The Mustard Seed
Economics by The Book
Perhaps we ought to review the principles of wise financial management which we have learned from the Bible:
#1. Diligent work(Click here to reexamine each of these principles.)
#4. Avoid "get-rich-quick" schemes
#5. Avoid debt
#6. Learn the blessings and freedom that come with tithing
#7. Keep a record of what you spend
#8. Be accountable for what you spend
#9. Plan your spending and saving, then diligently follow the plan
#10. Don't buy anything on impulse
#11. Learn the joy of contentment
Now as we conclude with principle #12, we come full circle back to our introduction to this series: Remember that we own nothing. Everything we have belongs to God. He has merely loaned to us what is His for a brief season.
The Old Testament saint named Job understood this principle well. He was a very wealthy man who lost everything in one day. What was his response to this calamity?
"I was naked when I was born, and I will be naked when I die. The Lord gave these things to me, and he has taken them away. Praise the name of the Lord."(Job 1.20 NCV)
Christian financial advisor, Larry Burkett (who is now with the Lord in heaven), told the following true story to illustrate this principle and several others we have studied in this series:
"It happened on a Sunday afternoon, December 20, 1998. Friends had been invited for dinner following the church service when the fire started. Thankfully, the couple, their six children, and their friends all escaped without injury. But all that was saved from their home where a few fire-blackened Christmas presents near the front door that the firefighters were able to remove.
"The couple told me that being debt free minimized the stress of their fire-related loss. Even the Christmas presents were paid for. They said, 'We've been reminded that when we truly give our lives, our possessions, and everything we are and everything we have to the Lord, we shouldn't be grieved if He takes something that already belongs to Him.' "
"A few days later their daughters were rewrapping the Christmas presents with fresh paper. Their son commented about the gifts: 'Isn't it interesting,' he said 'that the only things that were saved from the fire were those things we planned to give away?'" (Crown Ministries Newsletter, 1999)
This principle of ownership is the basis for all other financial principles -- honesty, contentment, tithing, curbing impulse buying, avoiding debt, etc. Since we are managers of things that belong to God, we are obligated to manage them wisely and use them for His purposes.
An old word for management is "stewardship." A steward is a manager who takes care of matters on behalf of someone in higher authority. A well known business principle which Jesus Himself expressed addresses the integrity and diligence of managers:
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16.10)
While this is true when we manage things for other people, it is even more true when we manage what belongs to God.
~~ Pastor Ron
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Pastor Ron Friedrich