Should The Church Talk About Finances?
No one likes to talk about finances. It can be uncomfortable and is overall viewed as a taboo subject that you should not bring up at a dinner party.
There are many different views and opinions on how you should be handling your finances and every family, couple, or individual has a different system or lack thereof, for doing so. Maybe that is why it has become such a touchy subject for us to talk about, and that’s okay.
There are very few places or situations where you should ever need to talk publicly about the specifics of your personal finances. There are many ways to manage finances and this will vary from person to person and family to family and while some people and even prominent public figures may claim to know the one and only right way to manage your finances successfully, there is no one size fits all answer.
There are, however, a few biblical truths that we can apply to our personal finances that will go a long way. While we may shy away from talking about finances, the Bible is clear about a few things when it comes to our finances. And applying these truths may take a step of obedience.
It was a step of obedience for me and my husband. As a newly married young couple we stepped into marriage with little knowledge about personal finances and a mountain of school loans to pay back. Can you relate?
In proverbs 22:7 it says “the borrower is slave to the lender” and let me tell you, that is how we felt. As a young couple just starting our lives together, our student loan debt felt like a trap. And we wanted Freedom! Not only did we want freedom from the weight of monthly payments on loans but we felt God calling us to take a step of obedience and put everything we had into paying off these loans.
After two years of budgeting, sacrificing, hard work, and extra jobs, we paid off our student loans and car loans and could officially call ourselves debt free! If you have any experience with a pesky student loan or debt of any kind, you know that this is a big deal!!
This is a story, however, less about how we did it and more about the journey God took us on through this time of discipline and how He used our passion to be debt free and acts of obedience to transform our lives in multiple ways!
Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”
Dropping Bad Habits
I’ll be the first to admit it, I used to be somewhat materialistic. I loved to shop, and I mean LOVED it. I craved shopping and truly did use it as “retail therapy” at times. And I know it sounds silly to say my heart was in it, but it was. I felt that my clothes and other material items defined who I was.
When I got married, I knew we wouldn’t have the extra money for me to keep shopping and I was a little afraid of how I would handle that, but once we got on this mission to pay off our loans, that became more important to me. I think in some ways it freed me from being somewhat materialistic.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to shop and always will, but now I don’t find my value in it. It’s funny how the Lord can use something like paying off student loans as a way for me to discover my real value comes from Him alone.
A New Sense of Contentment
I am also so much more content, not just with the way I look or dress or the amount of shopping I can do, but with our lives in general. Many people in our shoes may feel that they don’t have very much, or would feel stress and struggle in their finances. Since being on a budget and paying off our loans, however, at the end of every month we are amazed at HOW MUCH WE HAVE.
It was so fun to see how much we got to put towards paying off our students loans and has grown our faith to experience how God always provides.
It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how you manage and steward it.
Once you can appreciate and live in gratitude for what you have, you will find the less you “want”.
Philippians 4:12-13 “I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength”
New Hobbies and Passions
We used to joke that our dog, Penny, was how we were able to pay down our loans so quickly. But, it’s not really a joke. She helped us get out of the house, go to dog parks, find cool places to explore, hike, or walk around. Trying to stick to a budget made us get creative in finding things to entertain ourselves with.
There are so many fun experiences you can have and productive ways you can spend your time without spending a lot of money. Now that we have kids we are thankful we can pass this lesson on to them, with creative activities and spending a lot of time outdoors, even in Minnesota.
Greater Faith in Our Provider
At the end of the day God is our provider and we have learned that he provides always! The lessons we learned and the way God showed up through our journey of paying off debt can be applied to so many situations, including yours.
Whatever God is calling you to do, know that he will provide. That doesn’t mean it wont take hard steps of obedience, or hard work, or sacrifice on your part, but it does mean he will be with you every step of the way, lessening the load, giving you encouragement, and providing in ways you may not even expect.
Should The Church Talk About Money?
We know money and finances can be a controversial topic of discussion in our society today, but does that mean the Church should shy away from talking about it? Not at all.
It’s actually pretty remarkable how many verses throughout the bible reference money, poverty, giving, and other related topics. If the church ignores these topics, we are really missing out on a big chunk of the wisdom and instruction God wants us to gain through His Word.
Just like our story shows the lessons the Lord wants to teach us about finances are so much bigger than the money itself. The Bible is clear that when it comes to our money, how we view and steward it will affect so much more than our bank account.
In many ways how we handle our money will reveal a lot about our hearts. In Matthew 6:21, it says “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” God is in the business of mending and restoring hearts and here the bible makes it clear that our earthly possessions are a part of that process.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” As the Church walks alongside Christ followers through discipleship, money is just one of many potential idols we all need to be aware of and protect our hearts from.
The way we treat our money and how we respond in times when we may be lacking also reveals a lot about our trust in the Lord as our provider.
Proverbs 11:28 “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.”
Are we finding our trust and security in stashing away finances or viewing our income as the end all be all to the value of our life? The Church has a duty to help followers understand that our trust and security can be in the Lord over any worldly possession or status.
The Church is called to be generous and to care for the poor and the widows. How can we accomplish this goal if everyone is holding on to their time, treasure, and talents with closed fists.
Proverbs 22:9 “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor”
The church can’t accomplish its call to care for others and be generous to the world if, as followers, we don’t know the value of being generous with our personal finances.
We all know the saying “money can’t buy you happiness” so why do so many of us still try to buy our happiness or search for happiness or value in our possessions.
Proverbs 21:26 “All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing”.
Mark 8:36 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
If we don’t have Christ we have nothing. We could have all the money in the world but without the love of Christ we will always be searching for happiness. The church can play a role in fulfilling the void within so many who are trying to buy their happiness by revealing this truth and introducing all who they encounter to the gospel and God’s saving grace.
Looking For Resources?
Ready to commit to obedience in your finances or looking for more resources to help you talk about or teach on the topic?
There are a lot of churches who have really mastered talking about finances and stewardship with their congregation. Robert Morris of Gateway Church is a Christian leader and pastor on this topic. Through resources like his book, The Blessed Life, he has been able to help millions of people view their finances from a Godly perspective.
Pastor Rob Ketterling of River Valley Church has committed to a yearly series on money and stewardship and now has one of the leading churches in global missions giving through an initiative called “kingdom Builders”.
Dave Ramsey is a popular leader in teaching about finance management. Many churches offer his course as a starting point to get out of debt and follow better money management practices.
If you are ready to dive into your personal finances and be sure you are stewarding them in the best way possible, finding a financial advisor will also help you get on the right track or simply boost and enhance what you are already doing.
Finding a financial advisor that is the right fit for you or your family should be taken seriously. It is important to find an advisor that respects, understands, and even encourages your financial goals and priorities.
Torrch will be a place where you can find Christian financial Advisors who will not only manage your money but teach and encourage you every step of the way. Whether you’re trying to get out of debt or invest wisely, a Christian financial advisor can be a great partner for you as you commit to be obedient in your finances.
As a Christ follower the topic of money and finances isn’t something we should shy away from. We see time and time again in the Bible the Lord uses these topics as lessons that expand into so many other areas of our lives.
Personally, I have seen how obedience in my finances has led to greater things beyond my bank account. It is my prayer that everyone can experience the Freedom that comes from walking in obedience with God is any area of their life today!
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