The Bible and Money: Ecclesiastes 5:5

On Sundays, I like to write about the Bible and Money, since the Bible has so much to say about how we earn, save, give, spend, and invest our money.  This week’s Bible and Money focus is on Ecclesiastes 5:5…

“It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” – Ecclesiastes 5:5 (NIV)

What comes to your mind when you think about a “vow?”

The first thing I think of is a wedding vow, which is a solemn pledge, promise, or commitment between a husband and a wife.

But beyond marriage, vows can be made between people for any reason, including business and financial reasons. For example, we make a vow when we…

  • Commit to giving the Lord a certain dollar amount or percentage of our income via our church or other ministry.
  • Promise to repay money we’ve borrowed through a car, home, or student loan or through a credit card or line of credit.

So why does the Bible say, in Ecclesiastes 5:5 that it is better to not make a vow than to make one you don’t keep?  Here’s my take on it:The Bible and Money

  • Our vow is our promise to another person, or group of people, that we’ll do what we said we will do. If we fail to keep our vow, we hurt the other person or people and damage our integrity and reputation.
  • Often, other people are present to witness us making a vow.  If we fail to keep our vow, the word of it quickly spreads to others.
  • Whether we realize it or not, God is also present when we make a vow. And He has a vested interest in us keeping it because he loves justice and hates dishonesty.  When we break a vow, we dishonor Him.
  • When we borrow money from someone and promise to pay them back someday, we make a big presumption upon the future – that we’ll have the means and ability to repay it when we say we will. But there are so many factors that we cannot control.
  • Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is servant to the lender.  When we can’t or don’t keep our vow to repay the person we’ve borrowed from, we see just how true that really is.

In general, I think the point of this verse is to get us to think long and hard before we enter into any vow, promise, or commitment, and ask ourselves:  Am I willing to stick with this commitment no matter what happens in the future?  And am I truly willing to pay the price?

Looking back, I can point to a couple of financial vows or commitments that we made, using debt, that we came to regret later.  Over the many months we worked to pay them off, we wished we had never agreed to make those purchases in the first place.

What about you – have you ever regretted a financial vow or commitment after you made it?  Please share your experience, or your thoughts on this verse.

While you’re here, check out these apples…

About the author

Rich Rich writes on personal finance from a pastor's perspective here at Money Wise Pastor. He loves In-N-Out Burger (and has the t-shirts to prove it), urban living, homeschooling, Gungor concerts, helping people succeed in life and work, camping, dreaming with his wife, and equipping his five children to become financially faithful and free. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

  1. This was a wonderful post – I don’t think there are too many people who could say they made a financial vow or commitment that they later regretted, myself included. When we first built our home we were also in the process of starting a restaurant business and finances were tight. We ended up with quite a bit of credit card debt for some of the necessities we needed in the house like light fixtures, etc. It took us several years to pay it off in full, but we tightened our belts and we did and we have never run up credit card debt again and do not ever intend to!

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