What is stewardship? Generally speaking, when we refer to stewardship we are talking about the way in which one manages the resources and responsibilities entrusted to them according to the rules or standards of that system. The measure of effective stewardship is seen largely by how closely the steward adheres to and applies the standards of the system in which they are a steward.
A corporate steward is measured by how closely he follows the standards of the corporation in which he works, and how well he preserves, enriches and nurtures the resources of the organization. This includes assets of all types including money, property and people.
For Christians, the rules of stewardship are essentially the same. Relative to finances, when we follow biblical financial principles we are showing ourselves to be good stewards and when we fail to follow them we are poor stewards. Luckily, throughout the Bible God has provided clear standards that we are to follow and apply if we want to be determined good stewards. His principles in this area are precise, clear and without contradiction, yet the vast majority of Christians, even those who hold a biblical world view find it all but impossible to apply these standards to their lives. Why we humans find it so difficult to adhere biblical principles is different for everyone, however the following suggestions may cover the majority of causes:
- Inconvenience. Biblical financial principles require that we are patient in getting what we want in and out of life, this has never been more true than today. With so many worldly options available to us we find it easier and more convenient to have what we want today vs. waiting on God’s timing.
- Selfishness. Biblical financial principles require that we give away a portion of our material wealth. For many this is simply a difficult concept to reckon with. Focused on the moment we can easily identify personal needs and wants for ourselves and our families, or we want to stock up for the future because we don’t know what lies ahead. These thoughts and feelings make it incredibly difficult to envision our part in God’s greater plan and so we talk ourselves out of tithing and sacrificial giving. Unfortunately when we do this the person we are hurting most is ourselves. When we narrow our focus solely to ourselves we give up the opportunity of contributing to something much greater. What we fail to recognize is that those opportunities are often for our benefit and abundance.
- Ignorance. Many spirit-filled Christians are simply unaware of what God requires from us relative to our financial behavior. There are 2,300 scriptures that provide specific financial direction for Christians, and in the section Biblical Principles we have attempted to consolidate these biblical principles into major themes.
- Deception. Many of us are deceived by two worldly lies regarding material assets:
a. Ownership. We conveniently forget that God owns everything and that though we are managers of material assets, everything still belongs to God. It would be wise to remember Haggai 2:8 “’The silver is mine and the gold is mine.’ Declares the Lord.” What God gives us he can take away.
b. If it’s legal it’s ok. We find that Christians in this era are too often not taught a basic principal of Christianity which is that we are people set apart. What is acceptable for a non-believer is not acceptable for a believer. God will judge our heart as a believer by our actions – including our actions relative to finances. Therefore, we can not afford to live by the world’s standards of accumulating mountains of debt, spending vast amounts on ourselves without regard to those less fortunate and hording money for the spoiling of future generations while many are starving today. Luke 12:48 states ”For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” This is an important scripture because it reminds us that God has an account of what he has given us, and he will hold us accountable accordingly.
If we are managing our lives according to the rules of the world, operating as owners rather than stewards; then we may be missing our purpose and without consideration, be setting ourselves and our heirs up for disaster.
- Rebellion. When we know and understand God’s principles and follow our own path anyway we are engaged in rebellion to his will for our lives. This is a dangerous place to be, not only because we are unprotected, but more importantly, because our hearts can begin to harden and become callous to God’s voice. When we are in rebellion we think we know better how to solve our earthly problems and in doing so we create a great distance between ourselves and God; significantly diminishing the positive impact our lives can have on his kingdom.
The bad news is that at some time all of us have likely forsaken God’s financial principles - taking on more debt than our assets can cover, neglecting to tithe, collecting material wealth without regard to those in need and spoiling our children by providing too much without regard for the negative impact to their character and work ethic, etc. The good news is that God in his infinite graciousness is quick to forgive a repentant heart and reward good financial stewardship with purpose and impact.
God knew that our finances would be the most difficult area of our lives to submit to his will and so he provides us a unique and enduring challenge ~ to test him in this one area. This is such a profound offer as it is the only area where we are invited to test God without calling our faith into question.
- “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:!0
We challenge believers to prayerfully consider what challenge God is calling you to right now, and to take an important step forward.
At Select Portfolio Management, we understand the inherent challenges between the offer of worldly riches and the call of God regarding money. Our advisors are both wise and gracious. We will meet you where you are spiritually, to provide guidance, planning and advice to meet your financial goals.
- If you are a Christian looking to deepen your understanding of Biblical Principles and want to ensure that your financial plan is aligned for Kingdom impact then our advisors will provide you the guidance and knowledge you need to confidently and competently make righteous decisions.
- If you are a believer who is not yet ready to make significant adjustments to your financial strategy, you will find Select Portfolio Advisors competent and sensitive to your needs and desires. Our primary goal is to assist you in meeting your financial goals and we are primarily committed to that endeavor.
- If you are non-Christian seeking an efficient advisory firm that applies a strategic process and diligent financial principles to their clients’ plans then Select Portfolio Management may be a perfect partner for your financial needs. During our 20 years in business we have found that the wisdom in God’s principles applies to everyone. If you are interested in learning how to improve your financial performance, we are happy and equipped to have a conversation about the secular application of financial stewardship.