Stewardship, Contentment and Generosity
Our lives are fundamentally determined by our decisions and choices that we make on money and our possessions. This area of our lives, and the decisions that we make, has the ability to significantly affect the future outcomes, quality and direction of our lives.
It is amazing to think that the Bible, written so many years ago, has so much wisdom on these topics. As Christians we can absorb that wisdom and truly put it to use in our lives for the better.
Never before have the pressures of how we manage money been so important, with so many consumer spending pressures and ‘things’ to spend our money on and so many ways to get into debt and end up with our finances being out of control.
The good news is that the Bible contains over 2,000 verses on what God says about how we should handle our money, wealth and possessions. 15% of Jesus’ teachings in the Bible are about handling money and possessions. There are more verses dealing with money than on prayer and faith combined. How we handle money reflects what we really believe.
Understanding ‘stewardship’ is a foundation of having financial wellbeing. God is the owner of everything, we are His stewards, to take care of what He entrusts to us, our time, talents and money. The principles of stewardship are fundamental to our enjoying freedom from financial fears and worries.
The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25: 14-30 explains that everything we have is not to do what we choose, but we have been entrusted with these from God and need to manage our finances wisely. We need to understand the fundamental principles of managing money.
When we grasp that we are stewards, not owners, it totally changes our perspectives on handling money and helps us to spend wisely, save and give generously.
Unfortunately in modern society we are programmed to have the wrong attitudes about money and how and when we spend it, or we spend it when we don’t yet have it. By applying the principles of biblical stewardship to our personal finances we can overcome the obstacles keeping us from increasing our wealth and giving us the freedom to prosper. We can then also help others by giving generously.
The first step to good financial stewardship is to develop a regular surplus. If you spend less than you earn, over and over, you will have a surplus that increases your financial position over time, and your ability to make choices about where to spend, to save and to give generously. These are some of the skills that we teach on The Money Course that we will be running soon.
Jesus’ many comments about money and possessions shows He neither
recommended the ‘poverty perspective’ (or asceticism - a rejection of the material world) nor the opposite, ‘materialism’ (being too preoccupied with acquiring wealth and material possessions).
Jesus also warned against materialism and it is clear that materialism can be an idol and hinder people from gaining a deep relationship with God - the best wealth of all.
"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
The problem is not money, but the love of money, as Paul said famously:
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10
Being content is living within our means, not always wanting or wishing we earned or had more and not always comparing ourselves with other people.
"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.” Hebrews 13:5
Many Bible verses talk about diligently earning a living and investing to increase one’s wealth. Without at least some wealth, we could not care for our families and give to the church and to those in need thereby blessing them. What we should not do is fall into debt. It makes it more difficult for us to choose our own priorities or to be a blessing and generous to others.
The Bible is full of warnings about spending too much and falling into debt.
"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." Proverbs 22:7
Being in debt can lead to huge pressures, worries, stress and anxiety and ultimately means we do not have financial wellbeing. The consequences of debt can impact our lives in so many ways and for so many years. The causes of debt can often result from factors outside of our control and we feel powerless to manage the debt.
We have been helping people manage their debt for many years from the King’s Money Advice and continue to do so. If you are struggling with or feeling overwhelmed by debt, or know someone who is, please do get in touch with us and we can arrange for a debt advice advisor to help.
One of the most important reasons to be good stewards, to live with contentment and to spend and save wisely is so that we can give generously. If we don’t save, we can’t give.
There is a link between generosity and our sense of financial wellbeing. People who are more generous tend to be happier, healthier and have less anxiety. Our motivation should be gratitude and a desire to help others who are less fortunate.
Money is a huge daily issue in the lives of so many people with so many families worrying about money, not communicating about it, or fighting over it. Too many people don’t know which way to turn to handle the stress and anxiety of dealing with the fall out from money challenges.
Our prayer is that we can lay the foundation, and with The Money Course and the King’s Money Centre we can provide direction, guidance and unpack how God wants us to handle our finances.