"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Did you know that Jesus taught about two main subjects? They were 1) The kingdom of God and 2) How to handle worldly wealth. You see, Jesus wanted his followers to understand the sovereignty of God. He wanted them to see the relationship between His lordship and our stewardship. He wanted His followers to be knowledgeable and skilled in the practical aspects of walking by faith in a material world.
In many of Jesus’ parables the good “servants” are also good “stewards;” they demonstrate wisdom at managing their master’s assets. They neither neglect nor waste what God gives them; instead they put what they are given to use and, as a result, see it increase.
Here is an important biblical principle: The gifts of God are increased rather than diminished through use.
Over the past few weeks I have written to you about the economy, about giving, and about spending. Today I want to emphasize that wise stewardship also includes faithful saving. Consider Joseph’s plan for the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine: "Collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine." -- Gen. 41:35-37.
Just to give you a practical plan for saving, here is what Christian Financial Counselors recommend:
· First of all, tithe to God – Bring a tenth portion of your income to the church where you are fed (the storehouse).
· Second, tithe to yourself – save or invest an additional tenth of your income.
· Have a minimum of six months of normal income in accessible savings.
But this is very important: don’t trust your savings – trust God! “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." -- 1 Tim. 6:19. It is essential for Christ followers to balance the spiritual and the temporal. Matt. 6:19-21 reminds us: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our treasure is not found in our bank accounts or our retirement plans; our treasure is our relationship with God the Father! But even the children of the sovereign almighty all-wise king of the universe need to pay their bills in full and on time.
God has given us resources and opportunity; He has prospered us spiritually and materially. Now we need to ask for the wisdom and strength and faith to be good stewards of His gracious gifts.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews