Managing God's Moenyby Gunnar Johnson
Have you been watching our current economic times with much inter-est? I sure have. There are many, many issues in our country and world that give me concern both financially and spiritually...
Yet, when I slow down and ponder the time in history God has chosen to place me on earth, I get excited for Kingdom opportunities. The fields are truly ripe for the harvest.
On the other hand, our culture churns in fear and anxiety, making it difficult for Christians to keep our balance. Nothing takes Jesus by surprise; He knows what we will experience. Carefully read His words:
So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
My friends, fear is the ministering spirit of Satan, but peace is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Faith and fear cannot exist in the same heart. Over 300 times in Scripture we are told not to fear, and many Scriptures describe the Holy Spirit as the instigator of peace.
Money works as the litmus test revealing which spirit we are following. Fear or Faith? Consider these verses:
…the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…
If we are to face the realities of today without fear, worry and anxiety, then how are we to live? More specifically, how do we manage the Master’s finances with so much anxiety swirling about?I’m glad you asked. Here is a six-point “mini lesson” on money in these uncertain days. Applying these principles will teach you to live by faith.
Please set time aside this week to use the Scripture references as a personal Bible study.
God is the owner of everything; we are simply His managers. We do not really possess anything, we can’t keep stuff forever, and we certainly did not create it in the beginning.
God placed us on the earth to manage His creation, not to own it. Nothing we buy stays with us forever except the work of the Kingdom.
The faster we begin to understand our position as managers for the King of the Universe, the faster we can be used in His Kingdom.
Every day we take a step away from our earthly possessions and one more step toward our heavenly ones. Material possessions are only temporal tools for Kingdom advancement, not gods to worship or treasures to hoard (Psalm 24:1, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Deuteronomy 10:14, Psalm 50:10-12).
Take a leap of faith and open the door to the supernatural life. Tithes and offerings open the store-house of heaven into our lives because of the work it does in our hearts.
Without an open hand of generosity we limit our ability to receive. God desires to channel resources through us, but we first must be open by giving.
Giving is a test of our management of His possessions (Malachi 3:8-10, Proverbs 3:9-10, Proverbs 11:24-25, Luke 6:30, Acts 20:35).
3. Expand Financial Margin
Tighten the belt, determine what are really needs and what are simply our desires. We need to eat, but does that mean prime rib?
Live on a plan, spend with purpose and know where the dollars were used (budget).
Evaluate everything. Given the same income level, the leaner our monthly expenses the more margin we create. Once you trim down to your prayer-revealed ideal margin, then evaluate the next three steps.
Like a professional fighter, determine your “ideal weight” and then maintain that level, creating the 1 Timothy 6:17-19 lifestyle…full of faith in God, rich in good works, ready to share, storing up treasure for a firm future foundation, taking hold of that which is life indeed (1 Timothy 6:17-19, Proverbs 6:6-8, Proverbs 21:5, Proverbs 22:3).
4. Pay Off Debt
Debt is like leg weights dragging us down as we at-tempt to run after God’s calling. Many talented people never experience God’s purpose in their life because they are a slave to another master. Proverbs 22:7 says the rich rules over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Use your newly found margin to attack your debts. Pay off your smallest debt first, snowballing the payments as larger debts are eliminated until they are all gone.
The road may be long and tough, but being debt free creates opportunities to serve God in very exciting ways and the journey will increase your ability to live by faith ( Deuteronomy 15:6, Psalm 37:21, Proverbs 22:7, Romans 13:8).
5. Save Money
Scripture says anyone who does not save money is a fool. That sounds harsh, but remember, all Scripture is God breathed so that strong of an emphasis must point to the importance of saving. Save to give, save to live, save to stay out of debt, save for the long term and for the short term, and save to pursue God-given opportunities.
Solomon said to divide your portion to seven or even eight. Our savings plan should be just as strategic as our debt elimination plan. Save something out of every paycheck even as you are paying off debt and creating margin (Proverbs 21:5, Proverbs 21:20, 1 Corinthians 16:2).
6. Pursue God-Ordained Opportunities
If we manage money according to the Word of God we will be salt and light in a dark, tasteless and scared world. Nothing highlights our uniqueness as Christ followers than a down economy, but only if we apply His Biblical financial principles. Money should be a catalyst to fulfill God-ordained opportunities. One of the early signs of revival is the use of money in serving others (Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32, 1 Corinthians 4:2, Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Matthew 25:14-28).
This is nowhere close to an exhaustive list of Biblical principles of personal financial management, but it is a start. If your desire is to live by faith and maximize your Kingdom impact, these will get you started.
Remember, we are in a spiritual battle for the heart that requires allegiance to only one—God or money.
Whom will you serve?