By Series - Financial Stewardship

Financial Stewardship

Friday

March 24, 2017

In God We Trust

Read

Proverbs 11:25, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed”.
Luke 16:11, “It is also a test of our faithfulness to God. Jesus said, ‘And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of Heaven?’”

Think

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, your heart is also”. There is a direct correlation between how we manage our money and what we treasure most. Question: Do you feel uptight and bristly when you hear a message on giving? Because, for many of us, our hearts and minds may be open to spiritual transformation, yet when it comes to our money, we still get funny. But the truth is, we’ll never fully understand God’s grace or see the growth we’re hoping for without first having a genuine spirit of generosity. Our wallet is a window to our soul, and where our wallet goes, we follow. You see, giving is something God wants for us, not from us. He doesn’t need our money, He wants us to need Him! Truly trusting in Him is putting our money where our mouth is—it’s where the rubber meets the road. Want to know what you love the most? Take a look at your calendar, bank statements, and credit card bills. Want to know what you trust the most? Make a generous donation. We must ask ourselves, “Do I trust God with my money?” and conversely, “Does God trust me with what I’ve been given?”

We must not confuse generosity with bringing back the tithe to God. That is not ours to keep, and it’s the minimum worship requirement. Generosity begins with willingness to give beyond the first ten percent of our income. The more we sow into the things of God, the more we will reap from Him. Favor and blessing are the byproducts of cheerful giving. Generosity is the currency for gratitude. The more grateful we are, the more we naturally want to give; it’s a show of love, devotion, and trust with thanksgiving. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. We are never more like Jesus than when we give. Question: In what ways does your life reflect gratitude for God’s grace? Remember, when we give of our time, talent, and resources with a pure heart, God will bless us in ways we never thought possible.

Pray

Father God, give me a generous heart, and help me to trust in Your provision. Guide my thoughts back to Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection whenever I’m in the crosshairs of greed and entitlement. Thank You for always being faithful and true—it delights my heart to praise You! In Christ I pray, Amen.

Act

Would you call yourself a cheerful giver? Why or why not? Have you seen God bless your finances or provide for you in a unique way in response to your faithfulness? Consider these questions over the next few days. Memory verse: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

 

Thursday

March 23, 2017

Storing Up

Read

Proverbs 13:22, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous”.
Luke 14:28, “ For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

Think

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing every time”. This thought directly correlates to financial stewardship. Great stewards manage God’s money God’s way for God’s glory. Vision also plays a crucial role. This means every dollar earned needs a destination before it’s spent. But most of us fail to do to this. In fact, here’s some interesting, yet unfortunate, data about spending. 88% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. 18% of the 88 are facing bankruptcy, in bankruptcy, or coming out of it. The average American spends $1.26 for every dollar earned regardless of salary. 1/3 of adults in the USA are currently in the debt collection process. And finally, the number one cause of divorce in this country is the result of fighting over finances and money problems—but there’s hope!

Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down”. What does this have to do with finances? A lot actually. Food and olive oil were common tender in the ancient world. Storing up means to save and invest. If we don’t, then every dollar we make has an obligation to the past and has no opportunity for the future. Wise managers cut the fat and keep their spending habits lean. This requires the discipline of getting rid of credit cards and cutting every corner possible, even selling stuff we don’t need. We can live without motorcycles and boats. And ladies, do you really need another pair of shoes? Take that money and invest in the future. For example, if you put $100 every month into a mutual fund or Roth IRA starting at age 25, by 65 you will have made $1.7 million! If you’re thinking, “I don’t have a hundred dollars” think again! What about every overpriced Latte you bought at the coffee shop or those ridiculous car payments? The wise save and invest and fools spend $1.26 for every dollar they make! Are you storing up or gulping down?

Pray

Father God, I want to honor You by being a great steward of what You’ve entrusted to me. Help me acquire the discipline needed to spend wisely, save, and invest. You are my everything! Thank You for investing in me and providing me with the hope of the ultimate inheritance awaiting me in heaven. I praise You in the name of Christ, Amen.

Act

Did you know that you can learn a lot from an ant? In fact, Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”. Today , let this verse marinate in your mind. And if you’re feeling ambitious memorize Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty”.

 

Wednesday

March 22, 2017

Invest In the Best

Read

I Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’”.
Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”.

Think

We’re all familiar with sayings such as, “You are what you eat” “One rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch” and “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Today let’s focus on another idiom: “You are who your friends are”.  You see, when it comes to financial stewardship, one of our greatest investments should be in great people with great character. We are far better at managing our money God’s way when we cultivate and maintain quality relationships built on trust. Conversely, we will never be who God wants us to be if we refuse to change or limit relationships with those still involved in sinful activities or harmful habits. Who is in your inner circle? Who is your bestie? Do they know Christ personally?

We all know that Christianity is not a solo sport. We were created for community. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up”. Our best friends should be our allies of encouragement if we are having financial difficulties. Often in such circumstances, we need to be held accountable for our spending, and accountability emerges from affinity. Proverbs 27:7 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. Again, who are you spending the lion’s share of your time with? Reckless spenders or wise investors? Because it’s also said that if you hang around with trash long enough you start to smell like trash. And, the kind of friend you are is the kind of friends you will attract. When we invest in God’s best in every way, we will pass the test every time and be blessed for it.

Pray

Father God, thank You for giving us Your best in Christ, the ultimate relational role model. Help me to choose friends wisely and to be a great friend to others. May I honor You today with my words and actions. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

What people or circumstances do you need to avoid? Is bad company corrupting your attempt to improve your character? With these thoughts in mind, memorize Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”.

 

Tuesday

March 21, 2017

Indebted And Debt Free

Read

Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law”.
I Timothy 6:10-11, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”

Think

We know everything we have belongs to God, and that we simply manage what we’ve been given. So, is it a sin to be in debt? Does this mean we are living outside of God’s will? No! Nowhere in the Bible does it say borrowing money or being in debt is sinful as long as we are earnestly seeking to repay what we owe. What is a sin, though, is reckless spending, purchasing items beyond our means, and loving money or the instant gratification of buying what we don’t need. The Bible is clear about God’s promise of provision and fulfilling our needs. However, we must not confuse our needs with our ‘greeds’! This provision does not mean He will rescue us from the consequences of debt or other unwise behavior. In fact, praying for God to remove the consequences of financial debt is an affront to the fact that Jesus died on the cross to pay our ultimate sin debt—something we don’t deserve! What we do need to pray for is the wisdom, discernment, and guidance to navigate through the consequences of our debt. Good stewards seek God first. Because when we put God first, our choices will align with His mind.

Unfortunately, we can fall into debt, but we cannot fall out of it. To free ourselves from such financial burden, we begin by mapping out our spending and making a budget. Then, we prepare a debt repayment plan and apply the 10-10-80 Principle. This means we bring back the first 10% of our income to God, put at least 10% of every paycheck into savings, and live off the rest (including debt repayment). Another tip is to use cash. It helps to physically see where our money is going. Did you know using credit cards causes us to spend up to 20% more? Finally, it always pays to pray, spend time in the Word, and consult with the One who gave us life and the Giver of every blessing. We must continuously express our appreciation for God’s abounding love and grace. And, remember that we are forever indebted and debt free!

Pray

Father God, thank You for Your constant love and provision. Help me to be a wise steward with a spirit of generosity and gratitude. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Act

Memorize and meditate on Philippians 4:8. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

 

Monday

March 20, 2017

Budget From The Heart

Read

Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

Think

As parents, we teach our children various responsibilities to help set them up for success. Taking care of what is given to them is a really important lesson. A key component in this is showing them how to manage their money. Too many times, though, a very important fundamental truth is forgotten; we are merely managers of our financial blessings—not owners. True financial success should be approached with an attitude of gratitude. After all, money management is not a financial issue, it is a heart issue.

The first step toward great stewardship is learning to LIVE ON A BUDGET! It’s money management 101. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” No one wants to fail, especially when money is involved. Wondering where to start? Start with bringing back to God what is already His. The tithe is the first 10% of our gross income. It helps us remember that we don’t worship the provision—we worship the Provider.

Pray

Father God, thank You for your provision in my life, and for entrusting me with what I have. My heart is abundantly grateful. Help me to be prudent in spending my finances in a manner that brings You the glory You deserve.

Act

There is no time like the present to begin living on a budget. Here are some great free online resources to help you get started: www.Stewardship.com or www.Everydollar.com