Perhaps, there is a lesson that we can learn from this.

When we do not have enough or when we live from hand to mouth, each single dollar is worth a lot to us because we are really in survival mode. When I was in university, a good friend of mine was struggling to survive because his parents had booted him out of home. I remember that I shared half of my pocket money with him for a few months because he did not have enough money for his daily living. It was at that time I learned what it was like to be somewhat “poor” as daily we had to share one lunch together. I also remember that as a consequence, I was low on pocket money and either buying an ice cream or taking the bus home had been a challenging choice for me to make. Since I often prefer my deserts, I would go for ice cream instead and walked for 2 hours to get home in the hot Singapore sun. Thank God for providing the many ice creams and the free exercise that I had!  At that time as a student, one dollar meant a lot to me. After I graduated and started to earn an income, slowly, I was able to save and even invest. I believe that there is a need to re-focus ourselves as we accumulate more wealth. If we would not let go of any money, it will grow bigger and bigger in our minds. A day must come that two dollars must be lesser in value than a dollar of the past. We should learn to let go some of our wealth by sharing with our friends, by helping the poor and needy and by giving for the furtherance of God’s kingdom. The Lord encourages us to feed and clothe others who may be needy because “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me [Christ].” Mathew 25: 40b. Therefore, we should not be obsessed with money making, hoarding obsessively in the name of frugality or “poverty” when opportunities are presented to show hospitality or concern for others. Is not our growing discontentment simply a product of our unquenchable desire in this materialistic life?

Does not 1 Tim 6:6-8 say, “But Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Hebrews 13:5 echoes, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” The problem described here is the love of things – greed. “without covetousness” means with not having love of money. Let us learn to be cautious about how we treat money because the Bible teaches us: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:10


Money itself is not evil, but the love of money is the root of all evil! We thank God for the many generous Hopefuls who have taken time, effort and expense to fellowship with God’s servants and have encouraged them with friendship, care and love. We are encouraged by the many uncles and aunties in church who have provided time, cares, concerns and meals for students and the elderly. We praise and thank God for the many who devote much time working in the various groups and ministries of our church. We are touched by the youth who devote time, effort and expense to cheer up the elderly in so many ways. May the Lord remember your labour of love and work for His glory!

More Lively Hope




No choir practice next Lord’s Day.

Invitation to choir members, Sunday Service musicians and Sunday School teachers for dinner at the home of Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo at 63 Wyfield St. Wattle Park, SA 5066 on Sunday, 6 July, 6pm.

Next QTR Junior & Senior RPGs available on the literature table.

Fellowship, Ministry & Committee Reports for ACM are to be handed Dn Edwin D’Mello by 13 July, latest. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Service Rosters for Jul– Sept available in the foyer.

Kitchen Rosters on Notice Board & kitchen door. Please assist with kitchen duties. For any changes please see Dn Ediwn D’Mello.


Looking Ahead

Vacation Bible School - July 14-18. Speaker: Bro Hai Seng Lim.

ACM on Sat, 26 July. Members please keep this date in your diary.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Ps Ki (Adl/Melb); Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family (USA); Bros Lincoln Law (Hobart) & Patrick Phua (S’pore) & others who are travelling.

Church activities: AFG Bible Study; BBK; Ladies’ Share & Prayer; Men’s Breakfast Meeting; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study, YAF Bible Study, & Working Bees.

Ps Ki’s Ministry in Ebenezer B-P Church (Melbourne)

Admin/management job—Sis Serene Wong at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, S’pore.

God’s daily blessings & provisions.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Hans Ziegelmann; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Auntie Oei, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Mr Van & others in affliction.

Critical care ward: Rev John McKenzie

Coming Surgery: Sis Sylvia White (FMC)

Cambodia Missions - Khmer pastors and believers

Laos Missions - Believers in Laos.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim

Journey Mercies - Ps Ki (Adl), Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Hobart); Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family (USA); Bro Jonathan Liaw (S’pore); Sisters Judy Li (Dalian, China) & Suzane Lim (NT).

Ministry of Ps Ki in Ebenezer B-P Church (Melb) as Camp Speaker.

Job - Bro Cong Pham

Pr David & Sis Susan Weng - God’s will for their future ministry in S’pore & elsewhere.

Provision of a Pastor for our Church.

Session members - wisdom & guidance.

Vacation Bible School: Speaker, organisers, helpers and children.

University & School Assignments & Exams for students (June-July).

Sister B-P Churches in Australia: Faithful to the Word of God.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041