G. Edward Reid, Director, North American Division Stewardship Ministries

Christians can find the path to financial faithfulness with a foundation of basic biblical principles. In this study we will note principles, read references, and discuss implications for everyday life. You will grow in your financial stewardship and faithfulness as you:

1. Recognize God as the Owner of everything

(Ps 24:1; Ps 50:12; 1Chr 29: 13, 14) Basic to all biblical money management is the recognition of God’s ownership. By virtue of creation and redemption, God is the Owner and we are His stewards. We bring nothing into the world and we take nothing out. We simply manage what God has entrusted to us as a demonstration of our love and faithfulness to Him. (See also 1Ti 6:7; Mt 25:14; 1 Cor 4:1, 2)

2. Understand that the wisdom of God brings blessings

(Pr 3: 5-10; Dt 28: 1-14) God sees the big picture—from beginning to end. He knows everything and has our best interest at heart. With His wisdom and counsel, we can manage within His will and find blessings. Relying only on our own management skills leads to loss and disappointment. (See Mt 6: 19-21, 33; Pr 14:12)

3. Remember that our purpose in life is to glorify God

(1 Cor 10:31; Mt 5:16) From the world’s perspective, acquiring possessions is a life-long passion. God tells us that the world will be destroyed with the very elements burning up (2P 3:11, 12). Knowing this, if we are wise we will store up our treasures in heaven and live to glorify God. We will rejoice when we hear the words ?Well done? and are welcomed by God into eternity with Him. (Mt 25:21)

4. Understand that prosperity is having what you need when you need it

(Php 4:19; Mt 28:20; Is 26:3) The world defines prosperity as the accumulation of things: big house, fancy car, expensive clothes, et cetera. God has not promised the world’s standard of wealth as we follow Him. Some of us will make great sacrifices. But for us all, there is work to do to help others and to continue on in the cause of God. This requires financial sacrifice and commitment. Yet God has promised He will provide for our needs, go with us wherever we go, and keep us in perfect peace.

5. Understand that debt is bad!

(Pr 22:7; Rm 13:8; Dt 28:15-68; Ps 37:21) Many places in the world today experience slavery and bondage. And many people have become slaves to debt. It is important for us to live within our means so that we can maintain God’s mission of love and share with others in need. In the Western world, debt is one of the greatest obstacles to financial freedom. We can escape the bondage of debt with a strong commitment and the blessing and power of God.

6. Recognize the tithe as the minimum testimony of our Christian commitment

(Gn 14:20; Gn 28:20-22; Mal 3:6-10; Lv 27:30) In regard to the tithe, God does not appeal to our gratitude or our generosity. Returning our tithe is a matter of simple honesty. The tithe is to the modern Christian what the tree of knowledge of good and evil was to Adam and Eve—a test of our faithfulness and trust in God. (See Counsels on Stewardship, p. 75). God doesn’t need the money. We need the blessing!

7. We must all give an account of our stewardship to God

(Mt 25:19; 2 Cor 5:10; Rv 22:12) The way we have used what God has entrusted to us is one of the best indicators of our true heart condition. Someday we will stand before God in judgment. Let’s live our lives with these principles in mind.

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July–September, 2003

Family Finance