Well, if you thought that maybe you had not enough time on your hands to be a good steward, how are you feeling about the prospect of learning to become a good steward of God’s money? Most of us don’t feel we have enough of it to begin with, so to even start the process of figuring how to be a better steward of God’s money seems impossible since most of us feel strapped financially already, without taking on another burden, such as another entity (God) getting what little money we have leftover…if any at all.
Stewardship of God’s money takes into account many areas of finances. Think about it…budgeting versus spending; contentment versus discontentment; debt versus no debt; greed and the love of money; giving versus withholding; investing, planning, and saving versus squandering; lending versus being selfish; tithing versus holding back; and there are many other aspects we need to look at when evaluating our ability to be godly stewards of God’s money.
I’m not sure I understand exactly why so much time is spent in the Bible on teaching us about money. Some who study these things claim that 1 out of 6 verses that Jesus spoke dealt with finances. Also, apparently 12 out of 38 parables dealt with finances. Funny thing is that in Luke 16:10, Jesus says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” The “least” Jesus is referring to refer to finances and money. He’s saying that if we can’t be trusted with the least important thing (money and finances) then we can’t be trusted with the more important aspects of service. How much responsibility we get will largely depend on our attitude towards our finances and how we handle our money.
In Matthew 25, the master gave out different amounts of money to three people. God is all-knowing, and the master gave the servant whom he trusted the most, with the most money. He doubled his investment and was highly praised for his hard work and was given additional responsibilities. The master also knew what the second servant was made of and gave him a portion of his money, and also, he doubled his investment and was given additional responsibilities in the same manner as the previous servant. But the master knew the reputation and character of the last servant and gave him money, but less than the other two servants, because the master knew the likelihood of this third servant squandering the money…and that’s exactly what he did. He buried it and did not risk losing it, the way the other two were willing to do. In the end, the master did not praise the third servant at all.
That’s what Luke 16:10 is explaining. God is only going to entrust us with what we’re able to do, when it comes to His work. If God knows your character to be suspect and the likelihood is that you’ll squander His money, He’s not going to give you much to work with so that He doesn’t waste His resources on you. But, that also means that He will not trust you with greater responsibilities as it pertains to spiritual matters, since you can’t handle risking losing money that’s not yours to begin with. Imagine not being able to part with a few hundred dollars if God lays it on your heart. Are you going to be willing to give up much more to be called to the mission field? I Doubt it. God starts small (money) before He calls on us to be faithful in that which is much. We have to nail down the fact that it’s our attitude toward God’s money that will hold us back from really being used by God…because your attitude toward finances reveals your true character, as it relates to willingness to deny yourself, and your ability to serve God faithfully or not.
Of course, the first thing to remember in any discussion of stewardship is that whatever we are talking about (in this case it’s money) it’s NOT OURS to begin with. We are given money by God to use in several different areas. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” God is the one that’s gives us wealth. We are stewards of GOD’S money. That is the essential key to any stewardship study, especially this one, that it’s not our money!
As I just mentioned, there are several areas of service associated with the stewardship of God’s money. For example…God gave us money so we may provide for our basic needs as God promised to do to those who sought first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Another area in which money is useful is in the teaching of patience as it relates to God’s timing. We may tithe and give to missions, and expect immediate results, but God wants to see our faithfulness first and in His perfect timing, you’ll get what you need when you need it, and I can give you testimony to that effect from my own life.
As we look at service to others with God’s money, we can’t help but understand that we need to help those in need (Proverbs 19:17). Proverbs 11:24 explains that if we have an impoverished soul when it comes to a willingness to share with those in need, we will certainly become destitute in material possessions as well. In contrast to that, Proverbs 22:9 promises that if we give to the poor we will be blessed. Matthew 25:35-40 explains to us that using our money as God leads us to take care of the poor is a direct act of service toward God. Now you can see how being stingy with our money can be seen upon as possibly sinful.
Now, not only does the poor need our money, but also the work of the Lord needs our money. It’s too lengthy to get into now, but the Bible is very clear that the tithe (a tenth of your gross earnings) is what God expects His churches to use to fund their daily operations. On top of that are the offerings we should be willing to give to such things as Vacation Bible School, missions, summer camp scholarships, fellowship meetings, evangelistic endeavors, and so on. Giving above and beyond God’s command of tithing shows our love for Him and others, whereas tithing shows simply a willingness to obey, either out of love or duty.
Here’s the biggest aspect of good financial stewardship. If we manage God’s money the way He wants us to, and He blesses us, it will be a fantastic testimony to the greatness of God to those who haven’t a good handle on their finances. My wife and I were all but mocked by a close family member for tithing, yet we have all that we need, and then some. Over the years, the Lord has blessed our financial faithfulness with better jobs and higher salaries. Sometimes we’ve had to go without certain luxuries, but God has given us enough money to send both our children to private Christian schools, a desire that many who can’t afford to, have.
You know, making the right financial decisions as it relates to what God expects isn’t always easy. We’ve made mistakes, and I’ve shared those mistakes in previous articles, but those mistakes were made out of ignorance of the Word of God and with an attitude of materialism. We borrowed money for things that weren’t important and are paying the price right now. It’s so true what the Bible says in Proverbs 22:7, about the borrower being enslaved to the lender. Debt will get you to a place where you are no longer feeling free with God’s money, nor do you feel free to follow God’s leading in your life, because you’re too busy working toward a bottom line.
We’re slowly getting out from that enslavement. But resisting the temptation to add to our debt should an appliance fail or a car dies, will be difficult. But not taking on more debt would be the right thing to do. If I do not borrow money, it shows that I trust God, as they did in Deuteronomy 28:12. However, if I experience an “emergency” and believe I “need” to borrow money to buy that new car or refrigerator, I show my lack of faith in God, and those who lend to me will have dominion over me and I will be smaller in stature in the eyes of those who watch me (Deuteronomy 28:43-44).
Let me sum it all up this way:
- Budget your money rather than carelessly squandering it with no game plan.
- Be content with what God has allowed you to have, as this will help keep you from seeking more and more.
- Strive to have a “no debt” policy and remain free, rather than live as a slave to a lender.
- Don’t be greedy…is doesn’t bode well for developing contentment.
- Give and be blessed.
- Save and plan for the future as God leads you, so you may have some money set aside for “wants” and “rainy days.”
- Lend without the expectation of being paid back…why put someone else in bondage to you.
- Tithe! It’s the right thing to do. Study it out. As Christians, we should be willing to give more than what God requires of us.
- Don’t waste the resources God has entrusted with you, the way the third servant did in Matthew 25. You will not be blessed. You will not get accolades. You will be verbally chastised and be made an example in front of brethren and unsaved alike.