Money Matters – where next?
The preaching at Sunday services in All Nations recently has been on the theme Money Matters, looking at various aspects of this important subject. The Bible has more to say on how we use wealth and possessions than any other topic! So in this post I will point to a few practical things that might help us apply some of the teaching.
First a reminder of the main subjects in the series:
“Money matters – ownership”
– all we have belongs to God and we are stewards not owners
“Money matters – true identity”
– we are defined by what God says about us not the ‘stuff’ we have
“Money matters – living with a plan”
– we need to plan sensibly to escape debt and ‘live our wage’
“Money matters – Give – Gain – Grow”
– how we handle finances is a test that can qualify us for the spiritual riches of the Kingdom
“Money matters – sowing and reaping”
– a natural principle of harvest applies spiritually.
The first application in all these is a matter of the heart. I need to settle in my heart my response to what we are hearing that God really is the Owner and I am a steward. If I do not, then I am in danger of letting love of money control me (whether I have much or not!). But once we have settled the issue in our hearts, how do we then put things into practice?
The second application is to plan a budget. There are some helpful tools to achieve this. One very good source is a Christian organisation called Stewardship who have various free resources: https://www.stewardship.org.uk/resources/money-resources – the budget tool and guidance are at https://www.stewardship.org.uk/downloads/Money-Resources/Budgeting/painting_by_numbers.pdf Of course, with any planning it always works best to ask God for wisdom first!
There is a third application too: It might be painful to admit we need help, and there is a great weight of opinion in the culture around us that it is not “done” to talk about money, but there is no substitute for being open with one or two people we trust and whose lives are being joined to ours by the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to be sure of putting into practice what we hear than to invite help and advice from those we are joined with spiritually.
There …. I have said it! I know it runs against the culture around us. I know I am at risk of upsetting some people who want to keep their finances to themselves. I also know I am at risk of being misunderstood by people who fear their confidence might be abused and those alongside them might push rather than gently advise in love. But there really is no other way, because God made us for fellowship with Him and with one another. We are designed for community.
When God wanted to reach humankind and save the word He did not just send messages, he sent people. Ultimately He sent His Son (or we could legitimately say, He sent Himself!). His means of communication is through relationship not disembodied words or ideas, because the aim of salvation is restored friendship, that we might know Him and enjoy friendship with Him.
In practice this might be as simple as two people praying together for wisdom in handling finances and sharing a little about how they are handling finance (struggling with debt? feeling unable to give to the Lord and His work? neither of those but feeling unable to save for big events etc?).
Or it might involve a bit more about helping one another to budget and plan. For example, asking someone to look over your budget to help you make sure you have not forgotten anything or for reassurance that you are being sensible.
Or it might need some specialist advice – Life Group leaders can signpost some further advice and there are specialist, trained people who can help with debt counselling. So there is a range of what might be needed and what is appropriate. And there is a range of help available.
Money matters …. So let’s settle in our hearts who owns our ‘stuff,’ then be practical in prayerful planning and open with others we are joined with.