Money And Stewardship:
Earning, Giving, And Living at Peace With Your Finances
Becky was a stay-at-home mom with three
little boys. She loved her sons and considered them her biggest blessing. She
enjoyed being home with them but in the area where she and her husband lived,
getting by on a single income was difficult.
So, Becky decided to look for ways to make
more money while continuing to raise her children. When she mentioned to some
of her Christian friends that she was searching for these opportunities, they
shamed her for wanting more money. One even accused her of not trusting God, while another questioned the sincerity of her faith.
Is It Un-Christian to Want to Make More Money?
When it comes to money, many Christians
have a lot of hang-ups. That’s because, over the centuries, the concept of money
has been twisted by those who don’t understand what God’s Word truly says on
the subject, or they are wolves in sheep’s clothing attempting to lead others
The first and most important thing to
understand about money is that it’s not evil. Some Christians have been taught
that “money is the root of all evil.” This stems from an incorrect
understanding of 1 Timothy 6:10.
Here’s the actual text of the verse from
the King James Version (KJV)…
“For the love of money is the root
of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,
and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
From the text, it’s clear that the love
of money risks leading us astray in our faith. It’s when we love money more
than we love people and more than we love God that we begin to step
into spiritual quicksand.
What Does Money Really Mean?
Money is much like time. It has no real
value, except what we assign to it. For example, let’s say you have an extra
hour of time today. You might choose to spend that hour with your child at the
park and consider it time well-spent.
Or you could spend that hour waiting in
line at the DMV only to get to the counter and realize you’ll have to come back
another day. You’ll probably consider that hour wasted.
Either way, it was an hour of time. But how
you valued that hour depended entirely upon your circumstances and the end
result it brought about.
It’s a similar concept with money. Your
friend may place a very low value on money, preferring to work a job where he’s
happy (even if he’s not paid very well). He might choose to stay in a small
house and drive an older car, perfectly content to live this way for the rest
of his life.
But you may place a much higher value on
money. You might choose a job based on how much you’ll earn or how much you’ll
be able to earn in the coming years. You might choose to live in a larger house
or own two cars instead of one.
None of these decisions make you better or
worse than your friend. It’s simply a matter of value. If you and your friend
value serving God and loving others more than how much you make (or
don’t make), you’re both on the right track.
What About Tithing?
It’s hard to have a conversation about
money and Christianity without the topic of tithing coming up. Some Christians
cheerfully give a portion of their income to the church each week and don’t
think twice about it. Others struggle with the idea and wonder if it truly
matters to God whether they give or not.
To dig deeper into the idea, it can be
helpful to understand why tithing was first commanded in the Bible. God wanted
His people to take a portion of their crops and give it back to Him. Here’s more
28“At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)
The purpose of the tithe was to provide for
those who worked in the church (the Levites) and those who were financially
destitute (foreigners, orphans, and widows).
Nowadays, most Christians aren’t farming
the land. Instead, you probably work a job and earn a paycheck each week.
Setting aside a small portion to give back to the church or those in need can
be an excellent way of honoring God.
But it’s not really about the amount you
give to God. It’s about the heart or spirit behind your giving. This is why
Paul urged the Corinthians to prepare their generous gifts with the
right attitude. He said…
6“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians in 9:6-7)
Should You Give It All Away?
Nancy started an online business a few years ago. Her mission was to provide eyeglasses for kids in need.
Because she’s so passionate about her goal, Nancy only takes ten percent of her profits and invests them back into her business. The remaining ninety percent goes directly to the families she helps.
Some Christians feel led to start a ministry or a business, and they never actually get a paycheck from it. This can be rewarding and enjoyable…if you’re truly called to it. Indeed if you are, then God can certainly sustain and strengthen you.
But if you’re doing it out of misplaced guilt or a desire to be seen in a certain way, then you’ll likely grow to resent this new venture. You may wonder why things are so difficult and struggle to get your new attempt going.
There’s nothing wrong with starting a business or company, just like there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a home. The important thing is that you simply view all your resources as gifts from God that you’re willing to use to serve Him.
Are You Judging Others for Their Wealth?
After an encounter with a rich young ruler,
Jesus had strong words to say about those with considerable wealth.
But Jesus said again,
24“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:24-25)
At first glance, it sounds like Jesus is
condemning wealth. But it’s clear from the passage surrounding this verse,
that’s not the point at all.
Jesus is once again denouncing the love
of money. You see, the rich young ruler wanted to serve God. But when Jesus
challenged him to give up everything and become his follower, the man walked
away. He chose the love of money over the steadfast love of Christ.
While it’s tempting to shake our heads and
say we wouldn’t make the same decision, the truth is it’s easy to. In fact, we
can do it daily—by focusing on work and money to the exclusion of spending time
with God, loving our families, and joyfully participating in our communities.
What Is Stewardship?
That’s why it’s important that Christians
focus on stewardship. The idea behind this is that you don’t truly “own” anything you have – not your house, car, time, money, or talents.
Instead, stewardship is about viewing these
items as generous gifts from God. In Acts, Luke wrote…
24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” (Acts 17:24-25)
Everything in your life is a gift from God, and it’s on loan to you. As His beloved child, God wants you to use every
resource He’s given you. He wants you to honor Him with every part of your life, and that includes your house, car, time, money, and talents.
Stewardship isn’t just about money. It’s
not how much you put into the offering plate on Sunday mornings or whether you
donate to a charitable organization that feeds the hungry or cares for the
At its core, stewardship is about living with open hands. But the cool thing about living this way is that when your hands are open, you get to bless others, and you also receive blessings that you would have otherwise missed.
That’s what happened with Ava. When she shared a few extra slices of pizza with a homeless vet on the street, she watched in awe as he blessed someone else with extra food as well.
Seeing the homeless man give away what little he had humbled Ava and made her determined to become more generous in her own life. Where she’d previously found it difficult to give, she now found it easy.
She realized that by providing for others, God would always provide her.
"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)
What Does Stewardship Look Like?
It’s great to talk about stewardship, and
it’s exciting to think of all you have as a gift from God. But sometimes, it
can be hard to move from warm, fuzzy feelings into taking actual action. After
all, stewardship is a broad concept, and you might be wondering what it looks
like in day-to-day life.
Stewardship is an attitude. It’s one of
submission to the Holy Spirit. Try this the next time you’re praying. Say,
“God, You’ve given me so much, and I’d like to be a blessing to someone else. I
am Your steward, and everything I have is Yours. Please show me who I can bless
this week and how I can give to them.”
These are the kinds of prayers that God delights to answer! He loves sending someone in need to a willing heart.
Sometimes, God will put someone on your mind right away. For example, He might prompt you to remember that the widow down the street needs her gutters cleaned out, or the single dad at your child’s school could use some extra groceries this month.
God may also stretch you in a new way by using a resource you normally hold close. For example, you might be an introvert who prefers spending your nights at home with your family. God might prompt you to open up your home one night a week for a Bible study for teenagers in your church. He could ask you to take in a stranger for the night.
What If I’m Nervous?
It’s normal to be nervous when you think
about following God’s leading with the resources He’s entrusted to you. Perhaps
you fear if you help out a neighbor one time, you’ll be the person that’s
called on to do it all the time. Maybe you fret that if you buy groceries for a
family in your neighborhood, there won’t be enough left over for yours.
But understand that God can sustain you in
new places. Just as God’s grace is limitless, so is His provision. There’s a
fascinating verse tucked away in Psalms about God’s amazing resources.
10“For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10)
Pause and meditate on that truth for a
moment—God owns everything already! He doesn’t need your resources. Instead,
He’s inviting you to partner with Him in work He’s already doing.
What If It’s an Adventure?
Just like a mother welcomes her toddler
into the kitchen when she’s baking and patiently lets him “help” her, God is
the same way. He beckons you close, inviting you to share in the experience
Yes, you might make a mess sometimes. Maybe
you’ll assist somebody, and you won’t do it quite right. Or you’ll feel awkward
while you’re cleaning out those gutters for the widow or showing up with food
on the single dad’s doorstep.
But the point isn’t how you feel or don’t
feel. It’s about showing up with open hands and telling God, “Here I am—send
Grace and peace,
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