Good Stewardship -- Trusting God in Hard Times

Trusting God in Hard Times Necessitates Good Stewardship of Money

The Bible has hundreds of references to money. Every civilization has used some form of currency for exchange of goods and services. Every culture has had its wealthy and its poor people. Deuteronomy 8:18 states that it is God Who gives His people the power to get wealth, and it is God Who has promised all sufficiency in all things always, as 2 Corinthians 9:8 teaches.

There are many keys in the Bible that can be learned regarding accumulating honest wealth and the correct stewardship of it. This is vital to understand: God is owner of all, and He gives His people the opportunity and privilege to become good stewards.

Trusting God in hard times necessitates good stewardship. Affluence can give rise to laziness and financial carelessness, which may make it challenging initially when it's suddenly time to tighten the belt. Poverty can induce people to be greedy and stingy, and even to steal, and hard times can fuel that wrong thinking. Whatever background someone may be struggling with, Biblical principles can be learned and Christians can discover how to prosper and flourish in hard times.

First things first. God is the source of all provision, so “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9, 10)

Malachi 3:8-12 addresses tithing, which continues to be a rock-solid key to prosperity. Even unbelievers and non-Christian business people understand and practice charitable giving. Christians should not fearfully hang on to every penny they have, but like the Macedonian believers who had taken up an offering for another church in need, recorded in 2 Corinthians 8:3 and 4, “they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford. No one told them to do it. But they begged and pleaded with us to let them share in this service for God's people.”

Giving is a joy, and there are always people less fortunate to share with. There can never be a harvest without sowing seeds. A generous attitude and a cheerful giver is something God can really bless. It's important to keep money in its place with an appropriate perspective. “Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8,9)

“If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) This verse is in the context of people who rather than making an honest living, meddle in the lives of others. People like this are takers, not givers, talebearers and backbiters. God's people should never involve themselves in such destructive activities.

A good steward will value their own time as well as others' time. “Those who work their land will have plenty of food, but the ones who chase empty dreams instead will end up poor.” (Proverbs 28:19 New Century Version) “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” (Proverbs 24:3 TLB) Colossians 3:23 teaches Christians to put their whole heart into their work. This will bring satisfaction and God's blessings.

In hard times, the good steward controls spending and learns to live within a budget. This is not motivated by fear or uncertainty. It is motivated by love for one's family to take thoughtful, preventive actions so life and Christian service is not interrupted by self-inflicted crisis. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8) There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.” (Proverbs 21:20)

If at all possible, have a savings plan. Again, it's not out of fear, but with a purpose. “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Proverbs 13:11 NIV) It may be for a vacation, or education, or an emergency fund. Even saving a little is a little more than nothing.

It is always advisable to get out of debt. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7) Having a financial plan, making menus and shopping lists, and having a debt payoff strategy are all good steps to take. The good steward is diligent and conscientious, watching over all details of their household. It takes a little extra time, and it may require seeking counsel, but Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 teach that “in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” (See Budget Cutting Tips)

Written by: Pete Miller