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Faith and Finances

The Need For Wisdom on Wealth

By Alistar Kent

 

There is an ever increasing divide amongst Christians today. I'm not talking about the use of spiritual gifts, the need for seeker-sensitive services or the type of music we play in church, but it's this - 'how we view wealth'!

To a large degree, modern day Christians have inherited a 'poverty mentality'. It has left many churches under-resourced and ineffective in carrying out the work of God. But before we go to the other extreme and leap straight on to the prosperity bandwagon we need also to be aware of some unbalanced teaching which carries an over-emphasis on material things. This, unfortunately, has caused many to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

So how do you as a leader strike the right balance? How do you bring a positive, but balanced biblical message of prosperity to your congregation?

Well, first off, there are plenty of scriptures to guide you. The Bible is full of references to money and possessions - over 2,000 in fact! And it's not just an Old Testament theme, as many think.Around half the parables that Jesus spoke involved money or wealth, and the Apostle Paul isn't shy on the subject either.

In this article I want to briefly guide you through four areas of financial wealth. They will give you a holistic view that will help you communicate biblical truths to the people that you lead.

1. MINDSET - What's in Your Head?

As a Christian you are told to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). That means getting as clear as you can about what God says, thinks or feels about a situation, subject or circumstance and applying the Bible's eternal truths into your life.

The mind is the forerunner of all actions, so if you want to walk in the ways of God's material blessing it's vital that you have the right thought processes in place.

Here are some key principles that will help get your grey matter functioning correctly:

  • You were created to prosper and live abundantly - that's in all areas: spiritually, intellectually, physically, relationally AND financially. (John 10:10; 3 John 1:2)
  • You are blessed to be a blessing - wealth should not just get 'to' you, but should also go 'through' you. (Genesis 12:1-3: 2 Corinthians 9:11)
  • God is a God of the overflow - he's not wasteful, but he has more than enough. (Mark 8:19-20; 2 Kings 4:5-6)
  • Poverty is not a blessing - God wants to lead you out of poverty, through provision, into prosperity. (Proverbs 10:15; 10:22)


2. MOTIVATION - What's in Your Heart?

Simply understanding that God wants you to prosper is not enough. You have to ensure that you have a pure heart and that your motives are right if you are to manage and create wealth in a God-honouring way.

When Jesus walked the earth, the widespread belief was that riches and wealth were a sign of God's blessing. And on that basis, those with much, like the Pharisees, were the ones who were going to heaven. However, Jesus' message was contrary to this widely held belief. He said that 'He' was 'The Way'. It was faith in him, not money in stockpiles that counted.

You need to have a healthy attitude towards money and see the whole area of finance with an eternal focus. Here are some truths to keep you on the straight and narrow wherever wealth is involved:

  • Wealth isn't everything - money can help in ministry, but our main focus shouldn't be on the material, but the spiritual. (Colossians 3:2; Matthew 16:26)
  • Money can be personified - we are called to serve God, not money. (Matthew 6:23-25; Luke 16:11)
  • Wealth will buy consumables, but not contentment - satisfaction is found in Jesus alone. (Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5)
  • What you believe in and value can be found on your bank statement - Look to God's face, not his hands. (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Timothy 6:17)


3. MANAGEMENT - What's in Your Pockets

When you find yourself with any degree of wealth that God has blessed you with, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to tithe it? What about additional offerings? Is it scriptural to save? How much would God want you to spend on yourself? What should you invest - and in what way?

These are all good questions, but unfortunately the church is very quiet when it comes to the everyday stewardship decisions we have to make as Christians in the area of our finances.

Here are a few biblical facts to help you understand the practicalities of how God expects you to deal with your money:

  • You don't own anything - everything belongs to God, you're a trustee. (Psalm 50:10-12; 24:1)
  • Tithing is the bottom line in giving - offerings are also expected. (Malachi 3:8; Mark 12:43-44)
  • The law of sowing and reaping works for everyone - when you give with a pure heart, it will come back to you in an increased measure. (2 Corinthians 9:6; Luke 6:38)
  • God wants you to be a lender not a borrower - you're called to be the head not the tail. (Proverbs 22:7; Deuteronomy 28:12)


4. MARKETPLACE - What's in Your Hands?

In Exodus chapter four, God said to Moses "what's in your hand?" To Moses it was just a shepherd's staff, but to God it was a means of seeing the miraculous take place. Moses had a rod in his hand, what do you have in yours? A computer mouse, a calculator, a gardening tool, a pen or a small child maybe? Whatever talents God has given you, you can use them to achieve great things for God.

Furthermore, there are many Christian entrepreneurs in the church today with the gift of making money. But how do you as a leader, handle such people?

Look at the following realities. Examine them keeping in mind the members of your church who are in business:

  • All Christians are in 'full time ministry' - business people need to realise that they are as much in ministry as you are. (1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26)
  • Calling is far more than just being in church leadership - most people will be called to the marketplace rather than the 'Ministry'. (Revelation 1:6; Ecclesiastes 9:9)
  • Entrepreneurs are everywhere - they're in your church and need to be nurtured for God's glory. (Luke 19:13; Matthew 25:13-40)
  • Wealth Creation is approved by God - successful Christian business leaders should be encouraged to excel in their gift just the same as any other person is theirs. (Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)

 

Putting it All into Perspective

Wealth should be viewed in a positive light. We see it before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden which had an abundance of provision. And we see it in the new heaven, where we will live in mansions and walk on streets of pure gold.

It's time for the church to stop listening to the lies of the enemy telling us that we are more virtuous when we have little. Rather, we need to start believing our Bibles that tell us "The blessings of the Lord bring wealth, and he adds no trouble to it" (Proverbs 10:22).

And who better to have the final say about the importance of wisdom in our finances, than probably the wisest man of all time - King Solomon. His reflections from the Message Bible (Ecclesiastes 7:11-12) state "Wisdom is better when paired with money, especially if you get both whilst you're still living".

 

About the Author

Alistair is a minister in the UK and one of the founders of WisdomOnWealth - http://www.wisdomonwealth.org - a global website launched to give Christians a biblically balanced approach to financial prosperity. For more information, visit the website.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alistair_Kent

 


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