The Purpose of Wealth

17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
18 
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.
19 
By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

I Timothy 6:17-19 (NLT)

The purpose of getting your finances in order and building wealth is so that you can be a blessing to God and others.

You see, it’s not just about you and me.

So using the passage quoted above, here is how I summarize the purpose of wealth:

The Purpose of Wealth

7 Principles For Financial Success

How are you building your financial household? Is what you are doing working? Do you see positive results?

Our family has been on a financial transformation journey for a little over 9 years now and I have had some time to reflect on how far we have come.

We have experienced the rewards of applying God-given, time-tested principles for winning with your finances.

I wanted to share these 7 Principles for Financial Success with you today because I firmly believe you too can win with your money if you are diligent in applying them.

If you want to know more, you can check my e-book in which I share more about how these principles have changed our lives.

If you are winning with money, I would love to hear how have you applied these or other principles to succeed. Share those blessings with others!

“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
Psalm 19:7

7 Principles for Financial Success

The Problem with Wealth

The Problem with WealthThen He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Luke 12:15 (NASB)

As we get to the end of Financial Literacy Month, I wanted to touch on the fundamental topic of generosity.

Generosity is a financial muscle that should be exercised often so it can be developed.

You see, as much as I want you to do well with your money and to prosper financially, I have a greater concern.

I want to make sure that money does not become the primary preoccupation in your heart.

I want you to have the proper perspective with money now, so as you prosper it can be a blessing to you and not a curse. I don’t want you to have a problem with wealth.

Jesus knows us and he knew the great temptation wealth can be for everyone. I think that’s one of the reasons He spoke so often on the proper context for material wealth.

On one occasion, while He was teaching, a man asked Him to make a judgment on a family inheritance between him and his brother.

It seemed that one brother that was probably serving as the executor of the state, was withholding the goods from everyone else.

Interestingly enough, Jesus refused to be drawn into the family dispute. Instead, he took the opportunity to teach us a great lesson about how to handle wealth.

You can find the full text of His teaching in Luke 12:13-21.

Subscribe to future Blog Posts

The Question of Wealth

16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive.
17 And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’

Here is the story of a man that worked hard and his land was very productive. Obviously he had been blessed in his diligence.

In the first place, I want to remind you that there is no condemnation for creating wealth from the work of your hands.

But also note that the produce of the land was more than enough to sustain himself. He had more than he could store in his existing barns.

So logically, the question was, what to do about that abundance?

The Problem with Wealth: Greed

 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’

Here is the problem, instead of the man considering how to bless others with his abundance, he had turned inward.

Just in verse 18 there are 3 uses of the pronoun “I” and 3 uses of the possessive “my”. At this point it was all about himself.

Instead of responding with gratitude and contentment, the man had the wrong response to the blessing he received: greed.

Webster defines greed as the “a selfish desire to have more of something (especially money)”. The Scriptures condemn greed as idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

The man’s plan was simply hoard goods and worry about himself only.

And that’s the problem with wealth: it can turn us away from others and God. It can simply lead us to just want more and more.

The Futility of Greed

20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

So is this passage teaching that we will die on the spot if we are greedy? That God needs our money?

Absolutely not. The first point it teaches is that we are all here today and gone tomorrow. Our lives on earth are very brief in the context of eternity.

We show a heart of wisdom when we understand that reality (Psalm 90:12). Our times are in God’s hands.

Second, it also teaches that no matter how much we store here on this earth, we can’t take anything with us. It will all go to someone else.

Finally, God does not need our money. He owns it all (Psalm 24:1). The lesson indeed is that we should put money and wealth in the proper context.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

The Proper Response to Wealth

When we are rich towards God, we are putting the priority of what matters to Him.

It means that we use our wealth according to what He wants to do, not according to what we want to do.

The man was preoccupied only with himself and God showed him the futility of his thinking.

Instead, you and I can think first about Him and about others. We can choose to be a blessing to everyone else.

Yes, take care of yourself and your family for sure (I Tim 5:8).

But don’t stop there. Share with others. At every opportunity, do what you can, for who you can, with as much as you can (I John 3:17-18).

That’s the proper response to wealth.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB)

 Question: How can you develop your generosity muscle today?

3 Fundamental Principles of Biblical Stewardship

3 Fundamental Principles of Biblical StewardshipNow this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
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.

Subscribe to future Blog Posts

Principle #1: We Reap According to what We Sow

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.

Principle #2: We Should Give with a Joyful Heart

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!

Principle #3: We Should Trust God’s Grace in Provision

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  

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

10 Goals for Your Money in 2014

10 Goals For Your Money in 2014Well here we are. It’s the last month of 2013. I want to be one of the very first to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

And before we get too busy with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let me ask you a question. How did you do with your money goals this year?

Yes, yes. I know I am meddling a little bit. By the way, I am asking myself that question as well. At the beginning of 2013 I set 4 specific goals for our finances this year. We are going to end up meeting 2 of them, getting close on a third one, and missing one completely.

I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas but this is a very busy season for all of us. Time will get away from you and me and in less than 30 days a New Year will start. I want you to have a plan and a set of objectives for your money.

Nothing ever gets done well without a plan and a target and that includes the management of your finances. Your money goals should be specific, measurable, realistic, and include a target date.

So, without any further delay here are 10 Goals for Your Money in 2014:

Budget

  1. Live on a monthly budget for 90 days (Jan-Mar 2014). If you have never lived on a budget before, it will take you about 3 months to master this new skill.
  2. Start using a cash envelope for one of your spending categories (e.g. groceries) in January. Using cash helps you control your spending. Cash is finite but when we use plastic, we tend to spend more.

 

Savings

  1. Finish your emergency fund by the end of March 2014. If you still have consumer debt, you should have $1,000 in a beginner’s emergency fund. If you are out of consumer debt, you need 3-6 months of expenses in your fully funded emergency fund.
  2. If you are out of consumer debt and have your fully funded emergency fund, ensure you are contributing 15% of your annual income into retirement by the end of 2014.

 

Subscribe to Blog Posts CTA SM

Debt

  1. Try living without using a credit card for 90 days (Jan-Mar 2014). If you are on a budget, and living on less than you make, you don’t need a credit card.
  2. Pay off your 3 smallest debts in your debt snowball by the end of June 2014.
  3. Review your credit report by the end of January 2014. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus once a year.

 

Protecting the Household

  1. Complete an insurance needs assessment by the end of April 2014. There are 7 types of insurance that are required to protect your financial household. Make sure you have the right coverage to protect yourself and your family.
  2. Complete the preparation of a will by the end of February 2014. If you have a will, review it for any changes required due to any changes in your family situation.

 

Stewardship/Giving

  1. If you are a Christian, begin tithing to your local church this year. For a Christian, this is not a salvation issue, it’s an obedience issue. If you are already tithing, look for ways to increase your giving. If you are not a person of faith, you can still find someone who needs your help. Ensure giving it’s an element of your financial plan for 2014.

 

I have given you some ideas for goals that cover all areas of your financial plan. But remember: it’s your money and it’s your life. So it’s up to you.

Make adjustments to the items on this list and add to the list. But please, don’t begin 2014 without a plan for your money. Do it today!

Question: What other financial goals would you like to meet in 2014?

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter