Often the hardest things to talk about are the most significant. It is no accident that we can easily talk about the weather, sports, or a movie. But when it comes to subjects such as money, parenting, religion, and politics it is incredibly challenging.
Maybe we do not want to offend others, maybe we see our own inconsistency, maybe we are ashamed of our failures in the past, maybe we are unwilling to change, or maybe there is a lack of knowledge because no one else has been willing to talk about it.
One of the things that I love about the bible is that it does not shy away from anything. The most significant and challenging topics are addressed with incredible wisdom. People may think that the bible is a relic from the past or is simply held on to due to some tradition or a sense of guilt, but I find that as people read the bible they find it to be incredibly helpful. One of the overarching themes of the bible is generosity, which is rooted in God’s own character and meant to be expressed in the lives of his people. We’ll spend about four weeks looking at the bible’s teaching on giving: The Big Picture on Money, Perspective on Giving, Practice of Giving, Promises and Problems of Giving.
Before we outline the “big picture,” some of you will be curious why I’m talking about money. I have a couple of reasons:
-The bible talks about money quite a bit and I try to talk about the subjects the bible talks about
-People think about money a lot (whether worrying, envying, working etc.) and I try to help people with their lives
-I have a running list of “things to teach about” and this is on the list
-Each fall is when I work more concertedly on Fundraising for the following year so it is on my mind as well
-In my reading about church plant survivability (i.e. not all new churches make it) a new church increases its odds of survivability by over 178% if it has a stewardship development plan in place so there is a clear path towards financial self-sufficiency.
So, here are three pieces of the Big Picture on Money and Possessions…
-Wealth is not an indicator of “spirituality.” In the bible some people who love God are poor and others are rich. Some of the “wicked” are also poor and rich.
-Wealth does not last. The above painting by Rembrandt portrays a scene from Jesus’ parable in which a rich man has accumulated great possessions and is caught up thinking of them, unaware that he will die that very night. Each of us is responsible for how we manage whatever resources are entrusted to us.
-The bible not only talks about giving but work, saving, debt, planning, spending, enjoyment, management, inheritance, and investments. Gaining a biblical perspective on giving is one part of a much larger whole.
-The bible is realistic about both the temptations of money and the wonderful things that can be done with it.
I realize this is brief but as I was looking at resources came across this chart which has an excellent selection from various parts of the bible. Rather than reading what I write, go to the primary source.
For a few thoughts on money itself. money itself –
A helpful workbook (that is much cheeper than other materials). freed up financial living –
Financial Peace University – has been a great help to many.