Living or Giving More? Financial Lessons From John Wesley

J ohn Wesley (June 28, 1703 – March 2, 1791) was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian who taught – and lived out – some financial principles which continue to challenge us today. Wesley’s principles for money can be summarized with these three thoughts: Gain all you can. Perhaps because he grew up in poverty, witnessing his father (an Anglican priest in one of England’s lowest-paying parishes) being marched off to debtor’s prison, John accepted a more lucrative position: teacher at Oxford University. John’s salary increased dramatically, from 30 pounds annually (enough for a single man to live well on) to 60 pounds, then 90 pounds, then 120 pounds and eventually to over a thousand pounds. Rather than believing, as some did, that money was inherently evil, Wesley thought of all the good one could do with money . . . more money meant more good. John Wesley knew how to earn money, and he did so quite well. Save all you can. Saving, to Wesley, meant not spending.

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