Applying the “Herd Mentality” to Your Finances: The Care & Feeding of Your Money


Proverbs 27:23 (King James Version)

23Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

I am a Quicken slave.  Every payday I spend at least an hour entering my paycheck info and planning how to pay our bills at least until the next paycheck.  It’s ongoing and never ending.  However, I see it as my duty as a steward of God’s resources that He has entrusted to me.

So what does this have to do about knowing about sheep, goats, and other farmyard critters?

Gold vs. The Sheepfold: The Baa-Baa-Balance Sheet

In Old Testament times, wealth was often measured in terms of the size of one’s flocks and herds (e.g. Gen 24:35).  The  animals often rank higher than gold or silver when a person’s worth is summarized.   In the account of God’s material restoration to Job (see Job 42:10-12), the count of each type of animal is given but there is no such specificity in the amount of money or gold received.

Even though farm animals are not part of the typical family household budget sheet, adopting a sort of animal husbandry mindset can help us become better financial managers.  The first task in reining in your finances is knowing the size of your herd.

Do you know your net worth? Can you quickly add up your assets and subtract your liabilities to arrive at a (reasonable) ballpark amount. Is this total based on verifiable facts as opposed to an “off the top of my head” guesstimate? (Maybe this calculator will help.)

Jesus referred to Himself as the “good shepherd.” He said that he knows his own sheep by name. In Bible times, individuals knew very well the size of their flocks as this was their livelihood. (Money and animals provide food and clothing.)

So, whether you use Quicken, Microsoft Money, or some other personal finance software, or even paper/pencil; you need to know the size of your herd so that you can take care of it properly.

The Care & Feeding of Your Finances

Be “diligent” and “look well” to your herds. Taking the shepherd and rancher analogy further, we know that these animals require regular feeding and hygiene. If you feed your goat a sumptuous, nutritious meal and then cancel future mealtimes, that goat will die. Neglect will kill these creatures through starvation or disease

Ok, so what does that have to do with me?

Like animals, our finances require regular provision and protection. Similarly, financial instruments require monitoring to prevent atrophy through lack of regular investments, tax penalties, portfolio reallocation, insurance, etc. Are you letting your financial managing slide? Are you persistent in those necessary – if irritating – financial chores such as paying bills on time, budgeting, filing taxes? Don’t allow the manure to pile up!

Luke 12:48b (New International Version)

… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Keeping your animals\finances healthy will enable them to gain healthy weight and have babies\enjoy investment returns. So if you are frustrated at the amount of time you’re spending using Quicken or balancing your checkbook, etc; be of good cheer. It’s not easy being a shepherd but your diligence will pay off.

With financial prosperity comes responsibility.

Proverbs 12:10-11 (New King James Version)

10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. 11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,

But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.

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