If you missed Part I, you can read it here
At your core, you need to believe that every material thing you have comes from God. Part of honoring God means managing your financial and material blessings in such a way that you are responsible with them and for them. You should avoid debt, and prayerfully consider purchases. Responsible management means that you are always mindful of His blessing and you are prepared to give back what belongs to Him. (Remember….He gave it to you??) If you approach your material blessings this way, you will easily become a “cheerful giver.”
The topic of money and material blessings is difficult for many people. Some see the church as a bunch of money grabbing thieves. Others have referred to giving to the church as a form of extortion. In fact, God established the principle of financial giving as a part of effectively managing material wealth. No doubt you have heard of a term called the tithe. Effectively, the tithe is 10% of what you earn. But, rather than get hung up on the 10% figure, I encourage you to prayerfully consider what God would have you give.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” For some of you this cheerful giving may be 10% of what you earn. For others, it may be much more or less. To a certain extent, your giving must be sacrificial. To be in a position to give, you may be called upon to give up certain behaviors.
Proverbs 3:9 states: “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” Take this verse to mean that God doesn’t want the last few bucks you have in your pocket on Sunday morning. Good stewardship allows you to give to those who have less than you. More importantly, good stewardship allows God to bless you. His blessing may not be in the form of material wealth, but it will come nonetheless.
Here are some tangible ways to manage your material blessings:
1. Thank God every day for his provision in your life. Pray daily that God would provide for your financial needs and ask him to show you what to give back to him and how to effectively manage it.
2. Establish a budget, and stick to it. Begin by tracking your expenses for a month or two. Write down everything you spend. At the end of this evaluation period, take a look at what you spent, and work to eliminate those unnecessary expenses. If you would like a copy of the budget (Excel) that my family uses, please leave a comment with an email address and I will get it to you.
When you get paid, immediately write a check or set aside money for your tithes and offerings.
4. Avoid debt. If you have a significant debt today, be sure that your budget allows for an aggressive plan to pay off that debt. For more information on debt reduction visit Crown Financial Ministries. They can help you with budgeting and stewardship issues.
5. Carefully consider saving and estate planning. Maximize your savings with employer matching programs, appropriate investments, and wise counsel. This isn’t about storing up treasures on Earth. It’s about having the resources necessary to provide for the years when you may not be working full time or when you are called by God to give to missions, evangelism, or community work. Through it all, you have to get to a point where you realize that you are dependent on God for everything. With this mindset, you will find that God is consistently providing for your needs and you will see tangible examples of his hand at work in your life.