5 Foundational Beliefs A Christian Should Grasp In A Biblical View Of Money

Biblical StewardshipChristianity, The Church, Stewardship, And Money

In the last 30-40 years, I believe the American church has done a poor job of laying a strong foundation for Biblical stewardship. There are a number of reasons for this, but this is not within the scope of this particular blog post.

Fortunately in recent years, other ministries and programs such as Crown and Dave Ramsey have come alongside the church to assist pastors and lay leaders in laying a strong Biblical foundation regarding money and stewardship.

When it comes to Christian finances, I believe there are several key, foundational principles that every Christian should know and understand.

The following list contains my top five foundational stewardship beliefs.

5 Key Stewardship Principles From God’s Word

  1. God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This is the foundational belief upon which the whole concept of Christian stewardship (or management) rests. We either completely believe that God owns everything in the universe (including all of the stuff in our current possession) or we don’t believe this truth. Plus, how we live our lives and manage these possessions demonstrates if we really believe in God’s ownership or not.
  2. Christians are managers (stewards) of ALL of God’s stuff. 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” After we come to grips with the first belief, then this second belief should be a natural outflow of the first. If God truly owns it all, then the stuff I currently possess was given to me by God Almighty to manage for Him. As a result, I am compelled to do an excellent, faithful job so that He receives an incredible return on investment!
  3. Kingdom living should be our priority. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Once we understand that God owns it all and we are simply managers of His stuff, then our only concern should be expanding His Kingdom on earth while we are here. Our budgets, expenses, purchases, and investments should all be filtered through a Kingdom mindset. The question that should be continuously on our mind: “Does this use of money truly build up God’s Kingdom and make an impact for eternity?”
  4. Debt is unwise. Proverbs 22:7 reads, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Although the Bible never states that debt is a sin, it does make the claim that it is unwise and dangerous. If you are a Christian who thinks debt is just a normal, everyday reality in today’s economic climate, then can you truly say with 100% authority that having debt honors God and His Kingdom? I would argue that it doesn’t. I believe that our personal businesses, families, and churches should all strive to be debt free as soon as possible in order for our focus to truly be on God’s Kingdom work.
  5. Our giving should be percentage based. Check out Hebrews 7:2a, and 7:4-9 “and Abraham gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of everything … Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham … ” The tithe (10%) is a great starting point for people to learn and grow in their generosity journey. I understand that a lot of Christians are not in agreement with this statement. But, if you take a comprehensive view of Scripture, including Old Testament (pre-Law and Mosaic Law) and New Testament (as stated in this NT passage from Hebrews), almost every mention of money and giving had a percentage attached to it. Why? Common sense would tell us that we don’t all make the same amount of income. Also, monetary types and values vary widely throughout human history. Percentage-based giving makes more sense according to the concept of “to whom much has been given, much more will be required” (Luke 12:48b).

Questions: If you are a Christian, how do you handle your money and possessions? Do you hold to the Biblical truths in these five principles above, or do you struggle with a carnal, worldly view of your finances? Do you think this list of five principles is comprehensive enough, or would you add or subtract anything from this list?

What Should You Do When You’re Waiting On God For Your Next Move?

Photo by mikevazzovski

Photo by mikevazzovski

In The Waiting

Waiting (definition): The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

Do you enjoy staying in one spot for too long? Do you relish delaying action while you wait on someone or something to change?

Personally, I hate waiting. I’ll admit it. I’m a time nut, and waiting around for something to take place would seem to be a total waste of time, money, and energy.

So, why does it always seem like we need to wait around all the time?

We must wait until we have a clear direction to move forward in a career change. We must wait for medical treatments to work the way they’re supposed to and finally heal our body. We must wait patiently to declare freedom from debt while we keep chunking down extra money month after month on our debt load. We must wait anxiously and prayerfully as our children move through a rebellious period in their lives.

What Now? That Awkward “In-Between” Stage

So now, we’re waiting around for God’s next move for our lives. We’re in that awkward, in-between stage that no one enjoys. What now?

Well, we have at least three choices to choose from in our response to this in-between time period.

Choice one: we can get mad and frustrated with God. We can mope around and get into a “funk” because God won’t answer our prayers immediately. God’s not on our time-table, so we’re going to pack up our toys and go home, so to speak. We become disillusioned with God. We disengage from living the Christian life, at least to the extent God intended for us.

Choice two: we can get impatient with God and strike out on our own. We attempt to force a change to take place. This is usually when we make poor choices and bad stuff happens to us. We go into massive debt that will be difficult to get out of later on. We marry the wrong person. We take a job position that is a poor choice for our gifting and personality. We end up driving a relationship wedge between us and those we love.

Choice three: we can assume an attitude of patience with our Heavenly Father, recognizing that He knows all things and that He knows what is best for us as His children. We can take on the attitude that God wants to use this in-between time to shape us in to the man or woman He wants us to be.

Becoming The Person God Intends You To Be

Do you know why God hasn’t taken you from where you are currently to where you would like to be? Most likely it is due to the fact that you are not yet the person He needs you to become in order for you to be successful at the next level.

Your ultimate focus in this period of waiting should be becoming the person God intends you to be. He wants you to grow up. He wants you to become more mature in your walk with Christ. He wants you to shed sinful habits that are holding you back. He wants you to learn patience. He wants you to become “a better you” as a result of the waiting.

James 1:2-4 tells us, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

In these times of waiting on God, we are being tested. The purpose according to James is two-fold. First, the testing of our faith should produce endurance. Second, our new-found endurance should produce maturity.

During these times of waiting on God, simply allow Him to shape and mold you into the person He wants you to become.

Questions: How patient are you during these periods of waiting on God? Have you ever considered that God is wanting you to focus on becoming a more mature believer as a result of the waiting? Do you have any personal examples of God radically changing your life as a result of one or more of these times of waiting? If so, I’d love to hear your story.

Energy Management Is The New Time Management

Photo by useitinfo

Photo by useitinfo

Old School: Time Management

For decades now, there has been a tremendous emphasis in leadership and management circles regarding time management. Perhaps you’ve read some of the following books and are familiar with the time management concepts of these authors:

These books are all great resources and contain wonderful time management concepts. In our ever-changing, fast-paced digital, information overload world, time is a precious resource that is getting more difficult to manage with each passing day.

Time management is an attempt to become more efficient in our processing and scheduling of time in order to do even more. The problem with this approach is that we expend additional energy to accomplish more in our schedules and to-do lists. As a result over time, we lose energy and focus and end up accomplishing less than we were before.

A better approach in today’s age is energy management. Here’s what I am talking about.

New School: Energy Management

All of us have specific capacities of energy in our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical lives. If we don’t cycle through by using these capacities to their greatest extent as well as renewing these energies, then we can become less effective, difficult to deal with, and maybe even downright moody.

Let me give you two quick examples with commentary.

First: Spiritual Capacity. As a Christian, I need to be connected to a God-purpose that is bigger than myself. I receive energy and renewal through the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to engage the power of the Holy Spirit, I must be active in my faith through carrying about the great commission as well as using the gifts and abilities God has given me for ministry. I must not only be active in my faith and using my gifts to their greatest capacity, but I also need to spend time renewing that Holy Spirit capacity through reading and meditating on God’s Word, time in prayer, and worshiping in church each week.

Second: Physical Capacity. My physical body needs to be pushed to its fullest capacity. I must move! I need to create rituals of both aerobic exercise and strength training. I need to expend physical energy in order to receive more energy that will assist me in being fully engaged in the workplace as well as at home. I renew my physical energy capacity through proper rest, recreation, excellent eating habits, and physical exercise each day.

Focus Your Life On Energy Management

I can testify from first-hand experience that a focus on energy management in the areas of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical has an unbelievable impact on your life, family, and work in every way.

I highly recommend a great book resource I just finished reading a few days ago: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. Check out the link below for more information.

Questions: are you still engaged in old-school time management principles, or have you discovered the power of full engagement through energy management? If you are familiar with these energy management principles, what has been your own personal experience with this approach?

Do You Want To Be An Amazing Leader? Learn To Power Pose

Photo by Snap Man

Photo by Snap Man

Try A Powerful Pose

Stand right where you are. Stand tall and proud. Spread your feet about shoulder length apart. Put your hands and arms up in the air in a victorious “Yes! I just won the race!” – type of pose.

Or, maybe instead of putting your hands and arms above your head, try putting your hands on your hips. This is affectionately known as the “Wonder Woman” pose.

How do you feel after doing these poses? Strong? Powerful? Ready to take on any problem thrown at you?

Good. This is how you’re supposed to feel after power posing.

A TED Talk Video

I recently ran across this interesting TED talk given by Amy Cuddy on what she describes as power posing. You can check out it below, and then come on back to the blog post.

In this video, we learn several key thoughts that can help us all be better leaders:

  • We communicate to others through our body language.
  • We communicate power and dominance through opening up and expanding.
  • We communicate powerlessness through closing up and making ourselves smaller.
  • Our gender typically plays a role in our body language. Women tend to close up and make themselves smaller. Men usually open up and expand.
  • Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us.
  • Powerful, effective leaders have high testosterone, a dominance hormone, and low cortisol, a stress hormone.
  • You probably don’t want leaders in your organization who are highly stress reactive. You want laid back, confident leaders.
  • Our bodies change our minds … and our minds change our behavior … and our behavior changes our outcomes.
  • Tiny tweaks can lead to BIG changes.
  • You can “fake it, until you become it” through power posing.

So, What Does Power Posing Mean For You And Me?

Are you a leader in the workplace? Do you struggle with self-confidence? Do you need to “be on your A game” on a regular basis? Are you a key performer or presenter in your area of expertise?

Power posing is a real science that has been proven to work in clinical studies as well as real life scenarios. Many a shy, backward personality has been transformed through this concept of power posing.

The next time you don’t feel very confident in a certain situation, try power posing. If you’re in a meeting, then sit up straight, put your shoulders back and chest out. Think expansion. Sit in a larger stance, not a smaller one. Definitely don’t cross your arms and slump in your chair.

If you’re about to walk out on to a stage to make a presentation, then try some power poses back stage. Look, feel, and act confident before you speak.

If you’re about to go in for a job interview, then quickly duck into the rest room and practice a few power poses. Get yourself into a powerful state of mind before meeting with the interviewer. Raise your testosterone levels and lower your cortisol. Fake it until you make it. Make a great first impression.

This stuff does work. Try it for yourself and find out.