I’m prepping for some talks at New Wine North – they’ve kindly asked me to do a number of seminars including one this coming Sunday on ‘Money and Finances.’
In my forthcoming book Diamond Geezers there’s a chapter on Finances, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. And it pays to think about money!
Ever heard people say, “Well I don’t want to be rich – all those rich people are miserable anyway?” Well most of them aren’t. Not the ones I’ve met – and I have met a number of the richest people in this nation. Because while the Bible warns us not to put our TRUST in riches but in God, properly looking after what God gives you and having money gives you margin- options.
I’ll tell you what misery is with regard to finances. There have been times in my life when I have spent everything till I had next to nothing. Or I overextended on debt. My financial plan was ‘hope for the best.’ Blaming everyone else for my stupidity.
On his way to debtors prison, Mr. Micawber, in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, summed up financial misery, and its cause:
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
One day I asked myself the big question; who taught me to borrow money? And I began to back away from debt as much as possible. It was a choice. Personal finance is 80% about choices. If I can just get some control on the idiot I shave with every morning.
I started looking at what Bible has to say. Financial wisdom is all over that book. Most of it is just common sense. But nothing is as uncommon as common sense. It’s plain and simple, easy to understand – but hard to APPLY.
It boils down to what’s called stewardship. Stewardship means looking after what belongs to another. In times past under the feudal system, there was a man who managed all the business issues for the Lord of the castle. He did okay and was provided for as long as he reminded himself every day – however much he got to control: “This isn’t mine. I’m NOT and owner, I’m just a steward.” Because if you owned it, you’d get to keep it. But as John Ortberg reminds us, one day, “It all goes back in the box.”
Jesus famously said, “Store up treasures in heaven . . .” Why? Because it’s right? No, because it’s wise! Because there it will last. It won’t be consumed by moths, rust, thieves. Good stewards have an eye on the money, and an eye on eternity.
Stewardship means I get to be a manager of God’s stuff. Which is great, because God is LOADED. So I can make big plans trusting his provision – if he says GO, his provision will always follow. (Don’t wait for it to all come up front, it ain’t that kind of a deal). When I wake up. When I look at my bank statement, when I make a spending or saving decision. I have to remind myself: “You don’t own anything –it’s all his.” That’s stewardship. And we slip away from that.
We don’t own anything – God owns it all. Can he trust you with what he gives you? Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
Get that in your spirit. It’s not MY MONEY. I’m just a manager! It’s not my wife, my future, my body – I’m just a manager.