Money is a tool and test of stewardship
Proverbs 13:7 “One man looks to be rich (on the outside) yet has nothing; another man looks to be poor (on the outside) yet has great wealth.”
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
The Bible has more than 2,300 verses that deal with handling money and possessions. God wants to bless His people. The wealth that God brings to His children is not only in material form (money), but in the form of spiritual blessings such as wisdom, character, and skills that can be passed on to future generations. Many people who have great material wealth are spiritually bankrupt.
We must see money as a tool that can be used for good. Money is necessary to meet needs. Therefore, it is good for businesses to generate profit. A profit is simply taking in more money for a product or service than the actual cost of providing the product or service. Profits can be used to generate growth for a business and to bless others.
The acquisition of money often brings with it a test of character. Often people think that money will solve all their problems. Many people begin to serve money, becoming motivated by money itself rather than using money as a tool. This causes personal, relational, and business problems. God wants His men and women to be those who have the character to handle money and steward it properly. In other words, we should embrace prosperity while renouncing materialism at the same time.
Financial Stewardship Principles:
1. God Alone is the Source of Wealth
Deuteronomy 8:18 “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant…”
We must understand that everything we have and all that we are is from God. We can do nothing outside of His help. Don’t become prideful in what you accomplish. Be quick to give God all the glory and honour for victories and blessings.
2. God’s Kingdom Should be our Priority
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
When we are Kingdom-minded, everything else comes into proper focus and perspective. God knows our needs. He promises to meet and even exceed those needs when we place Him and His priorities before ourselves.
3. We Should Give God What Belongs to Him
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
Many people think they are too poor to give. Giving back to God what is already His is not legalism, but is a sign of our devotion and gratitude to God. The only place in scripture where God challenges us to “test Him” is in the area of giving. You must be faithful to give God the first-fruits of your increase. God’s nature is to give, and we are to emulate Him and be givers.
4. We Should Sow Seeds to Reap a Harvest
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.”
The principles of sowing and reaping are universal and apply not only to agriculture, but to business relationships and money. When we sow an act a service, or a financial gift as unto the Lord, we should by faith expect it to produce a harvest for God’s glory.
This verse very clearly says that God gives seed to a certain person: a sower. Seeds have to be planted to be effective. The more seeds we sow, the more seeds God will provide. God wants us to have enough seed to be in a position to “be generous on every occasion.” The only way to get there is by beginning to sow seeds out of what we currently have.
5. We Should Save and Invest for the Future
Proverbs 21:20: “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”
After we have given to the Lord, we should consistently save money. It is prudent and wise to have money reserved for the future. Having extra money saved is an act of personal discipline and creates peace of mind. It is easy to spend everything and have nothing left to give or save. Prudent people give to God first, then pay themselves next. After that, they create a budget to live off of the remaining amount. (For an example of a personal budget see the chapter on How to Create a Budget).
• Pay God (The Tithe)
• Pay Yourself (Savings)
• Live on the remainder
6. We Should Beware of Debt
Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”
If at all possible, we should stay out of debt. Borrowing money makes us subject to the lender and almost always forces a higher cost over time because of interest. Many people become trapped in debt and are unable to use their money to be generous. When we borrow money, we will always pay more.
7. We Should Learn to be Content
Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
The Bible tells us to be content with what we have. In other words be grateful for what we have already been given, instead of always wanting more. Discontentment says: “It’s never enough.”
In God’s economy, there is more than enough. Many people bring unnecessary pain into their lives because they are chasing money, rather than pursuing God.
1. Ask God to help you practice each of the financial principles.
2. Are you being a good steward of your financial resources before the Lord?