Christian Managment of Resources
CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE
HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN MANAGE MONEY AND OTHER RESOURCES?
Tonight, we’re going to embark on an in depth and practical study about how a Christian should manage money but not just money, we’re going to look at resources generally. This lesson has been put together from a study of the bible plus the practical learning from being in banking, managing household finances and being a Christian for nearly 30 years. So, I hope it’s a blessing to you.
There are 6 parts to this lesson:
- Why is it important to live within my income?
- How does disobedience to God’s Word bring financial loss?
- How can I develop sales resistance or purchase control?
- Why should I keep a thorough record of my resources?
- What are ten characteristics of God-honoring generosity?
- What is financial freedom?
Part 1 Why is it important to live within my income?
Living within Your Income is key to financial freedom. You cannot live without financial bondage to some extent unless you are living within your income.
The way you learn to live within your income involves recognizing your true needs and practicing contentment when those needs are met. Now, it follows, if you don’t know when your needs are met, you’ll never be content. This financial discipline helps you avoid debt and allows you to share what you’ve got left over with those in need.
Your Standard of Living
Contentment involves realizing God has given you everything you need for your present joy. As God’s grace abounds in your life, you are made fruitful for the Lord. See II Corinthians 9:8.
Your standard of living should be built around contentment with the basics and they are: food, clothing, and shelter. Now, you might add transportation to that list, as modern living is impractical unless you can move around.
If our income exceeds what we require to provide for these 4 needs, what we ideally need to do is pray about how we can use this extra to meet the needs of others and advance God’s work, instead of our own pleasures. If your income is inadequate to provide for your basic needs, then you must look for ways to decrease your expenses and pray for God’s continued provision to help you make ends meet.
Poverty and Wealth in the Life of the Christian
Your King James Bible clearly teaches that a Christian’s possessions are gifts of God’s grace to meet his needs, and they are the basis for giving to others. God does not condemn a Christian for possessing wealth. However, He does rebuke those who heap up riches for themselves without due purpose – see Psalm 39:6 and Luke 12:20–21
We must not trust in riches (see I Timothy 6:17)
We must not gain riches unjustly (see James 5:4)
Just as God may grant you riches, He may also allow for poverty in the lives of faithful Christians so they might learn something. In the final analysis, faith is more important and more valuable than riches because “Without faith it is impossible to please him [God] . . .” (Hebrews 11:6)
Purposes for Different Periods of Wealth
God chooses different means to accomplish different purposes for His glory. Wealth—or the lack of it—is a tool in God’s hands for testing, chastening, and redemption, depending on God’s intentions in a given situation. Psalm 75:6–7 / Deuteronomy 8:18.
Throughout our lives, we may experience cycles of riches, financial tests, poverty, and growth in faith. These cycles are meant to help us learn contentment and to trust in God’s eternal riches, not earthly ones.
Finding Satisfaction in Contentment
A person can be poor by the world’s standards, but be content because he has adequate food, clothing, and shelter. On the other hand, a person can have an abundance of money, and still be discontent and unhappy because he refuses to be satisfied with the provision of basic needs.
In the Book of Proverbs, Agur looked for what was sufficient for his needs. Proverbs 30:8–9
As we seek to live contentedly within our incomes, the words that Paul wrote to Timothy offer great encouragement: I Timothy 6:6–10
Part 2 Can disobedience to God’s Word bring financial loss?
Part 3 How can I develop self-control when shopping?
How to build self-control when shopping is about being strong to avoid purchasing overpriced, overrated items or unnecessary wasteful items. This is not to say we should treat ourselves from time to time, as a worker is to take reward, but we will see the bible shows us that financial freedom is linked to the ability to make wise purchases.
It is wise to pause and consider before making larger purchases especially; then you can avoid unwise spending and the regrets that usually follow foolish choices.
Expect salespeople to overrate their products.
A salesperson is trained to make sales. To be successful, he or she might point out the positive features of a product and minimize or ignore its negative features. Most customers can be swept into a purchase easily if they do not objectively compare what they’re buying to other items on the market.
[SEE HANDOUT] ASK WISE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BUY:
Learn to enjoy the possessions you have.
The goal of most advertising is to make you and me discontent with what they already have. Ads suggest that the things you own now, are either inadequate or outdated—or both. Advertisers try to convince us that their products will bring us the happiness and success we are looking for. However, Jesus warned, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
We should rather work hard and make purchases carefully. We should appreciate the good things we possess. We need to recognize their value and take good care of them. Scripture warns, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” (Proverbs 12:27).
Recognize the value of things that money can’t buy.
Life is more—far more—than the things we possess. Don’t underestimate the value of treasures that cannot be purchased or valued in pound notes, such as the ability to enjoy the splendor of God’s creation, fellowship with other Christians, and the ability to savor the depths of the King James Bible . We can’t put a price on the value of a supportive family, a true friend, a cheerful giver, or a diligent worker. As you invest in these kinds of treasures, you’ll gain a greater sense of overall contentment.
Develop personal disciplines.
The bible gives us this instruction:
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). Every aspect of our lives should be subject to direction from The King James Bible. We must practice the disciplines prescribed there, so that we will bring glory to God.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (I Timothy 6:6–8).
Part 4 Why should I keep a thorough record of my resources?
Maintaining an effective system of recording your blessings and those things God has made you a steward of, is an investment in your future and in the welfare of your family. By a system, I don’t mean some fancy business accounting solution. I’m talking about a form of record keeping that enables you to know what resources have been entrusted to you by the Lord.
It equips you to be an excellent steward of the resources God entrusts to you and helps you accomplish the following goals:
1. To Know What You Have
A records system is the basis for personal inventory and self-examination. It is a source of accountability for the resources you have and how you use them. This system is not limited to a list of your financial assets. It can and should reflect the larger scope of what God has entrusted to you [see checklist] such as:
Family and friends
2. To Use What You Have
Keeping an account of your resources enables you to know what you have so that you can use what you have. It equips you to make wise investments and thus increase your resources.
Your motives play a key role in the ultimate success or failure of an investment. Jesus Christ told parables about men who increased their wealth by investments—Jesus described one man as a foolish man and the other as a faithful man. Christ’s evaluation of their lives was not recorded on their prowess or skill as an accountant. He based His assessment on the hidden motives of each man’s heart.
The foolish man was a proud man who hoarded riches and highly esteemed a life of ease. (See Luke 12:16–21.) The faithful man knew that the resources belonged to another, and as a steward he increased the value of those resources. He performed his duties as a diligent, trustworthy, profitable servant. (See Matthew 25:20–21 and Luke 17:7–10.) and this is how we should look at our investments in anything.
3. To Know What You Can Trade
Managing your resources with some kind of system of record, equips you to make wise choices. God intends for wealth to be increased as a result of trading, buying, or selling—not by inflation. People should increase their assets through greater productivity, resourcefulness, and savings.
Jesus told parables about men who sold what they had, to buy something of greater value. (See Matthew 13:44–46.) If you do not keep records of your assets, a “collector’s or hoarders instinct” can easily influence your financial decisions. When greed goes unchecked, creativity and resourcefulness are stifled, and it also becomes easier to yield to the temptation to accumulate things that have little or no value.
4. To Live Within Your Income
One reason to keep financial accounts is to make sure that you do not spend more than your income allows. Christ emphasized this point in His parable of the unfinished tower: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28–30).
In this story you can see the value of taking into account the following details when managing money:
- You need a clear Plans
When you visualize how you could use your assets to care for your needs and advance the gospel, we should carefully evaluate our ideas.
- Accurate Estimates
Wise planning requires a thorough, current assessment of the potential costs. Do the initial work needed in order to come up with an estimate of what will be required to complete a project or pay for something.
- Available Assets
When God is doing the directing, He provides sufficient funds to finish the job. Begin to gather the needed supplies for a project, and trust God to continue providing what is needed. Moses collected materials before he began to construct the tabernacle. David gathered materials that would be needed to build the temple.
- Public Reputation
An effective accounting system can help you avoid unwise decisions.
5. To Give an Account to God
An accounting system is a daily reminder that we must someday, give God a full and detailed account of all that He has entrusted to us. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
Details do make a difference. It’s not excuse, as a Christian, to say glibly, I don’t do detail. The bible says “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:10–11). So point here is: diligence in your personal resources and money especially is key.
6. To Establish Your Character
One of the most revealing tests of a person’s character is his attitude toward the use of money. Many people are influenced by greed and will do anything they can to gain more money. Therefore where finances are concerned, you should be particularly alert regarding the potential for false accusations and be prepared to provide accurate and thorough documentation of all transactions.
When you make financial agreements, make sure they are clearly understood, accurately documented, and safely stored in an organized filing system. If you are accused of mishandling money, be prepared to defend your integrity and it’s absolutely right you should. God instructs us to “provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17).
Those who are being considered for church leadership must not be driven by greed, and they should pass the tests of wise and Godly money management. (See I Timothy 3:3.) The character that is revealed by financial responsibility, is so important that believers are warned to not even eat a meal with a person who claims to be a Christian but is dishonest in business dealings. “I have written unto to you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be . . . covetous . . . or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat” (I Corinthians 5:11).
7. To Keep Your Family in Order
A husband and father has a specific role in the leadership of the family. The Apostle Paul wrote: “The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church . . . . Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:23, 25).
It’s the head’s responsibility to be fully aware of the needs of the body and give direction to meet those needs. If your hand is on a hot ring of a cooker and the signals of pain don’t reach your brain, your hand will be hurt. Similarly, if damage is happening in a man’s family, home, or business and he is not aware of it, he is not fulfilling his role according to God’s design.
Consequently, his leadership will be challenged in his home, business, and church. “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (I Timothy 3:5).
Careful accounting can help husbands and wives work together to wisely manage their resources.
8. To Plan for the Future
Keeping financial accounts prepares you to wisely plan ahead for future needs. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6–8).
The Biblical examples of Joseph (who helped the Egyptians prepare for a seven-year famine) and King David (who stored up materials for the construction of the temple) demonstrate the value of wisely accounting for your present resources and using them to accomplish a future goal. This is a very important biblical point.
In life, you will experience cycles of plenty and need as you go through seasons of sowing and reaping. God intends for these seasons to help you learn how to be content in varying conditions and to prepare for the future.
This preparation also allows you :
- To Reduce the temptation of theft
The temptation to steal is common to all people and only a fool assumes that a Christian won’t steal just because he’s a Christian. And by steal, we are not limiting our thinking to shoplifting. How many have been paid for a 45 hour week and not worked 45 hours?
Another plus of keeping good records of your resources is, you can discourage others from stealing from you. If you know what you have, you will notice if something is missing and you will ask others to account for it. Losing something because someone steals it from you and then saying ah ok don’t matter is not a spiritual response. You were the steward of what God has given you and so you are accountable.
In Scripture, we find examples of unlikely thieves, such as Gehazi the servant of the prophet Elisha, who stole when he thought he would not get caught. (See II Kings 5:20–27.) We also find examples of wise stewardship, such as Ezra, who oversaw the safe transportation of the temple’s gold and silver vessels by carefully accounting for each piece. (See Ezra 8:24–34.)
9. To Focus on True Riches
How you handle money reveals your true values, and it impacts your future. Jesus warned us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
PART 5 What are ten characteristics of God-honoring generosity?
Here are some characteristics of God-Honoring Giving – these reflecting God’s generosity towards us.
A life of generosity reflects God’s nature in a special way. Are you eager to give to meet the needs of others? The following characteristics of giving provide a helpful guide as we “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
1. The Motivation of Genuine Love
It is possible to give without loving, as we find in I Corinthians 13:3: “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor . . . and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3). On the other hand, God’s example demonstrates that the presence of genuine love motivates giving: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This type of giving reflects God’s generosity “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (I John 3:17–18).
2. The Aim of Bringing Pleasure to God
God is pleased with our giving because it reflects His own generous heart, it generates thanksgiving to Him, and it is a vital part of fellowship and communion within the Church.
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver . . .” (II Corinthians 9:6–7).
The cycle of generosity continues because “. . . God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God” (II Corinthians 9:8–12).
3. The Goal to Strengthen Unity in the Body of Christ
The human body illustrates the unity and interdependence that God designed to characterize the Church. As members of the Body of Christ, we need one another. When we have much, we should give generously and graciously, and when we have needs, we should receive with humility and gratitude.
Jesus’ love toward us is an example that should inspire our interaction with one another. “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor” (Ephesians 5:1–2).
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (I John 3:16).
In the early Church, the needs of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem inspired the generosity of the Gentile believers whom the Apostle Paul had met on his missionary journeys. This situation forged a precious bond among the believers. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “. . . Now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want; that there may be equality” (II Corinthians 8:14).
4. A Response to Enemies
Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but it also can conquer our enemies. King Solomon wrote, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee” (Proverbs 25:21–22).
One of the rewards that come by giving to an enemy is that of gaining a greater love for him. This happens because where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. This kind of love and investment can win the heart of an enemy.
5. A Way to Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
The things of this world can capture our affections, and take our affection away from God and tempt us to gather riches for ourselves. The Apostle Paul exhorts us with this instruction: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1–2.)
Jesus Christ warns us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
6. Doing Good to Glorify God
As a child of God, the goal of doing good works is not to draw attention to yourself but rather to bring glory to God. Jesus said: “Ye are the light of the world. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). As we serve and give to meet the needs of others, let us do so in a way that reflects the nature of Christ and showcases God’s greatness and grace.
7. Acting From the Foundation of Faith
The Apostle Paul addressed these points when he praised the church in Philippi for their generosity. As he gladly received their aid, he said: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:17–20).
By faith we discern what God wants us to give and when He wants us to give it. As these gifts meet precise needs at just the right time, the faith of both giver and receiver is increased and God is glorified.
8. Developing the Fear of the Lord
The fear of the Lord is the awareness that God sees everything and that He will hold us accountable for our thoughts, motives, words, and actions. It is a fear for God which leads to a desire to honor God in all that we do, including our giving. This awareness of God should impact every area of our lives. “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
In the Old Testament, the practice of giving tithes and offerings was named as a key to learning to fear the Lord. “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed . . . . And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always” (Deuteronomy 14:22–23).
9. “Proving” God
When we honour God by obeying His Word and giving generously, He delights to demonstrate His power by providing abundantly for our needs. In the Book of Malachi, God invites the Israelites to “prove” Him with their obedience in giving tithes and offerings:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts (Malachi 3:10–12).
Many other Scriptures reference God’s faithfulness to provide for those who give, such as Proverbs 3:9–10: “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
10. Giving With a Generous Heart
In reference to giving, the Bible mentions having a “bountiful eye” or an “evil eye.” A bountiful eye represents a generous outlook that is alert to the needs of others. “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9).
On the other hand, an evil eye is a stingy, greedy outlook that avoids seeing the needs of others. “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22).
As you give, set your focus on God the Father and His example of generosity: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases: who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1–5).
6 What is financial freedom?
Understanding Financial Freedom is when you discover God’s plan for money.
True financial freedom involves understanding and applying God’s principles for handling money. God’s Word mentions money more than eight hundred times—God is serious about teaching us the right way to handle money. Be warned: The choice to follow God’s plan for money may require you to reject some financial practices that are widely accepted.
To be financially free, you must:
•Understand how financial obligations influence your priorities.
•Choose a good name over riches.
•Live within your means.
•Make wise purchases.
•Avoid debt. Avoid does not mean have none. Avoid means only borrow when you must.
•Try to get the best buy, and best doesn’t always mean cheapest because quality must be considered.
As you apply God’s principles, you will experience true freedom.
Freedom to Bring Glory to God
Exchanging eternal riches for the temporary pleasures of wealth only produces more greed. The more you gain, the more you want because the flesh only every wants more and more. When a believer is forced to borrow money to meet his basic needs, God’s reputation is dishonored, because God has promised to supply everything we need. However, if you follow God’s principles of finance, you will bring Him glory as others see His faithful, abundant, and timely provision in your life. (See Philippians 4:19.)
Freedom to Honor the Lord
A commitment to tithe affirms His ownership of all that you possess. In Proverbs 3:9-10, we are instructed, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” The testimony of financial freedom honors the Lord.
Freedom to Give to Others
Money is a gift from God. One of the benefits of financial freedom is the ability to give generously and cheerfully as you see needs in the lives of others. Financial freedom equips you with a plan to fulfill your financial obligations without fear of “not having enough.” You can even include “gifts to others” in your budget and then be alert to God’s direction to invest in the lives of others as needs arise.
Freedom to Live Peacefully
Provision for every need is a demonstration of God’s power and love. Those who are financially free can avoid the stress and other difficulties that accompany financial pitfalls.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy, “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:9-10). We, too, must heed these warnings.
Freedom to Focus on Family Priorities
When a financial crisis occurs, family priorities often take a back seat. Working late hours, overtime, and the demands of taking on a second or third job add unwelcome pressures to the family as relationships suffer from lack of attention. However, families who maintain financial freedom can avoid those pressures and invest in their relationships instead of mainly focusing on ways to pay the bills.
As you study the bible, be attentive to its guidelines for financial freedom. Do not put your trust in riches, but “trust … in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (I Timothy 6:17).