Holistic part 4
How Should I Manage Money
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
October 3, 2010
Money. The Bible has a lot to say about how we should handle money. Oh,
it doesn’t tell us how to diversity our portfolio, but it does talk
about getting out of debt, refraining from extravagant and unnecessary
purchases, avoiding wasting money on interest rates, being generous
with your children, learning to be content with less, doing your
research before spending money on big ticket items, paying back what
you owe, the dangers of impulse spending, the advantages of long term
investments over short term gains… there’s a lot more wisdom in the
Bible about money than you might think.
fact, Dave Ramsey—a popular radio host and money expert who’s been a
regular contributor at CBS—has counted about 800 passages in the Bible
dealing with money. Of the 39 stories or parables Jesus told, over half
of them deal with the topics of money and/or work.
talking for the past few weeks about living a holistic Christian life.
A holistic faith is all-encompassing… it doesn’t just apply to one
specific area of your life but to all of life. It’s about following
Jesus and living for Him not only in what you might call “spiritual”
areas, but in every area. In fact, in the Bible there is no concept of
there being segregated areas of our lives. Our lives are meant to be an
Galatians 5:25 (NLT)
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
far in this series we’ve talked about how a holistic Christ-follower
strives to honour God every day in every way. When it comes to your
relationships, your family, your career, your recreation, your future
plans, your life goals, your marriage, your Internet habits, your
television viewing, the things you think about… in every way.
week we talked about honouring God in the way we spend our time, by
making it a priority to gather with other believers every Sunday, by
setting aside time each and every day to spend it with Him in prayer
and reading the Bible, and even beyond that being wise in the ways we
spend the rest of our time, too. I used the example of a marriage… if I
give my wife my complete and undivided attention for an hour every day,
that might be honouring to her. But if I then go and give that same
focus and attention to another woman, that’s not so honouring. So you
honour God in your schedule not just by the way you spend time
specifically with Him but how you spend the rest of your time, too.
that was last week. Today, we’re talking about honouring God with our
money. And maybe that right there is a good place to start. Is it
really our money?
Your first reaction might be, “Of course it
is! I worked for it, I earned it, it’s my money.” But the truth is,
it’s a little different than that.
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…
Psalm 24:1 (NLT)
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
word you hear from time to time is the word “stewardship.” What is
stewardship? Well, a steward is a household servant who cares for the
owner’s property, or a steward is the person on a cruise ship or an
airplane who is responsible for caring for all the food provisions, or
who works at a hotel and takes care of all the property there.
other words, a steward is a manager. They care for property that does
not necessarily belong to them but they have been entrusted with the
responsibility to care for it.
So when we use the term
stewardship in reference to money, we’re talking about how as a
Christian everything we have really belongs to God… we’ve committed it
to Him, and we recognize that every blessing we experience really comes
James 1:17 (NIV)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…
comes from Him and belongs to Him. So like any good steward, we’re
going to care for God’s property by using it the way He has asked us to.
talked a lot about money. But not everyone liked what He had to say.
One person that we often refer to as “The rich young ruler” or simply
as “the rich man” came to Jesus and asked Him, “What must I do to
inherit eternal life?” And so Jesus, who knew the man’s heart, told him
right up front…
Mark 10:21 (NLT)
“Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
I probably wouldn’t have answered the way Jesus did. In fact, I know I
wouldn’t have. I probably would have talked about how important it is
to put your faith in God and decide to live for Him… I would have tried
to get to know the man a bit better and develop some kind of a
relationship with him… I certainly wouldn’t have responded like Jesus
So what did Jesus do wrong? Nothing! Jesus told the man
exactly what was keeping him from receiving eternal life… his greed.
And the man didn’t like what he heard so he turned and walked away. He
was offended. But the problem wasn’t with what Jesus said, but with the
You know, sometimes people are offended when
churches and pastors talk about money. But it’s not really talking
about money that’s the issue. Sometimes people just don’t like to hear
it because it makes them confront something that is wrong in their
So while acknowledging that this can be a sensitive
issue, we’re going to talk about it anyway. Because you cannot live a
holistic God-honouring Christian life without being a good steward of
what God has entrusted to you. Do you understand that? If you are
telling God to back off and stay out of your money business, you will
never grow to spiritual maturity.
So what does the Bible say
about how we should manage money? It has a lot to say, and I’m just
going to highlight a few things this morning. Starting with…
1. Give to God first.
It should be the very first item on your budget. Give to God first.
1 Corinthians 16:2 (MSG)
Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can.
talking about giving to God through the Church. Now, you probably
expected me to talk about this one. We are a church, and churches
depend on donations in order to function. We’re no different here at
Sunrise. We need money to survive.
But I don’t want you to give
in order to help meet a budget. I mean, we do have a budget. And every
year we have a church meeting to review where the money went over the
past year and what our budget is for the next year. The church is
accountable to you in that way, and you can know that we do our best to
use the money you give wisely. We forward a significant amount to take
the hope of Jesus to unreached people in countries around the world, we
put a lot into equipping you and helping you grow, we have a variety of
ministries from music to children to outreach in our community. We have
our Sunday morning costs like our facility rental, sound equipment, our
multimedia, our refreshments, even our bulletins and sermon notes and
pens. Then there’s our licensing fees and memberships… yeah, we have a
But meeting that budget should not be your motivation for giving. I think you should give for two reasons…
• Because I love Jesus.
give gifts to the people you love. That kind of generosity is an
expression of love. And besides, as the owner of it all anyway, He has
asked that you as His steward to set aside the first 10% of your income
to give to Him each week.
Now, a lot of people wait to see
what they have left at the end of the week. And then if they can spare
it, they might toss God a few bucks.
But the Bible talks about a
tithe being the first 10% of your earnings. In fact, in the Old
Testament this is referred to as the “firstfruits” of your income. Why?
Because sometimes it was just that. It might be fruit, or maybe grain,
or maybe a goat. Because that’s what people grew and that’s what they
had. So I’ve got to say this: Please do not bring me a goat. (I already
have two kids.)
You know the great thing about this? It doesn’t
matter how rich you are. We’re all on equal footing before God. 10%
would be a different amount for each one of us, but it’s equal giving.
And we give it as an expression of our love, our obedience, and our
worship of Jesus.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)
Honor the LORD with
your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns
will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new
In other words, honour God in your giving and He will
bless you in return. Now don’t misunderstand; this is not a
get-rich-quick strategy. It’s simply a principle that when you give to
God He gives back to you.
“When you are a wise steward, it
honors God, relieves tension, gives you self-confidence, eliminates
guilt, enhances your witness, and enables you to give more generously.”
~ Bob Russell
• Because I believe in the ministry of the church.
this isn’t about meeting a budget; it’s about financing ministry. Do
you support what we’ve been called to do? Do you want to see lives
changed and needs met and hopeless people finding hope and people
growing in their faith and making a difference in our community and in
our world? If so, then you’re going to give toward that. You’re going
to support it.
Some of you really need to start giving to God.
You need to give because you love God and because the Church can’t
effectively minister without the resources to support it.
there’s another reason, too, and this isn’t in your notes. But you need
to give to God because otherwise you will be stagnant spiritually. Your
spiritual growth will be stunted. Because when you refuse to put God
first in your finances you are telling God that your finances actually
Rick Warren actually talks about four habits of a
disciple… four practices that can help you grow as a Christ-follower.
You know what they are? Prayer, Bible Reading, fellowship with other
believers as part of the Church, and… tithing. If you want to grow,
you’ve got to be tithing.
Deuteronomy 14:22-23 (MSG)
offering of ten percent, a tithe… Bring this into the Presence of God,
your God, at the place he designates for worship… In this way you will
learn to live in deep reverence before God, your God, as long as you
Or as the Living Bible puts it, it will teach you to
always put God first in your life. Honouring God by giving to Him is an
essential part of spiritual growth and maturity.
Okay, we spent a bit of time on that. So what else does the Bible say about how we should manage money?
2. Strive to live a financially responsible life.
okay, but what does that mean? Several things. I think we’ll be doing
an entire series on this after Christmas, so let’s go through them
quickly this morning. Living responsibly means that you should…
• Aim to be debt free.
not a pipedream. You can be debt-free. You might have to live on rice
and beans for a while, but by minimizing expenses, maximizing earnings,
and paying down your debt, you can be debt-free. Probably a lot sooner
than you think.
Proverbs 22:7 (GW)
A rich person rules poor people, and a borrower is a slave to a lender.
Romans 13:8 (NLT)
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.
• Eliminate spending on destructive habits.
much does a pack of cigarettes or a six-pack of beer cost these days?
They add up quickly, don’t they? Think about how much you could save by
eliminating those expenses.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)
you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives
in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for
God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
• Don’t waste money gambling.
not much of a fan of the lottery, because you’re throwing away money on
the chance you could win. And sometimes people do win. But for the vast
majority of people—I’d guess it’d be like 99.9 per cent—they lose much
more than they win. That’s why the lottery makes money—people lose it.
Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
this goes back to the concept of stewardship. If everything you have
comes from God and He has entrusted it to you to manage, then you’re
not going to use it in wasteful, irresponsible or dishonest ways.
• Budget and plan ahead.
dreaded “B” word. But you should have a budget based on your projected
expenses, allowing for emergencies, and then stick to it.
Luke 14:28 (NLT)
who would begin construction of a building without first calculating
the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”
• Invest wisely and earn interest.
told a whole story known as the parable of the talents about this. We
don’t have time to read it this morning, but you can read it for
yourself in Matthew 25.
See Matthew 25:14-26
• Save for the future.
that be for retirement or the proverbial rainy day. In the book of
Genesis, we’re told about Joseph who was second in command in Egypt. He
stored away 20 per cent of the country’s grain during a time of
prosperity so that there was enough saved to get them through a
seven-year famine. We would all be wise to save what we can for the
See Genesis 41:37-57
• Earn money through honest work.
people try to do as little as they can and still earn money. They cheat
their employer, they cheat the government, they cheat themselves. The
Bible teaches that God values hard work.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 (NLT)
while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to
work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle
lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.
by working hard you’re not just earning an honest living, you’re also
keeping yourself out of trouble. Pretty good side benefit.
3. My heart follows my money, not the other way around.
wisdom says you invest in the things you care about. But the truth is,
you care about the things you invest in. Take a look at how Jesus put
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
“Do not store up for yourselves
treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves
break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in
and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Notice your treasure goes first, and the heart follow. Where you treasure is, there your heart WILL BE also.
in terms of giving to God or to anyone or anything else, figure out not
just what you care about but what you want to care about. If you want
to follow Jesus… if you want Him to be the center of your life… if you
want to please Him in the way you live… then you’re going to give.
you want to be known as a generous person, then you’re going to give
even when you don’t particularly want to. And as you do, you’ll
discover the joy of giving and generosity will become part of who you
are. But don’t wait until you feel generous before you give, because if
you do it’ll never happen.
4. Guard against becoming obsessed with money.
In other words, don’t get greedy. Don’t make the acquisition of wealth your primary goal in life.
and this doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. Rich people and poor
people can both become preoccupied with wealth… the rich in protecting
what they have and multiplying it, and the poor with the misguided
notion that if they could only have more money then they would be happy
and their lives would be complete.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NLT)
Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
already mentioned the importance of working hard and earning an honest
living. But don’t go overboard with that. Maybe you know people who are
so focused on earning more and more money that they work 24/7, they
miss out on the lives of their children, they destroy their
relationships, they miss out on life because of their pursuit of money.
Maybe you are that person.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says
you’ve got to decide: are you going to serve God or are you going to
serve money. Because you can’t serve them both. You have to decide. And
Jesus went on to say…
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Psalm 127:2 (NLT)
is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at
night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his
We talked about that some last week, when we talked
about taking a day off each week and using it for worshipping God and
for soul-enriching activities.
Exodus 23:12 (NLT)
“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working.”
study after study shows the wisdom of this advice. You’ll be healthier,
happier, and you’ll actually be able to accomplish more by taking a
break than if you never take a break.
5. Financial responsibility does not do away with generosity.
as wise stewards of what God has entrusted to us, we invest it well, we
save for the future, we refuse to waste it in meaningless ways… all of
that is true. But we are also to use the resources God has put at our
disposal to help others in need.
Even if you’re digging your way
out of debt, take advantage of opportunities to be generous. And when
you’re finally debt-free, you can be all the more generous.
think this is actually one of the reasons God asks us to tithe—it
teaches us to give. It’s good practice for generosity. He’s a generous
God—He’s given us so many blessing and even gave His life for us—so He
expects us to be generous, too, when it comes to giving to Him and
giving to others.
2 Corinthians 8:7 (NLT)
Since you excel in
so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your
enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this
gracious act of giving.
Timothy was an apprentice to the apostle
Paul. Timothy was just a young man but was put in charge of a local
church. So Paul wrote a couple letters to Timothy, which are included
in our Bible today, and gave Timothy some instructions on how to teach
and train the people in the church to live holistic God-honouring
lives. Here’s just a couple verses…
1 Timothy 6:17-18 (NLT)
those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in
their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who
richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their
money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to
those in need, always being ready to share with others.
you… you may already be doing all this. You may already be good
stewards of what God has entrusted to you, no matter how much it is.
Others of you, you need to get on board.