6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NASB)
As a Christian, what’s your view of stewardship? Does the word bring up feelings of guilt? Or is being a steward a cause of joy for you?
If we are not careful, we can make this concept of stewardship too complicated. I do believe that part of maturing as a Christian involves growing in our understanding of biblical stewardship.
A mature believer understands that he/she is an asset manager or a steward and that God owns it all (Psalm 24:1). He does not need our money.
But I would like to help us understand the essence of biblical stewardship. Let me use the verses above to share with you the 3 fundamental principles of biblical stewardship.
In the context of this passage, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the believers at Corinth to gear up and get ready to support the offering for the saints in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 9:1-5).
In this first principle, he borrows a concept from farming. Namely, we reap what we sow. Not only that, but we also reap in the same measure as we sow.
The idea here is that in stewardship, you get back as much as you put in. And he is not only talking about a financial return. He is speaking about all of the benefits that come your way when you give.
Jesus put this way: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” (Luke 6:38).
You can’t out-give God. He is the Great Giver and He delights in blessing the obedience of His children.
Even though Paul encourages us to give generously, he immediately introduces the second principle.
Yes, we should give but we should do it with a joyful heart. Note that he also indicates that each of us should give as we have purposed in our hearts.
You see, giving is very personal. It’s between you and God and no one else. Yes, He wants you to give and to be a good steward but not under compulsion, out of guilt.
My stepdad worked in construction all of his life. He was usually tinkering around the house doing something: maybe unloading the tools and wood he used after a hard day of work, or maybe working a project around the house during the weekends.
My mom always felt that I should help him, but to be honest, that was not my first inclination. I always had to be told to go help him which I did grudgingly.
However, every time I helped him, I ended up having a good time and learning something in the process. If I had known better, I would have given my time to that effort happily.
In stewardship, you can enjoy it more if you do it from the heart, from the beginning regardless of the amount. You will receive more than you can ever imagine.
Just try it!
Here is the fun part in biblical stewardship: once we decide to jump in with both feet, we can trust God will provide what we need for every good deed.
Isn’t that something? God will provide all that you and I need to be a good steward. He is more interested in the condition of our hearts than in anything else. And when we give, we are transformed for the better.
When we obey God in the matter of stewardship, we unlock the power of His grace to work in our lives. We can be a blessing to the rest of the body of Christ and to all who are in need of His love and compassion.
Question: What principle of biblical stewardship will you put in practice today?
“You can’t out give God. Why not try it and see for yourself?”
Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship
I have discovered that in a lot of ways, winning with money is like losing weight. Let me show you why I believe that.
I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, although I do like to set goals. This year I went a little more formal in my goal-setting approach. I used Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life to establish goals for 2014 in 7 areas.
One of those areas on the wheel of life is the physical. I gave myself a very specific target weight reduction goal and a target date of June-30-2014. Once I had a goal set, I needed a plan for execution.
I have had a life long struggle with my weight. I have tried a number of approaches and techniques, but there has only been one method that really worked for me. About 13 years ago I lost about 70 pounds using that method.
I got to my desired weight goal and I felt great as for the 1st time in my life I had slayed the weight giant. But as if often happens in life, you can get distracted. I got away from what worked for me and over the last few years I gained all that weight back.
So, as I looked for goals for the New Year, I knew I had to do something about my weight so I committed again to the one program that worked for me so many years ago.
I have only been back in it for a few weeks but I am happy to report that I am already on track and about at 15% of my goal. There is still alot of work ahead of me, but great progress so far. I promise to keep you posted.
So how is winning with money like losing weight?
What have I learned that can help you on your journey towards financial wellness?
You have to do the same if you are going to achieve victory with your finances.
I taught adult Sunday School for a number of years and at the end of a lesson I always liked to leave the class with a challenge or application in the form of this question: “so what?”
What does all of this mean to you? It means that you need to decide what your approach for your money will be. Either you will get on a plan that works for you or you won’t. Either you will change your financial situation or you won’t.
But the fact of the matter is that you can change your money situation if you make the decision to do something about it. If you get mad enough or scared enough about where you are headed, you will change.
I know I finally got concerned enough about my health to do something about my weight. I am back on a plan. I have had good weeks and bad weeks so far, but I am sticking with what works.
Question: What will you do to change your financial situation?
The Scripture verse above highlights the word discipline. So what’s discipline?
In looking at a couple of dictionary definitions, you can see that discipline can be defined as the ability to keep working at something that is difficult.
Another definition states that discipline is an activity that is done regularly as a way of training yourself to do something or to improve your behavior.
So the notion both from the Bible and from the secular definitions is that, discipline involves hard work, dealing with a difficult situation, on a regular basis, for a period of time, with the ultimate reward of improving your current situation.
Discipline enables you to:
If you are in bad shape with your finances, realize that you did not get here overnight. But also realize that you can turn things around starting today.
You can make the decision to get on different plan that gives you and your family hope for the future. But wishing for a different outcome is only part of the equation.
You need a plan and you need to act on your plan with urgency and discipline. If you need help, I can coach you through the process.
Don’t wait any longer. The time is now and the only person that can change your financial plan is you. Let’s get going!
Question: What other examples can you share about applying discipline in your financial plan?
This is a special post for my fellow men. You may be racking your brain on what to get your wife for Valentine’s Day.
Have I got a deal for you! I believe the best Valentine’s Day gift is a good financial plan.
With that in mind, here are 5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife on Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!
A while back, I posted the budget guidelines to give you a quick reference guide to plan your monthly budget. That was a very simple but very popular post.
Today I want to give you a similar quick reference on the topic of savings.
“He who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation.”
George S. Clason (“The Richest Man in Babylon”)