If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. — Romans 10:9
Biblical Stewardship & Christian Financial Planning
Biblical Stewardship: Preamble
Biblical stewardship affirms God's ownership and Christ-followers’ oversight of things we control. Bible truths are its essence, not the latest fads. God’s manager or steward carries out this vital role each day. Its focus is money, time, talent, other resources, and the environment. Christian Financial Planning is central to biblical stewardship because it puts us at the center of God plans. Further, it provides a formal path to set and monitor goals.
Stewardship is not a Christian term. Good stewardship controls people’s property for them. But it failed during the boom 1990s to late 2000s and the Great Recession resulted. Greed and negligence became rampant. Wall Street and financial sector folks abused people’s trust; they lied, stole, cheated. Consumers, too, used poor stewardship. They assumed too much consumer loans and bought homes they could not afford.
By contrast, biblical stewardship admits you work for the Lord always. You account to Him. Colossians 3:23-24 is biblical stewardship’s source. So, are stewardship and biblical stewardship different? Only in the accounting; the essence is the same. Christians know we manage God's property. And non-Christians should manage property other people entrust to them for those folks’ best interest.
Since the Great Recession, firms see the need for proper stewardship. And several authors have written on this topic. They insist financial services firms treat clients right. Clients deserved proper treatment before this problem. But, it’s never too late to start. John Taft et al in their book, Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street Stewardship (John Wiley & Sons, 2012) defined stewardship as serving others. They argue that financial services companies must do right for their customers. Later, in 2014, Joon Yun, M.D., writing in Forbes.com defined stewardship as the responsibility to shepherd and safeguard the interests of others.
The need for active stewardship in business is more obvious daily. Non-Christian leaders focus on sustainability. They agree it must permeate products and activities. So, they must leave resources at least the same or better than when they met and used them.
Each Christ follower must look beyond sustainability. Colossians 3:23-24 is his and her mantra—work unto the Lord always. Believers must recall biblical stewardship’s wide coverage. It encompasses time, talents, money, other resources—everything he and she uses. So, he and she must stay alert to God’s presence always.
Biblical Stewardship Key to Managing God's Money
Jesus’ followers don’t use the word stewardship, often. They use biblical stewardship even less. They say money management instead of biblical stewardship for money matters. But, we can’t manage money. People spend, money doesn’t. Money is the means or vehicle to get stuff. The truth is money handling is lifestyle management. Thus, Bible tenets should guide spending. Mull over this article titled: Does Your Spending Reflect Your Values? Are you prepared to spend more on an item with a supplier who believes as you do? Or, do you spend less with a firm with opposite values? Think about this.
Biblical stewardship is central to Managing God's Money mission. We teach it and we preach it because it shows hearts surrendered to Jesus, ready to do as He asks. It starts in this mission when we follow Jesus and be wise stewards of His resources. We recall biblical stewardship daily as we teach, preach, counsel, and present God's word on money, time, and other resources. Please pray we stay faithful to Jesus.
God's Stewards Carry Out Christian Financial Planning
Who is a steward? A steward is someone who gets responsibility and authority from an owner to manage the owner’s property in the owner’s best interest. He or she must account to the owner often for his or her performance compared with the owner’s standards. God’s steward needs to know His Word, obey Him, obey His Word, and understand he will account for his and her use of resources. The essence of biblical stewardship is to follow God's guidance always.
Stewards must accept their roles. They must accept they own nothing and so, they should let Jesus guide their spending. Besides, stewards must count the cost before spending, listen for His voice, and He will lead them to His will, and away from their wishes. Are you ready for this? Am I? Difficult, but God is faithful, kind, compassionate, and will not leave you or me.
Christians have the Good news. The Bible shows Jesus' messages on money, wealth, and possessions. The Bible has answers to our stewardship questions. It shows Christians a picture of good stewards of God's money, time, and talent. To access this wisdom, we must spend quantity time and quality time reading the Bible. By God's grace, we will learn and practice biblical stewardship.
The GAS Principle, three key biblical money truths, is the foundation for everything we do at Managing God's Money. The essence of our mission; how we apply biblical stewardship of God's resources. Let’s review the GAS Principle and its implications.
G od owns everything - (Psalm 24:1-2, Colossians 1:16)
A ccept what you have - (Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:7-8)
S eek first His Kingdom, and submit your requests to Him - (Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 19:21)
You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in God’s image. Accept who you are. Accept where you are. And be content with what you have. Don’t follow others. Folks with “perfect bodies“ aren’t perfect. You are who you are. You are where you are. If you need to change your lifestyle, God can handle that. Ask Him to show you what to do with life, money, talents, and everything you have.
Accepting what you have means living in your circumstances but not allowing them to take your eyes off God. Recall the widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7; she had "a little oil” only, but Elisha helped her see she had plenty. And, so preoccupied was Elisha’s servant with his circumstance, He could not see the victory God prepared until Elisha prayed to open his eyes.
Each believer in Messiah should understand that God is faithful, keeps His Word, and His divine power has granted everything the believer needs for life and godliness. A believer can do God’s wishes because God’s Spirit lives in him. Do you believe this?
Key Biblical Truth # 3: Seek First His Kingdom
Are you ready to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness? Are you prepared to do His plans; they will succeed. When you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, you seek second, third, fourth, never, your plans. God has not promised to shower you with money. He will grant your needs. Have you seen a sparrow begging for food? His word says if you can't handle a little you can't handle much.
These three key biblical truths are not subjective, evolving principles, but eternal. Study them in context in the Bible. You will uncover lasting guidelines for daily living. God, the creator of the universe, owns everything. Living the GAS Principle will change your life, change your views, and change your role as His manager. It will cancel the need to borrow, except to buy a home. Then you will:
Be more alert making lifestyle choice with money implications—with spending decisions.
Allow Jesus to lead you.
Accept you own nothing but are responsible to God as His manager or steward of everything He allows you to have while you are here on earth.
Realize accountability is a key part of stewardship. So, you will account to the Owner, Jesus, for money and everything you control.