“I knew this would get attention from both men and women!
In fact, this question was written down in the Bible by King Lemuel. (Proverbs 31) In fact, his mother gave him some very wise wisdom on the characteristics of a woman of character, a woman of virtues. A virtue is a foundation for moral well-being and strength, behaviors that help us to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. Developing these virtues can give us an excellent foundation for making the right financial decisions – ‘from the inside out.’
One of the most widely-used classifications of virtues is formed by the 7 Cardinal Virtues. The word ‘cardinal’ comes from the Latin originally meaning ‘a door hinge,’ a pivot around which the door functions, and later came to mean principal or chief; of prime importance.
The original four were formed by Aristotle and completed by three from the church. Here is a brief description of the seven and how they can easily be applied to navigating our finances – God’s way!
Prudence — or wisdom. It is the ability to choosing the right ways and timing to achieve the right things. Using prudence means making good financial decisions, based on facts, not feelings; asking advice and listening to others.
Justice — The constant and firm will to give what is due to God and neighbor. It is about honesty, speaking the truth, paying bills on time. This brings us freedom and the flexibility to navigate changing tides.
Fortitude — or courage. The demonstration of strength in difficulties and temptations; the ability to overcome fear and other obstacles in one’s moral life. Learning to persevere with a plan for spending and saving and learning to be content in every circumstance. Outcome will be peace in uncertain times.
Temperance — or moderation. Balance in spending, answering the question, ‘how much is enough.’ Using pleasure and entertainment in moderation, and self-control. Outcome of temperance will be money left at the end of the month, enough to save and give!
Faith — The virtue by which one believes in God and believes that all He has said and revealed is true. Getting to know what the Bible says about the power of mammon; trusing God for our finances and not relying on money. Outcome of faith will be detachment from the power of money and attachment to God!
Hope —placing my trust in Christ’s promises, and relying on the grace of the Holy Spirit to help me in times of need. It is learning to give up something today, to get something better in the future – delayed gratification. Learning to make long term, faith financial plans. Outcome will be kingdom-mindedness, preparation for the future.
Love — Love for God above all else and love for my neighbor ‘as myself’ for the love of God. Generosity, sharing and helping in times of need. It is being thankful for what I, or someone else has. Outcome is a generous life, more blessed in giving than receiving. The apostle Paul talked a lot about virtues and wrote that love is the glue that holds all virtues together.
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14
The 7 virtues form universal, timeless principles which apply to every time, in every economic situation, to every human being and can be found in every religion. They give us an inner strength with which we can bring in the disciplines that are necessary for our well-being. After all, being is more important than doing!
They are the stars that allow us to safely navigate our financial ship to the port of financial peace!
By the way – King Lemuel found a virtuous woman. You can read all about her in the Compass book, “The Woman Who Prospers.”
I found one too. My beloved wife is virtuous – in all 7 cardinal areas of her dealings with money. I’m still learning and still wrestling with all of the opposite virtues which form the 7 deadly sins! More of that in the next blog.