Stewardship sounds like an old-timey church word, huh? It’s likely said by some preacher-man to a congregation full of people to guilt them into paying their tithe so the church can keep the lights on. Anyone else see a picture like that?
As evocative as that image is, it’s probably not the best one to represent the amazing responsibility of stewardship.
stewardship (n): the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care
While stewardship applies to anything and everything we’ve been entrusted with, today I want to focus on financial stewardship. Money is an important part of our lives, much of our time hinges around it, and having it is a huge responsibility! Before you exit this post, not wanting to talk about money, let me lay out a few things:
I don’t want your money.
I’m not here to judge you.
I’m figuring this out too.
Money isn’t good and it isn’t bad, it’s amoral (being neither moral nor immoral). How you use money can be moral or immoral, good or bad, but money itself isn’t evil.
Now, I hear some of you saying to yourself, “But doesn’t the Bible say …?” And I’m so glad you brought that up.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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.” 1 Timothy 6: 6-10 (NIV)
What’s so interesting to me is how tempting this love of money is. Whether you’re filthy rich or dirt poor or somewhere in between, the love of money is knocking at your door.
If you love spending money more than you love Jesus, that’s a problem.
If you love making money more than you love Jesus, that’s a problem.
If you love holding onto your money more than giving it away, that’s a problem.
If you love consuming more than you love giving, that’s a problem.
I’m not advocating opulence and the love of money, but I’m also not calling us to hate money and take on a vow of poverty (unless that’s what God’s calling you to do, then obey Him). But I want us to land somewhere in the middle: loving money is bad, but using money to the glory of God is good.
I’m no expert on this, I’m still figuring this stuff out, but here are some ways we can glorify God with our money:
Get out of debt. (Proverbs 22:7) It’s easy for us to just “charge it” and deal with the payments later (theoretically, we’ll be rich when the bill comes around). But I don’t believe that’s how God wants us to live. Again, there is no condemnation here, but, as you can, make sure you’re chipping away at your debt; you want to bring as little of that into your future as possible.
Be generous. (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Generosity is a paramount part of the Bible. God has been so generous to us, it only makes sense that His children should display that to the world around them. If you are in love with your money, I encourage you to up your generosity quotient. The joy felt when you give to someone who can give you nothing in return is incredible! When we are generous, we are being the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world.
Be honest. (Galatians 6:2) If you’re married, be honest with your spouse about your financial situation and work together to improve it. If you’re single, ask a friend to hold you accountable with your spending and be honest with them when you mess up. And, most of all, be honest with yourself. Honesty and transparency in this area will only help you.
Be wise. (James 1:5) Some financial decisions are tough and some are easy. For example, if you’re broke but still manage to go to Starbucks five times a week, maybe try cutting down on that. Or, if you’re struggling to make ends meet but eat out at least once a day, try packing a lunch instead. I used to eat out 1-3 times a day, 5-7 days a week, it’s amazing how much money I’ve saved limiting my Starbucks and eating out to just two times a week. I’m not saying this should be the rule for everyone, but it has been very helpful for me. Know your habits and tendencies and if they’re not wise then slowly begin to change them. You can do this!
Money is an entrustment from God for us to use to honor Him. I hope that you begin to implement some of these things this week and pray that God will richly bless you for it. Let’s be a generation that sets an example to the world by using money as God intended it to be used!