This is the final part of a message I wrote on Proverbs and Wealth.
In this part we will be answering the final question: How one stewards money?
As you generate money, you then have to determine how you will steward your money.
Your viewership determines your stewardship
There are at least 4 ways you steward (or use) your money.
[Now, I’m going to jumble them on the screen because I don’t want to give away the order Proverbs would place them. (PIC)]
Here’s a graph of how many Americans steward their money (Graph):
Live lavishly (Big 4)
- College (Education)
- Credit Card
- Time Shares
“Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich. . . . The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.” (Proverbs 21:17, 20, NLT)
Just so we know, the vast majority of US residents rank comfortably some of the wealthiest in the world.
If you have a median household income of $63,000, your family is in the top .17% of richest people in the world.
HHS Poverty Guidelines for 2020: https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines
Most Americans (Almost 80%) live paycheck to paycheck. They literally have no savings. An unexpected bill of a $1000 or more easily becomes an unexpected financial crisis.
Most Americans cannot give what they would like, when they would like. Therefore, their giving is… sporadically.
“A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.” (Proverbs 28:22, ESV)
Most Americans unintentionally invest in the future. They may pay into their social security or their pension as part of their financial structure at their job. Or, they also may opt to pay extra into a 401K offered by their employer. However, according to an article on CNBC, 75 Percent of Americans are winging it when it comes to their financial future. Furthermore, most Americans decline any financial help or advice.
So that’s how most American steward or use their money. However, Proverbs gives us a different order for how we are to steward our money.
- To the Lord
- To others (poor, needy)
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first-fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9–10
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24–25, NLT)
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17, NIV)
“Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9, NLT)
“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” (Proverbs 28:27, NIV)
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7, NIV)
When it comes to giving generously, the Bible teaches about giving tithes and offerings. [Don’t have time to go into this], but most teach
- a tithe is setting apart 10% of your income to give to the Lord through a local church. (many have asked do we tithe off our gross or net income, to which mentors of mine have replied, “Which one do you want the Lord to bless?”)
- Offerings are anything above and beyond the tithe
When you give to the Lord, through Wheaton Bible Church, we want you to know that it makes a difference.
In case you didn’t know:
- Almost 30% of our budget goes to missions: local, including Puenta, and global (I’ve read through Pastor Kyle’s monthly reports of the last several months. We are making a difference WBC!)
- This is unheard of in the local church world!
- Where does the rest of the 70% go? MISSION. The local church is the vehicle by which God has delegated to advance his mission on planet earth
- Part of God’s mission involves, teaching, discipleship, benevolence, leveraging tools like technology to disciple and reach people.
Also, can I just say that WBC is a generous church!
- $92,000 has been given above and beyond to our “Caring Fund”—a benevolence fund since COVID hit.
- Over 900 cars came through the parking lot delivering thousands of pounds of food that was distributed to 7 local food pantries serving 11 of our communities
- 4 Blood drives have been fully booked
- 1000s of groceries have been picked up and delivered to our most vulnerable since the onset of the pandemic
Some might want to know how to measure generosity?
Here’s how I answer that: You measure generosity through the giving of Jesus. How did Jesus measure generosity? Through sacrificial giving. Here’s a principles:
If you’re giving doesn’t lead to a cut in your living, you’re not giving generously.Tweet
“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.”(Proverbs 21:20, NIV)
“Take a lesson from the ants… they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” (Proverbs 6:6, 8, NLT)
Experts say you need to have set aside 3-6 months of expenses. Given the pandemic, some say 8-12 months. That will take discipline and diligence by all.
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children….”(Proverbs 13:22, NIV)
“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”(Proverbs 31:16, NIV)
Here’s an acrostic to help you understanding investing:
- S— Sit down with a financial advisor
- E— Execute a plan
- E— Even if it’s a little, set it aside
- D— Diversify your investments
“Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.” (Proverbs 21:17, NIV)
“One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” (Proverbs 13:7, NIV)
“Better is little with righteousness than vast revenues without justice.” Proverbs 16:8
If you take everything we learned from Proverbs today about money and wealth—how you view money, how you generate money, and how you steward money—and you look at the life of Jesus, you will see: someone who had a wealth of wisdom, which made Him wise towards wealth.
When you look at Jesus’ life:
- Money wasn’t the priority for Jesus. Doing the will of the Father.
- He really didn’t generate all that much money as he was a faithful carpenter for most his earthly life. And then for 3 years he was an itinerant prophet who lived mostly off of funding and donations from others. Yet in both cases, his aim wasn’t to get rich but was to be faithful to the work that God had called him to do.
- He actually used his riches and wealth by giving them up so that he could elevate the status of the entire world. Paul writes it this way, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)
You see what Jesus modeled wasn’t a capitalist economy nor a socialist economy; He modeled the economy of God.
What if Americans lived out this economy? Wouldn’t you think our world would be a better, healthier, and ultimately wealthier country.
We know that it is a pipedream.
But what if the church would live out this economy—individually and corporately?
- We would be a small city or community within a larger community or city that would embody what it meant
- For money not to be the priority
- For money to be generated in a wise and righteous manner
- For our money to be stewarded by giving generously, saving measurably, investing intentionally, and living frugally
When we live that way—in the way of Jesus—we will have past the test that shows we have a wealth of wisdom which makes us wise towards wealth.