If you’re reading this, you probably are, have been, or will be a college student with very little money. Tuition, room and board, fees, and the occasional trip to Taco Bell are tough on the wallet. The “broke college kid” stereotype is one of the staples of American college life. Many hate their plight and complain about it, others press on and accept their fate, while still others muster up their energy and creativity and find ways to avoid the stereotype completely by making significant amounts of money. With that said, it’s quite clear biblically that our finances are very important. Jesus speaks of money frequently throughout the Gospels, so much so that 11 of His 39 parables reference money in some way. As we work through college we must wrestle with how to manage our finances, and do so in a way that brings Jesus glory. Let’s examine a few practical ways for this to happen.
Be a giver
Despite the typically limited resources of college students, it’s still possible to find ways to be a giver. Tithe. Buy a friend dinner or coffee. Pay for a stranger’s movie ticket. If you’re in really good shape, put gas in someone’s car for them. There are tons of small opportunities to give financially. We should do this because we serve a God who is the ultimate giver. He has given us everything, and His grace is constantly evident in all things. He gave us life, love, forgiveness, redemption, peace, joy, and salvation. He gives so much that he didn’t even spare Jesus, who died in our place. Let us be moved by our gratitude to become givers.
Being a fool will cause you to run out of money quickly. Proverbs 17:16 states, “Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?” So, if you’re a fool and don’t have any sense, generally speaking, you won’t have much money in your hand. So seek wisdom, as Proverbs continually instructs. Pray and ask God to give you financial wisdom. Seek out mentors who have accomplished things financially and continued to honor God and love Jesus in doing so. Finding foolishness in college is as easy as knocking on the dorm room door across the hall from you. Avoiding it takes discipline and intentionality. Wisdom will do much good in the realm of finances.
Don’t Worship Money
Lastly, don’t turn money into a god. Whether you have plenty to take your parents out to eat when they come to town or you’re laden with debt and eat Ramen twice a day, money makes a terrible god. Ecclesiastes 5:10 illustrates this for us clearly, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” So be free, friends. Money is a gift; a tool to be stewarded for God’s glory and nothing more. But it can’t get you to paradise, no matter what you’ve seen on TV. Jesus is the one who raises us to life with Him in paradise.