Updated: Feb 28, 2020
You know the story of the man at the gate beautiful, right? (Acts 3:1-10)
He had been lame and was begging for charity. He desired assistance and asked Peter and John to meet his need. When they told the man to look on them I'm quite sure he excitedly thought that they were going to really bless him. The Bible says he looked on them expectantly. But what the disciples offered wasn't a handout, they offered him a way out.
It was a way out of his current situation. No more begging for him. They offered him the name of Jesus! There still is power in that name! They didn't just give him a few coins to get him through the week, they grabbed him and using that powerful name helped him to walk. Here's the thing, the word of God grabs you and won't let you stay in the state it found you! Read that again!!
One of the interesting things that I learned from a recent survey directed to God's chosen people relating to financial stewardship was what is most important for them to learn. The survey revealed that they wanted to know how to manage money according to the Word. A close second was the topic of how to reduce debt and avoid the world's system sabotage.
Why is this surprising? The state of the current economic climate shows a mass number of people in significant debt. In 2018, the average American had about $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages. Gen Z & younger millennials (ages 18-24) had an average of $22,000 in debt mostly related to student loans. Older millennials (ages 25-34) however, average $42,000 of debt with credit card balances being the leading cause. Gen X (ages 35-49) rounded out the group with debt averaging $39,000 and specifically home mortgages being the number one source. You would think that relieving the burden would be paramount. Well let's examine the findings.
Good stewardship, managing well what belongs to another, is an area covered extensively in the Bible. Most often you will hear it relating to treasure (money) but it also includes time and talents. How one uses their God given abilities is at the center of being a good steward. If our hearts are yielded to God looking to please Him, the Bible indicates that our wallets, our clocks and all of our abilities would be available for Kingdom purposes. I know you are saying internally, I don't see that played out in the local churches today.
Many church goers rarely consider what they can offer to better the Kingdom. God's design however is like a puzzle. We are all individual pieces yet when put together we make a beautiful tapestry. If one piece is missing, our eye is immediately drawn to the gaping hole. Translation: You are valuable to the Kingdom! Our stewardship not only depends upon our physically being available but also our monetary contributions. This too helps the spread of the gospel and the ministering to the saints. If we recognized the importance of God's economy and the fact that the gift itself glorifies God and then the receiver glorifies God, we may just give more. The circle of blessing creates an economy where no one is left out. The widows, orphans, and strangers where provided for in the Old Testament with the giving of tithes and offerings. That's the way God sustained His economy. Today we witness a decline in giving and a repulsion to the tithe. It's still God's plan and it is an acknowledgment of who He is to the individual. We aren't constrained by any means. However, you don't hear of anyone demanding to give more than 10%. Again, this is a heart matter. To learn what God says about money management and ultimately stewardship can be found in the pages of the Bible. It is good to be in agreement with God. Fasten your eyes on Him.
On a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 was the highest, the respondents indicated that given simple tools and a systematic approach they valued learning financial freedom based on God's word. 100% of the respondents rated it 3 or better with 80% indicating a 4 or 5. This goes to the value of being able to apply the wisdom from above. Our eyes are focused on the Word for direction. This begs the question as to why then do so many in the church still have a problem with managing money? There are simple tools available (h2htruth.teachable.com (online class) and books) and the biblical approach is thorough. The only question is leading individuals to the right source. I know you are internally talking to yourself again. I hear you. Yes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Clever saying yet, if the horse is thirsty enough, he will drink. Here's to getting others thirsty enough to want to please God in every area of life and running to the fountain to drink. Prayerfully, the Word will grab them and lift them from their current state.
Is there a Peter or John available?