Next Steps for Faithful Money Management

The following post is part of our Treasure Hunting series. Find out more about our Treasure Hunting series here.

This past Sunday we looked at practical, biblical, faithful ways to manage the money that Jesus has entrusted to us. Different people are in different situations when it comes to financial management; therefore, faithful repentance and growth looks different for each of us. The question to ask is: what is the next step that I need to take to faithfully manage Jesus’ money?

Step #1: Make a budget. If you currently have no budget, start here. Tell your money where to go. If you don’t tell your money where to go, you will wonder where it went. If you don’t tell your money where to go, too much of your money will always drift towards your lifestyle. Without a plan, it is highly unlikely that you will accidentally invest your money in Jesus’ kingdom and mission.

If this is you and you would like some help, talk to your LifeGroup and sign up for our Personal Finance Seminar.

Step #1b: Get out of consumer debt. This step is so important that I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I call it step 2. If you are racked with debt, the scriptures say that you are in slavery. Proverbs says that “the borrower is slave to the lender.” It doesn’t say that you are dumb, wicked, immoral or wasteful. It says you’re stuck. Chained and enslaved. Unable to freely send your money where you want it to go.

If this is you and you would like some help, talk to your LifeGroup and sign up for our Personal Finance Seminar. We have been praying for you. Our hope for you is that you'd take the first steps in walking out of slavery and into financial freedom.

Step #3: Enjoy some, save some and invest some. Enjoy some: According to 1 Timothy 6:17, “[God] richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” God loves His kids; His financial account managers. It is not wrong or immoral to enjoy some of all that God has given to you. Order the steak sometimes. Thank Jesus for His gracious provision in your life. Celebrate Him.

Save some: According to Proverbs 21:20, “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling,
 but a foolish man devours it.” It’s wise to save some for a rainy day. We save with an open hand where we are ready to protect ourselves and our family when an emergency comes AND we are ready to protect someone else when their emergency comes.

Invest some: According to the entire parable in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus expects us to make His money grow. Different people have different biblical convictions about investing, but here are some overall basics. Don’t be a gambler. Don’t go for get rich quick schemes. Don’t be a cheater. Don’t take advantage of others. But do take some reasonable risks in order to invest some of your savings wisely. Investing allows your money to grow which helps you...

Step #4: Maximize your giving. Overwhelmingly, the Bible speaks the loudest about giving and generosity when it talks about money. It’s because our hearts were designed to give. We look like Jesus when we are giving our stuff away to serve others. We reflect His generosity. We send our treasure ahead to heaven. We get personally invested in what He’s doing here on planet earth. When Jesus comes to settle accounts we will never regret a single dime we gave toward His kingdom and mission.

Depending on your current financial situation, any or all of these steps may be the right next step for you, but the key is to take the next faithful step that Jesus is calling you to take right now.

This post was contributed by pastor Jon Ludovina. Jon serves by overseeing our teaching and preaching. Follow Jon on Twitter at @j_luda. Find out more about our leadership on our leadership page.

Treasure Hunting by the Numbers

Statistically speaking, America is in a world of financial hurt. We mentioned some of these statistics on Sunday (you can listen here), but we wanted to summarize the stats and give you a numerical picture of how bad the situation really is:

  • Average American credit card debt = $7,073
  • Ignoring people with no credit card debt, the average increases to = $15,162
  • In total, American consumers owe: $846.2 billion in credit card debt.
  • In total, American consumers owe: $11.25 trillion in all types of debt.
  • This includes credit cards, mortgages, student loans, etc (source).
  • In total, as of June 3, 2012 the US outstanding national debt is $16.75 trillion (source).
  • Total personal and public debt in American is: $28 trillion.
  • Storage unit revenues for 2011 in America were $22.45 billion (source).
  • America is $28 trillion in debt and we own so much stuff that we spend an extra $22.45 billion for additional storage space over and above what our homes can handle.
  • “Financial issues are the primary reason for 90% of divorce cases I handle,” - John Thyden, prominent Washington, D.C., divorce attorney (source).
  • A study by the American Psychological Association in 2004 found that 73% of Americans listed money as the single largest cause of stress in their lives (source).

Fortunately, we are not left alone to deal with our stress. Financial wisdom is not neglected by the Bible, nor is it even a small Biblical topic.

  • Money is mentioned 2 times more than Heaven and Hell combined.
  • Money is mentioned 3 times more than love.
  • Money is mentioned 7 times more than prayer.
  • Money is mentioned in 17 of Jesus’ 38 parables.
  • 15% of Jesus’ recorded words are related to money.
  • 2,350 verses in the bible mention Money.

So let’s go treasure hunting. There is too much at stake, and Jesus has too much wisdom, freedom and life to give for us to ignore Him in our finances.

Sources: U.S. National Debt Clock, Natural Wellness, Good Housekeeping, National Christian Foundation of Indiana