LUKE 16:9-13: “I say to you, make friends for yourselves from the wealth of the world, so when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal shelters. “One who is faithful in the smallest matters is also faithful in much, and the one unjust in the smallest matters will likewise be unjust in much. So then, if you cannot be trusted with unjust wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? Now if you have not been trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you anything of your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.” TLV
OBSERVATION: What is my investment plan for the future? Am I storing up money in this life where moth and rust will corrupt, or am I investing in my eternal future by using the things of this life for the glory of God?
Money is not evil. It is the love of money that is evil. The love of money reveals more than mere selfishness, it reveals a misplaced devotion. As believers our devotion is to be given to God alone. So, how does a believer serve God and still become a wise steward of their money?
Early in my career I had a short stint selling life insurance. The market that I was working was the home market. We used a tool called the Financial Needs Analysis. This tool helped individuals and couples look at what they currently made, what they were currently saving, and what they wanted to have as their income when they retired. As I met with one potential client after another, my eyes were opened.
What I learned about over 90% of everyone I met with, including myself, is that they did not have a plan at all. Most people are really living their lives under the tyranny of the urgent, and are mastered by their money, or their need for money. As a young man who had just turned 30 my eyes were opened. And as a young believer, I was convicted in my heart. I needed to change some things, and right away!
As a believer I have never served money. My heart has always been given to the Lord. However, I was not being wise with my money. I did not understand the words of Jesus when He said – “…make friends for yourselves from the wealth of the world…”. The context of Jesus’ words was the parable of the unscrupulous manager who made sure he paved a way for his future when he was fired by his master. I realized that although I did not put money before the Lord, I was still being a taskmaster to it. I was not managing my money, it was managing me.
I had already embraced the importance of tithing to the Lord, giving 10% of my income as my weekly expression of worship. However, that was the extent of my money management. I realized that I needed to rearrange my entire life so that I would not serve money, but that money would serve me and assist me in fulfilling God’s call for my life, and the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. It was then and there that I determined to get my house in order.
I began to work toward becoming debt free. I continued to tithe, I also began saving 10% in addition to my tithe for my future. I also made sure that my family was taken care of through life insurance in the event of my death. And I began to be obedient to the Lord’s prompting to give offerings as the Lord would lead – above my tithe. It was not easy, but the Lord has enabled me to live debt free, and free from the control of money, since that time. The only two debts I ever carry are my house payment, and one car payment (my other cars are paid off).
Some have asked – “How can you really live like this?” What about emergencies? What about when things break down? What about the unexpected? All I can tell you is that I serve the God of the unexpected. In every situation, as I honored the Lord with my first fruits, and as I obeyed Him with my stewardship, He has provided. I had to resist my “greeds” many times and focus on my “needs.” However, this has really not been hard when compared to the freedom of walking in the joy of stewardship and financial freedom.
Since that time I have tried to share this simple principle of 10, 10, plus with many people. If you honor the Lord with your tithe (10%), if you save and invest for your future (10%), and if you are obedient to doing whatever else the Lord calls you to do (plus), He will abundantly bless you and meet all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.
My prayer for you is that you will enter into the joy of financial freedom. It is a wonderful thing to wake up each morning knowing that you are but a steward working for the One who created the universe and holds your future and eternity in His hands!
In Jesus Name!