At the beginning of the month I had the opportunity to experience the joy of travel delays on flights from Oregon, to Des Moines and then an attempt to get back to Traverse City and ultimately Lake Ann Camp. During my third day at the lovely airport in Des Moines, Iowa, I was standing in line for the flight that would eventually get me to Chicago. While there, I heard two crew members talking about their financial investments. One of them was boasting about a deal where he turned $30,000 by following the advice of a magazine he highly recommended. The other extolled the virtues budgeting every penny he spends. He explained that the reason he does PB & J on each flight was to maximize the amount he’s putting away for his retirement. One of the men puts 11% away for his retirement, the other is displeased with his wife’s lack of future planning. One splurges a bit more than the other, while both men admitted to pretty flippant waste at airport bars and restaurants in their early years as crew members.
While listening to them, I was struck by their obsession with making money, saving money, investing money and their plans for the future. But any time you talk to people about money, there is a certain weirdness that comes over the conversation. We all have strong feelings about earning, working, spending, saving, budgeting, investing…etc…etc.
In light of listening to these two guys chat, I came up with three principles that are true about how we are to view money, based on God and His Word. Are you living with these principles in mind?
- We are stewards, not owners: Everything we have comes from God. Yes, everything. The money you make at work is made possible because God gave you certain abilities and talents, He blessed you with a capacity to earn a good education and He opened doors for you to experience the fruit of His goodness. When you get that check each week/month, remember that 100% of it is God’s, and you are a caretaker of the resources He has given you. Since God is the owner, that means you and I are stewards of His possessions, and God cares immensely how we steward what He has provided. We need to make sure we view “our” money in its proper context.
- Generosity is commanded, not just encouraged: Being generous goes beyond just being nice, or just being compassionate; generosity is an issue of obedience. Now the degree of our generosity is a matter that must be resolved between us and God, but our need to be generous is mandated by God. What’s generous to one man may not be to a different woman. Giving one percent of our income to God may be an outstanding step of faith and commitment to one person, while 20% is the norm to another. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explains that un-coerced generosity results in special blessings from God. God delights in generous givers who give joyfully.
- Money is a tool, make sure you control it: Like any of the gifts God gives us, money is a tool that is meant to be used for the work of God. Yes, we must pay the bills and feed the family, and yes it’s ok to enjoy the fruit of our labors. What isn’t ok is to have the making of money as our chief motivation in life -- to see ever person we talk to or every activity we engage in be about money. When we are the tool in the hand of money, our priorities are out of balance. Writing to young Timothy Paul reminds him of the importance of contentment in regard to possessions (1 Timothy 6:6). Whether we’ve been blessed with much or little, we cannot let money be our master, it must be our tool.
My friend Doug is a money guy -- he loves working with money and he’s good at it. He recently wrote a blog about the topic that you can find HERE. There are a lot of great online resources about this topic, too.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!
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