Reflections on Christianity and Money
God’s Goals for Our Lives Regarding Money
By Dr. Ron Woodworth
In Part 2 we covered the first of four goals that God has for each of us regarding money. The first two were:
- God wants to deliver us from the two extremes of too much concern (anxiety and idolatry) or too little concern (laziness and unfaithfulness) about money…Refer to Part 1
- God wants to perfect (or mature) our faith and character as we deal with our financial needs and affairs. (See Romans 4 & 5 below)…Refer to Part 2
Here’s the other two:
- God wants to be glorified in our testimony of his faithful provision.
“And my God will meet all of your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:19)
The Lord is fully aware that his reputation is riding on the way he takes care of his children. After all, what would we or any others think about an earthly father who refused to provide for his children’s daily needs? Didn’t Jesus also emphatically promise that God, as a loving heavenly father, is committed to providing our earthly needs? (Matthew 6: 26 & 32) Have you ever noticed that in Psalm 23 God says that “for his Name’s sake” he will guide us into the paths of righteousness? (Verse 3) “For his Name’s sake” is identical with saying, “for the sake of my reputation.”
In other words, God’s Name, reputation, character, and hence trustworthiness are made manifest in the way he provides for his children’s needs. As such, for the sake of his love for us–as well as his desire to reveal his salvation to others, God delights in meeting the needs of those who are called by (and who call upon) his name. This is why we must cooperate with God’s desire to bless us! For if, in our disobedience and rebellion, we suffer lack—such lack, though wrongly interpreted, nevertheless still impugns the nature of God and mocks his Name among unbelievers. Said another way, people are helped or hindered by the manifestation of God’s provision in our lives—including money! The fact is: God wants to bless us so he can make us a blessing to others (See Genesis 12:2). So let’s help God outJ by being his grateful servant-children thus enabling him to fulfill his promises:
“May the Lord be exalted [among all observers]…for he delights in the prosperity of his servant.” (Psalm 35:27)
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them–so that those who love your name may rejoice in you! For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12)
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your Name—for men [through us] will hear of your great Name…But when the foreigner prays toward this temple [where your Name and glory dwells] then hear and answer him…so that all the peoples of the earth may know your Name and reverence you [as God]…and know that this temple…bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-43) [May this be true of all the churches where God’s children assemble]
The only thing we need to remember is that when God’s blessings overtake our lives (Deuteronomy 28:2) we need to testify! Witnessing is actually a lot easier than we make it. We don’t really need to remember a lot of elaborate and clever formulas, or correctly interpret the Book of Revelation or have the answer for every skeptic’s objection. All we simply need to do is to sincerely tell people how God has blessed our lives—including how he continuously and generously meets our daily needs. The Holy Spirit will do the rest…
- God wants to train us in Christian stewardship.
“It is required of a steward that one be proven faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. A steward is someone who manages the domestic or household affairs and possessions of another.
The terms steward and stewardship are used in the New Testament in a number of ways, including references to…
- A slave who was responsible to manage other servants in eager anticipation of the master’s return (Luke 12:35-48)
- An elder, who, as a steward of God’s church, must be above reproach, not over-lording, not quick-tempered, not intemperate, and not greedy. Rather, God’s steward must be hospitable, loving what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined (Titus 1:7-8)
- The apostle Paul, who was to be a faithful steward entrusted with the mysteries of God—now revealed in the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:1-2; Ephesians 3:2)
- All believers who must be good stewards of their particular spiritual gifts—whether of the serving or speaking varieties (1 Peter 4:12)
Important note: As Christians, our stewardship begins with his ownership. And his ownership begins with our redemption.
In other words, only as we acknowledge God as the owner and Lord of every aspect and possession of our lives will we be able to assume our proper role as stewards over “his affairs” in our homes—including our marriage, children and finances. Furthermore, no one can rightly understand this concept of stewardship without also discerning the nature of redemption.
“For God has delivered (or rescued) us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his beloved Son [Jesus], in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
Redemption literally means to be “bought back” as in “securing a release from danger or captivity by payment of a ransom.1” The truth is that God has legally secured our release from the bondage to sin and death through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (Ephesians 1:7)
Now that we have been “purchased by God” we are actually his property and belong to him. In other words, God now owns everything that was ours before our redemption—including all our assets and all of our liabilities. From now on, rather than managing ouraffairs and possessions we are simply stewards of what ultimately belongs to him. As a result, if we have a problem in the area of finances, we simply bring it to our owner-master-Lord to see how he would like us to handle the situation. Then, as we faithfully obey his word/direction to us, we can be assured that we will experience complete liberation from any and every liability we may have incurred.
Now before you run out and charge more things on your “Master’s Card,” remember that you must align all of your intentions and actions in keeping with his will rather than your own. After all, we have exchanged one master (sin and self) for another (righteousness and Christ).
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether of sin which leads to death, or obedience which leads to righteousness…But now you are free from sin [and self] and slaves to God leading to holiness and eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:16, 22-23)
Bottom line: As God’s servant-stewards the truth in Christ has set us free from financial anxiety! From now on, as we grow in grace and knowledge of the truth, we can confidently rely on him to be a present help in our times of “financial” need…
“God is our refuge and our strength, our present help in time of need. He is our fortress, our deliverer…our father our friend indeed2”
Let the lord be magnified
Addendum: Homework J
Eleven Considerations for Faithful Christian Stewards Regarding Finances:
[Here’s a helpful list of eleven (11) important items for consideration regarding Christian stewardship of one’s financial resources. Note: It might take you several years to develop a plan to address all of these items, but keep at it and you and your family will be greatly rewarded and blessed by God. Through the years you will also want to consult with Career counselor(s), Certified Financial Planner(s), Lawyer(s), Certified Public Accountant(s), etc. I would also encourage you to attend some reputable financial seminars (Christian and professional) that can give you proven practical and godly advice on effective ways of handling money. Please email me with other items I may have missed at Dr.Ron@RonWoodworth.org]
- Securing and sustaining productive employment (career and re-careering)
- The grace of giving and generosity (tithing, offerings and gifts)
- Budgeting (creating a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures)
- Spending wisely (adequately researching potential purchases)
- Debt management and/or elimination
- Accounting (a statement of transactions during a fiscal period and the resulting balance; Tax preparation)
- Saving & Investments
- Insurance and other asset shielding strategies
- Retirement planning
- Write a legal will
- Death and funeral preparations (Directions for survivors, video testimony, burial directions, etc.)