Maybe you just got your second stimulus check and can’t wait to spend it. Or maybe you’ve been desperately waiting for that extra cash so you can pay this month’s rent. Have you finally gotten a job after having been laid off? Or are you stressed, because you still haven’t found one?
Whether you have a lot or a little, God cares about how you view and handle money. And while talking about finances can feel really overwhelming, the good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone! Believe it or not, you’re not the owner of your money (which may sound crazy). One day you’ll give an account to God for every dollar you make and spend, so it’s important you have a right view of your finances.
The reality is that our attitudes toward money are a reflection of our attitudes toward the Lord, so…
Good stewards should spend wisely.
A lot of times when we talk about money in church, we use the word “steward.” Being a good steward means that because you know God has entrusted you with His resources (aka money), you make the choice to use them responsibly—in a way that honors Him. But what does this look like IRL?
- Make a budget. At the end of the day, you only bring in so much money. Do you know where’s it going?
- Take a look at your bank statement. Try comparing what you actually end up spending against your budget every month. Where do you need to cut back? If you’ve been spending more than you should, you aren’t doomed. It’s never too late to take a step toward managing your money wisely!
- Proceed with caution if you have debt (Proverbs 22:7). Make sure you know: how much debt you have, the interest rate on the loan or credit card, and how long it will take to pay it back. Gathering that information is an excellent step in the right direction and can help inform how you build your budget.
Good stewards save.
Right now, saving can seem like something you should start doing in the future…like when you’re married or getting ready to buy an engagement ring. On the other hand, some of us really like to save—maybe too much. Every single person’s financial situation is different, and there isn’t a “one size fits all” Bible verse.
Some of us like to save and save and save, but more so out of fear and with no end goal in mind. This is what the Bible calls “building bigger barns” (Luke 12:16-21). If you find yourself stockpiling God’s resources like someone off of an episode of Hoarders, this might be an indication you find a sense of security in money that you could be finding in God. Proverbs 18:11 says, “The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.” The good news is that we as believers know our security and safety is ultimately found in God alone! Sometimes we just need to be reminded of this.
At the same time, the Bible also tells us that there’s wisdom in saving (Proverbs 6:6-8). Neglecting saving entirely and living like a 40K millionaire isn’t the best move either. These two pitfalls, however, have something in common: they’re self-focused. If you’re storing away your money, odds are you’re hoarding resources you could be using to serve others. And if you’re spending everything, you’re likely spending too much on yourself.
Good stewards serve.
The challenge with stewardship is that there’s not a rule book, but God’s word gives us some really helpful guiding principles.
Ultimately, if you’re a Christ follower it makes sense that you’re plugged into a local church and are giving back to that church. Think about it. They’re providing resources that YOU use. The air conditioning in the building on Sunday, resources for Bible study, etc. But beyond that, we should serve the church by giving simply because God’s word calls us to do it. So how much should we give?
It’s typically said that we should give 10% of our monthly income. However, God’s word calls us to give generously and cheerfully—it doesn’t specify a specific amount (Proverbs 3:9, 2 Corinthians 9:7). In Luke 18, Jesus speaks highly of a woman who basically only gives a penny to the church! One cent! Why did he compliment her for this? A penny is nothing right?! Well, this girl only had two pennies. So what would be nothing for us was really generous for her. This woman understood that she was a steward, and the way she “spent” her money proved it.
Consider how you steward God’s money. Be reminded that it’s never too late to start walking in faithfulness, and remember that you don’t have to do it alone! You can always seek counsel from other believers around you. If you don’t have Christian community (a group of believing friends who regularly meet together to remind each other of what’s true and help each other grow), your best next step toward faithful stewardship could be to find believers to come alongside you as you navigate the life God has called you to live for Him!
Carson Radke, David Marvin, and Emma Dotter