ARWhose Money Is It?How do we keep a healthy attitude about money? Why is it important to include God in our financial decisions?The author of this article reminds us that we come into this world with nothing in our hands. As a result, all the possession and wealth that we gain in this world comes from the Lord. In return, he encourages us to be faithful financial stewards of the Lord, and he admonishes us to have a healthy and godly perspective on money.
You came into the world with nothing, and you aren't going to take anything
with you when you go. What makes you think that the assets that you get in the
time between the snipping of your umbilical cord and the closing of your casket
belong to you?
The Bible has an interesting perspective on finances. It says that everything
belongs to God.
The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness; the world and
those who dwell therein." (Ps 24:1)
Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In
Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give
strength to all... But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be
able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of
Your own we have given You." (1 Chr 29:12,14)
However, the government certainly doesn't adhere to this position. It
requires income taxes from you because your name is on the paycheck.
So where do you fit into the "God owns everything" scenario?
That can be answered with one word: oikonomos. Although this sounds more
like the name of a prescription ointment for athlete's foot fungus, it is a
Greek word that translates into English as "stewardship."
The term implies a manager of a household who administers someone else's
property. God has made us the stewards of His possessions: "You have made
him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under
his feet" (Ps 8:6).
If what we have belongs to God, then we should manage it according to His
principles. This perspective means that every decision we make about our money—from
how to spend it to how to invest it—has spiritual ramifications.
We are not just accountable to God for the few bucks we might toss into the
offering box at church, and we are not off the hook with God so long as we pay
Him a surcharge of a certain percentage of our earnings. If God owns it all,
then we must be faithful stewards in handling all of it.
There are eight areas in which we should be faithful as financial stewards:
We should work diligently. (Prov 12:24, 13:4, 20:4)
We should spend wisely. (Isa 55:2)
We should save consistently. (Mt 25:15-30)
We should avoid debt. (Rom 13:8)
We should give generously. (Prov 11:25, 22:9; 2Cor 9:5)
We should deal with others honestly. (Rom 13:13; 1 Thess 4:12; Heb 13:18)
We should seek wise counsel from others. (Prov 19:20; Judg 18:5; 2 Chron 10:6)
We should teach our children how to manage money properly. (Mt
25:15-30; Deut 4:10)
If you believe the Bible when it says that everything belongs to God, then
you can believe the Bible when it says that God will take care of all of your
needs. Our part is to be good stewards of what God has given to us; God's part
is to make sure that we have everything that we need:
Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What
shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things
the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these
things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all
these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:31-33)
If we approach our finances as belonging to God instead of ourselves, it will
make us more responsible in how we handle our money, and it will change our
perspectives about what is important in life.
Living in Sacred Simplicity
If we handle our finances as if they belong to God and if we trust Him to
provide all of our needs, then we don't have to panic when the stock market
drops or the price of Oreos at the supermarket rises.
God is in charge, and we don't have to worry about our future:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and
the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts
and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
There is the real secret for shedding feelings of being a financial failure.
When you live with a divine perspective about your finances, it simplifies your
life. Instead of fretting about your money, you can enjoy a feeling of sacred
simplicity. Approaching life with a view of sacred simplicity works something
God will supply all of your needs, so you don't have to
worry about them.
You can be content with what you have now, and you can be
content in the future if God increases or decreases your net worth. The
amount doesn't really matter because God has promised to give you
everything you need.
You don't need to worry about the future. There may be times of
increase and decrease in your financial position. Either way, God is in
charge. In both circumstances you are to trust Him. You don't rely on your
cash reserves in the good times, and you don't worry about insufficiency
in the tough times.
The concept of sacred simplicity is foreign to our culture. It goes against
the prevailing thought of becoming self-sufficient and independently wealthy
with a plump retirement account. So it is natural that you might misunderstand
the applicable principles of sacred simplicity.
Don't get the wrong impression:
Sacred simplicity is not devoted deprivation. You aren't
required to give all of your money to the church or mission works. You don't
have to cancel buying presents and gifts for your family and friends.
Sacred simplicity is not pious parsimony. God doesn't want you
to blame Him for being a cheapskate. You don't have to stiff the waitress
out of a fifteen percent tip and you don't have to sneak soda and treats
into the movie theater just because you are trying to be a good steward of
God's money. He wants the waitress to get a generous tip, and he doesn't
want you to smuggle M&M's in your socks.
Sacred simplicity is not ardent austerity. Good stewardship does
not require selling all of your possessions and wearing a trash bag instead
of clothes from the Gap. You don't have to sell your 2002 Lexus and
replace it with a 1980 Pinto (if you can find a Pinto that is still
running). God doesn't object to money or the things that it can buy. But
He does want you to have the proper perspective.
Sacred simplicity is not sanctimonious sluggishness. Don't
think that you can quit your job and live on the beach because God has
promised to provide everything you need. Stewardship requires you to be a
Sacred simplicity has nothing to do with the quantity of your money. But it
has everything to do with the quality of your heart.
If you want to move from failure to success in your finances, then change
your perspective and attitude. Realize that everything belongs to God and that
you are responsible to Him as a steward for what He has given to you. Then relax
and stop worrying because God has everything under control.