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“The one principle that surrounds everything else is that of stewardship; that we are the managers of everything that God has given us”
~ Larry Burkett
Maybe a better question is how can our Christian faith saturate our money management, rather than simply finding a place to be fit in?
Psalm 24:1 says, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”. Everything is God’s, including our money. It falls under the category of ‘everything’, and it all belongs to Him. I believe the first step to saturating our money management with our faith is to release that ownership back to Him at an emotional and spiritual level, which is probably a moment by moment decision for most of us.
If God is the owner, then our role is that of a manager. Psalm 8:6 says, “you made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet”. I believe another word for ‘ruler’ is ‘manager’. God owns everything, and he puts us in charge of managing it. Our names are on bank and investment account statements because we are the managers, or ‘rulers’, of the money in those accounts, not the owner. God has given this money to us to manage…for Him!
As Christians, when we talk about money we often use the word ‘stewardship’. My personal definition of stewardship is, “the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God-given desires, goals, and objectives”. In other words, it's the use of 'His stuff for His purposes!'
What are the goals and objectives God has for your life? Jeremiah 29:11 begins by saying, “for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…” What are the plans God has for your life specifically, and are you using your finances for the fulfillment of those plans? If we are using the resources God has given us for the achievement our God-given goals and objectives, I believe we will write a truly meaningful story with our lives.
Philippians 2:13 (ISV) says, “For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him”. God is producing desires within each of us. Imagine how enjoyable and meaningful would life be if we were intentional about applying those desires to each and every area of financial stewardship!
Do you have an understanding of what your personal calling is, and are you applying that calling to how and where you earn your income? Does what you do for income provide significant meaning beyond the income it provides?
Do you live a controlled lifestyle, spending intentionally and with purpose? Are you thoughtful and cautious in your use of debt? Do you pay your taxes with integrity and thanksgiving? If married, do you set financial goals jointly with your spouse? Are you accountable to anyone regarding your spending?
Do you live below your means, creating margin so you can save? Do you have a Kingdom purpose for your savings? Do your investments align with your faith convictions?
Do you give regularly and systematically, in proportion to your income and assets? Do you have an eternal Kingdom mindset with your giving? Have you answered the question, ‘how much is enough’ regarding your income or assets?
God has given us managerial control over each of these areas. If we are to saturate the stewardship of our finances with our Christian faith, our faith convictions need to direct our decisions and actions in each of these four areas.
The question of stewardship is not necessarily about whether we have a good income, are saving in bunches, paying off debt, or giving away significant amounts of money. While each of these can play a critical role, I believe they are more a result of an intentional surrender of our lives to the specific desires God is producing within us. I believe the real question is whether you have identified the desires God is producing in you, and are you willing to pursue those desires at all cost? Are you willing to use Biblical principles of money management for the pursuit of the desires God is producing in you? Would life then be more like a ‘great adventure’, a life well lived, and ultimately a life of great meaning?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain