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Financial Stewardship

Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways


Stewardship

 

1. What is a Steward?

A steward is one who manages things that belong to another.  He is not the owner.  He takes care of the owner's possessions, and looks out for the good of his master (the owner).

 

2. Everything belongs to God

A. The year of Jubilee – Lev 25:8-24

In the Old Testament, in order to remind the people that all the land was His, God gave them the year of jubilee.  In this system, every 50 years the land returned to the original owner.  This meant that if you sold land to someone, it was only his for a time.  When the year of jubilee came, the land would come back to you.

 

And remember, the land must never be sold on a permanent basis because it really belongs to me.  You are only foreigners and tenants living with me. – Lev 25:23

 

B. Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him.

 

C. Psalm 50:10-12

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.

Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me.

If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.

 

D. Haggai 2:8

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord Almighty.

 

3. The Parable of the Talents:   Matt 25:14-30

The meaning of this parable is not limited to money only.  Jesus is teaching about using all that God gives us for His glory.  This includes our time, abilities, energy, etc.  It also includes money, however, and it shows us how we are to view everything that we have.

 

A. Your money, property, and all your possessions belong to God.

 

B. You are the steward of all that you have.  God has allowed you to manage it for Him.

 

C. God expects you to use His money (which you manage for Him) to build and advance His Kingdom.

He also provides it for you to enjoy and to take care of your needs.

 

D. Those who manage well will be given more responsibility.  Those who do not will lose even what they have (v 29)

 

4. Being a good Steward:  Principles of stewardship

A. Learn how to create wealth for the benefit of God's Kingdom

 

B. Learn what God expects of you.

It is the owner who sets the guidelines and rules for the use of His money and possessions.  You must always ask yourself, "What does God want me to do with His money and things?"

 

C. Always be aware that everything you have will remain on earth.

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. – 1 Tim 6:7

 

D. Be faithful with what you have now – Matt 25:21

It is when you show yourself to be faithful with what you already have that God will bring you more.  What does it mean to be faithful with what you have?  By following the principles of stewardship and finance as we are studying in this lesson.

 

E. Have the right priorities

1. God – Matt 6:33

2. Family -- 1 Tim 5:8

 

Assignment:

In 1 Chron 29, King David and the people of Israel gave toward the building of a temple for God.  Read 1 Chron 29:10-20.  This records what David prayed as he and the people gave.

 

How does David show the attitude of a steward?

 

 

Financial Growth

 

Biblical prosperity means that we are blessed in order to bring glory to God and be a blessing to others.  It does not necessarily mean being rich (though at times it includes that).  The Bible shows that in general it is God's desire for His people to grow in their finances.  However, even if God desires it, it does not always happen for one reason or another.  We seek to use money to serve God, not use God to serve money.

 

God has given a number of principles concerning how His people can prosper financially.  It is through following these principles that people are blessed.  The principles which we will discuss in this section are:

 

·      Giving

·      Integrity

·      Hard work

·      Saving

·      Budgeting

·      Avoiding debt

·      Trusting God

 

Following these principles will not guarantee that you will become rich.  If you see someone struggling with their finances, do not assume that is because they are doing something wrong.  However, in general following these will lead to growth and stability in time if you are faithful to God.

 

Discussion Groups:

Why do you think that so many believers struggle in their finances?

 

For you personally, do you think that God wants you to be poor, rich, or somewhere in the middle?  Why do you think so?

 

Giving

1. Tithes

A. In the Old Testament

1. The first mention of the tithe is in Gen 14:20, when Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils of battle to Melchizedek.

 

2. Later, God including the giving of the tithe in the law.

All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the Lord's; they are holy to the Lord. ?? ?? All tithes of herd and flock, every tenth one that passes under the shepherd's staff, shall be holy to the Lord. Let no one inquire whether it is good or bad, or make substitution for it; if one makes substitution for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy and cannot be redeemed. – Lev 27:30, 32-33

 

3. These tithes were used as payment for the work of the Levites

As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will pay them for their service in the Tabernacle with the tithes from the entire land of Israel… But the Levites will receive no inheritance of land among the Israelites, because I have given them the Israelites' tithes, which have been set apart as offerings to the Lord. This will be the Levites' share. That is why I said they would receive no inheritance of land among the Israelites." – Num 18:21, 23-24

 

4. When the Israelites failed to give their tithes, God said they were robbing Him, and were under a curse. – Mal 3:8-11

 

B. In the New Testament

1. The only times Jesus mentioned the tithe is when He was rebuking the Pharisees for thinking that they were righteous just because they fulfilled certain duties, such as giving the tithe.  See Mat 22:23 & Lk 18:9-14.

 

2. It is also mentioned in Heb 7:1-9 in discussing the priesthood of Melchizedek.

 

C. Principles

1. It is good to give a tithe of our income.

 

2. We do not give the tithe as a legalistic duty.

 

3. Tithing alone does not guarantee that we are right with God, or that we will be blessed by Him.

 

4. Tithes should be used to support ministers who do the work of the Lord full time.

 

2. Offerings

Offerings are gifts given to God that are in addition to the tithe.  In the Old Testament, offerings were given for various reasons, such as in repentance, for fellowship with God, to worship, etc.

 

A. Everyone should give:

But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving – 2 Cor 8:7

 

B. Blessings are promised to the one who gives

Prov 11:24;  Lk 6:38; 2 Cor 9:6-11

 

C. How much should we give?

1. Give generously – Ps 112:5; Prov 11:25; 2 Cor 9:13

 

2. Give out of need

Giving when we need what we give is considered a greater gift to God, even more than giving a very big amount because we are rich. – Mk 12:41-44;  2 Cor 8:1-4

 

3. Give what you have decided in your heart to give – 2 Cor 9:7

 

4. Give based on what you have – 1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8:13-15

 

5. Give as the Lord leads you

When we follow the Lord's leading, we will usually give more than a tithe.  Allow Him to decide how much you should give.  This means we need to trust Him.

 

D. How should we give?

1. Give in secret – Mat 6:1-4

Do not give to impress anyone, but out of love for the Lord.

 

2. Offerings given in church (on Lord's day) – 1 Cor 16:1-4

a. This is a recommendation given by Paul for the purpose of a particular gift which had been pledged.

 

b. This does not mean that we have to have something to give every time we come to church.

 

c. It also does not mean that we can only give directly to the church, or that it has to be during a service.

 

d. However, it is a helpful way of giving, and it usually works well to give in this way.

 

3. Give willingly, not because you are pressured – 2 Cor 9:7

 

E. To whom should we give?

1. Give to the poor -- Deut 15:7-11;  Prov 19:17, 28:27; Mat 25:34-40;  Lk 3:10-11;  Mat 5:42; Acts 20:35;  1 Jn 3:17

 

2. Give to God's work (to those who are 'full-time' ministers)

-- Gal 6:6; 3 Jn 6-8

 

Assignment:

Write the names of 2 people who are worse off (more poor) than you.  Next to their name, write what you could do to help them:

 

1

 

2

 

 

 

Integrity & Faithfulness

1. Integrity

Integrity:  What you do is in line with what you believe and what you say.  You are honest.  You are not a hypocrite.

 

A. Do not make money in such a way that brings loss to another person.  Love is of greater value than money.

1. In business, do not try to get such a good deal that the other person gets a bad one.

 

2. If someone works for you, do not expect more work from them than what their pay is worth.  Do not take advantage of them.  Be sure they are being blessed by the job.

 

B. Be honest – Prov 11:1, 15:27,  20:23

Be honest even if it will cost you money.

 

C. In all money issues, remember Jesus' command in Mat 7:12:

"Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

 

2. Faithfulness

Faithfulness:  You handle God's money in the way He wants you to.

A. Be faithful in little, so that you can be entrusted with more – Mat 25:29;  Lk 16:9-13

 

B. Use your money to build God's Kingdom

 

 

Working Hard – Earning Money

1. Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs is full of advice about how to earn money.  One of the keys which is stressed many times is the need to work hard.  The following is just a sample of some of the verses about diligence.

 

A. Prov 10:4

Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.
 

B. Prov 12:11

Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time.

 

C. Prov 12:24

Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.

 

D. Prov 13:4

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.

 

E. Prov 20:4

If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest.

 

F. Prov 20:13

If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!

 

G. Prov 21:25-26

  The desires of lazy people will be their ruin, for their hands refuse to work.

They are always greedy for more, while the godly love to give!

 

H. Prov 22:13

The lazy person is full of excuses, saying, "If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!"

 

2. Paul

Paul had little sympathy for people who did not work hard.  In his own life, he often worked to support himself and those with him, in addition to doing the work of the ministry.  Consider the following:

 

A. 1 Thessalonians 2:9

Don't you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that our expenses would not be a burden to anyone there as we preached God's Good News among you.

 

B. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs.

 

C. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from any Christian who lives in idleness and doesn't follow the tradition of hard work we gave you. For you know that you ought to follow our example. We were never lazy when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

 

Assignment:

Read the following scriptures.  What do you learn about work?

Acts 20:35      Eph 4:28      Eph 6:5-8      Col 3:22-24

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

Are you a hard worker?

What will you do this month to be a better worker?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Steps:  Write down one or two specific things you will do in your life as a result of this teaching so far:

 

1

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

Saving

1. Scriptures

A. Prov 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;  consider its ways and be wise!

It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,

Yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

 

B. Prov 21:20

The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

 

C. Gen 41:33-36

When the Lord gave Joseph wisdom to lead the people of Egypt through their difficult time of famine, he saved what was grown during the good times.

 

2. Needed in order to save

A. Self-discipline

 

B. Believe that you can save

 

C. A plan for saving

1. In order to save, you must decide that you are going to do it, and decide on how much.  Set goals each month for the amount of money you will set aside.

 

2. Have a place to keep your savings, so that you will not spend it whenever a need arises.

 

D. Living within your budget (see next section).

 

3. Benefits of saving

A. In case of a crisis or unexpected need, you are prepared

 

B. Allows you to plan for expenses you know will come in the future

1. For example, you know that you need to pay school fees each term.  When you save throughout the term, you do not have to panic when the time comes to pay.

 

2. Another example is to buy land or build a house.  When you save, you will be able to afford things you could never have bought otherwise.  You can even save in order to invest to earn more money.

 

3. It is also good to save in order to buy things which would be helpful, but are not urgent needs.

 

4. How to save

A. Review your life-style and spending, and make a budget (see next section)

Determine an amount (or a percentage of your income) that you will save, and be disciplined to follow through!

 

B. Determine where you will keep savings

If possible, it is very helpful to have a savings account at a bank.  Some banks, such as Post Bank, do not require as large of an amount to begin saving.

 

C. Join or begin a saving scheme

This is where people save money together in a pool.  If you are sure you can trust each member, it is a good way of saving when you do not have much to begin with.

 

Plan how you will use money; Make a Budget

1. Introduction to Budgeting

A. Budget:  Plan of how you will spend the money that you expect to have over a period of time

 

B. What the Bible says

*Look at these scriptures and see how they relate to budgeting:

Prov 21:5;  Prov 22:3;  Prov 27:23

 

C. Why budget?

1. Helps us to spend our money on what is most important

 

2. Helps us to know what we do with our money

 

3. Helps us to use our money more wisely (such as having money for saving and investing)

 

4. Helps us to not go into debt when it is not necessary

 

D. Why do people not budget?  Do you think making a budget could help you?  Why or why not?

 

2. Making a budget

A. Make a list of all your sources of income – how much you expect to have in a month or a year

 

B. Make a list of everything you need to spend on – for example:

1. Expenses that you know in advance.  Examples are:  tithe, tax, saving, rent, school fees, etc.

 

2. Expenses that may change from month to month.  Examples are:  food, clothing, medical, transport, etc…

 

3. Be sure to include any debts that you owe.

 

C. Next to each item, write the amount of money needed each month.

If it is an expense that does not come up every month (such as school fees), than divide the total amount needed by the number of months it covers.

 

D. Decide your priorities.

1. Priority means what is most important, and what is less

 

2. Three categories of priorities:

a. Things I need

These are things that provide the basic necessities of life.  What must I have in order to live and be content?  See 1 Tim 6:8.

 

b. Things I desire

These are things that would be good to have, but you can do without them if necessary.  It is important to know the difference between your needs and your wants.  Do not spend money on wants before you take care of the needs.  See 1 Jn 2:15-16.

 

c. Luxuries:  Things that I would buy if I had the money

These are also things that are not needed, and they are less important than the wants.  They would bring more pleasure to your life, but they are not so important to you.  We should not spend too much money on these things.  See Prov 21:17

 

E. Add up all the expenses.

If your expenses are more than your income, than you need to begin eliminating some expenses.  In eliminating expenses, begin with luxuries, then move to wants.

 

F. Spend according to your budget

Once you  have set the budget, and the amount you expect to spend is equal to or less than what you expect to earn, then begin to spend as you have planned.  This takes discipline!

 

G. Unexpected expenses

When unexpected expenses come (such as funeral or medical costs), you must adjust your budget to include the new items.

 

Loans & Debts

1. Better to Lend than to Borrow

A. Example of Israel

1. When Israel obeyed God, He promised that He would bless them.  One of the blessings promised was that they would "lend to many nations but will borrow from none" (Deut 28:12). 

 

2. When Israel disobeyed and were cursed, they were told that they would be forced to borrow from foreigners living among them (Deut 28:43-44).

 

B. Prov 22:7

The borrower is servant to the lender.

 

C. The Bible does not forbid borrowing

However, it makes it clear that to be in debt is not a good position to be in.  When you are in debt, you lose some of your freedom.

 

2. Principles for Borrowing

A. It is best not to borrow if at all possible

 

B. If you do borrow, borrow for investment rather than for something that you will use up.

1. Investment is something that will bring in income.  This could include buying land or beginning or expanding a business.

 

2.  It can also be ok to borrow for something like building a house.  This will save you from having to spend money on renting.

 

3. Things that you will use up are things that will not bring you more money or save you money.  This may include food, clothing, transport, air time, luxuries, etc.

 

C. Only borrow if you can pay back the loan.

This means that you have a reasonable plan as to how you will pay it back.  It does not mean that you will pay it back if someone happens to give you a lot of money one day.

 

D. Do not let the loan go unpaid for long.

 

3. Lending

A. Do not lend to strangers or people you do not know well

 

B. Lend money that you can afford to give.

Do not allow money to bring division between you and another person.  It is better to forgive the debt than to let it lead to strife.

 

C. Do not lend to someone in need in order to make money by charging him interest:  Deut 23:19; Ps 15:5;  Prov 28:8

 

 

4. Getting out of Debt

A. Commit your way to the Lord, and ask for His help and wisdom

 

B. Make a realistic budget and keep it!  (see the last section)

 

C. Communicate with the one you owe

Let him know what your situation is, and how you intend to pay him back.  If necessary, work out a plan of paying in installments. 

 

D. Do not borrow more while you still owe

 

E. Make paying off your debts a priority – Rom 13:8

Do not spend money on unnecessary items instead of paying your debt.  Even if you pay in small amounts, you will show the lender that you have good intentions.

 

F. Do not take advantage of someone just because he is a brother in the Lord.  Pay your debts!!

 

Trust God

1. God is your source

A. It is God who gives you the ability to get money – Deut 8:18

 

B. Do not trust in money – trust in God:  Prov 11:28;  1 Tim 6:17

 

C. Do not trust in another person, or your boss, your crops, etc.

 

D. Do not even trust in yourself and your own ability

 

2. God will take care of you

A. Read the following scripture, and note the promise to you.  What is your part, and what is God's part?

-- Matt 6:24-33

 

B. Be content with what He gives.  Do not always crave more.

-- Ecc 5:10;  Luk 12:15

 

3. Know that God wants good things for you

A. Mat 7:11

If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

 

B. In Deut 28:1-14 the Lord promises blessings to Israel if they will obey Him.  His desire still is to bless His people whom He loves.

 

Action Steps:  Write down one or two specific things you will do in your life as a result of this teaching:

 

1

 

2

 

 

 

Cell Group

What do you think about these seven principles of finance?

             

Which of these do you do?  Which is the most difficult for you?  Why?

Do you think they could all help your finances?  Why or why not?

 

Are you satisfied with your current financial situation?

If yes: what do you see as some important keys that have helped you?

If no:. why do you think you are in that situation?

. Is there anything you yourself can do to improve the situation?

. If so, what are 2 or 3 specific things?

 

Discuss action steps you have written so far in this course.  What can help you to follow through and put them into practice?

 

 

 

Attitude Towards Money

 

1. Being rich

A. Do not forget God when you prosper – Deut 8:11; Prov 30:8-9

 

B. Godliness is better than riches – Ps 37:16;  Prov 11:4, 15:16

 

C. Being rich, or trying to become rich, can be bad for your spiritual life – Matt 13:22;  1 Tim 6:3-10

 

D. Do not trust in riches – Jam 5:1-6

 

E. Do not try to get rich – Prov 23:4-5

 

F. Do not honor someone because he is rich – Jam 2:1-5

 

2. Being satisfied

A. Do not be jealous of what someone else has – Ex 20:17

 

B. Do not be greedy (always wanting more) – Prov 21:25-26, 28:22;  Is 56:10-11

 

C. Be content – Phil 4:10-13;  Heb 13:5

 

3. Using money

A. Store up treasure in heaven – Matt 6:19-21;  1 Tim 6:18-19

 

B. Use money to do good – 1 Tim 6:17-19

 

C. Be generous.  Share – 1 Jn 3:16-17

Church Finance

 

1. Finance and the pastor / minister

A. Do not minister for money – Micah 3:11; 1 Pet 5:2

This does not mean that you will not get money as you minister.  You need money to live on.  However, do not let your motive for ministry ever be money.  Minister because you love God and you love people, and out of obedience to God.  Trust Him to provide for you.

 

B. Do not allow someone to pay for God's blessings or power – Acts 8:18-24

 

C. Ministers should also tithe and give – Num 18:26

 

D. Do nothing that would hinder the work of the Gospel – 1 Cor 9:15-19

Do not demand money.  Do not do anything that would make people not accept Christ.  It is better to not receive money for a certain ministry than to offend someone and keep them from salvation.

 

E. Teach about money and giving to the church

 

2. Handling money in the Church

A. Agree with church leadership how money will be handled.  This includes:

1. How it will be spent.  Who decides?

 

2. What will be the accountability?  How can we show to everyone that the money is being used wisely?

 

B. Be very careful to have integrity in all things dealing with money.  Allow no room for accusations – 2 Cor 8:16-21

1. Pastor should not have absolute control.  Let there be a committee that joins the pastor in making decisions regarding money.

 

2. Even if the offering is little, let it be collected, counted, and recorded by a treasurer.  Keep good records of all finances.

 

3. Be honest and open about all money that comes to the church.  All money should be received and recorded by the treasurer before it is used.  This is true even if someone from outside the church contributes something for a specific cause (such as iron sheets).  This will help you very much if a dispute comes up later.  See the form at the end of this course as an example of how to keep records.  You do not have to do it like this, but be sure to find a way that works for your church.

 

4. If people are interested, tell them how much money is received, and what it is used for.  If all of the money that comes in is needed to support the pastor, tell them so.  This does not mean that the pastor has to report exactly what he does with all the money once it is given to him.  But they should simply know that the pastor was given this amount of money for his personal needs.

 

5. Even if the money you receive is very small, it is good to begin keeping such records.  This way you will be prepared for God to bring you into greater prosperity.

 

C. Be generous as a church

 

D. As a church, give to those in need – Acts 2:44-45;  4:32-35

 

E. The church should take good care of its pastors – 1 Cor 9:6-10; 1 Tim 5:17-18;  Gal 6:6

 

3. Fund-raising for the Church

A. Do not try to get people to give simply because you need the money.  Desire them to give because it is good for them to – Phil 4:14-19.

Do not only teach about giving when you need money for something.  Teach about it when there is no specific need.  This way it will be the habit of people to give, and you will not have to always be in a financial crisis.

 

B. Budget

If you want to have an evangelistic campaign, or invite a guest for a seminar, plan ahead for such things.  Do not wait until the time comes, and then try to raise a lot of money from the people.

 

C. Do not use tricks to get money (2 Pet 2:3).  As ministers of the Gospel, should you do the following?

1. Tell people they will receive back a certain amount for everything they give

 

2. Offer to pray for people who give, but not for those who do not

 

3. Tell people they will receive their miracle only if they give a certain amount

 

4. Make people feel guilty about not giving

 

D. Do not encourage people to announce to everyone how much they are giving.  In doing this, they lose their reward from God.  See Matt 6:1-4

 

E. Do not just use people to get money.  Honor and love people, regardless of how much they give.

 

F. Trust God.  He is your source, not the church members.

If God is leading you to do something, He will provide what is needed for you to do it.

 

Action Steps:  Look over what you have written throughout this course.  Write down 2 to 4 things you are going to seriously put into practice in the coming month.  These can be things you have already discussed, or new ones.  Share these points with your small group.  Next month you will discuss them together.

 

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

Cell Groups

Look once again at Phil 4:10-13 and Heb 13:5.  Discuss the principle of contentment.  Is it difficult for you to be content with what you have?  Why is it so important to be content?  How can you grow in this area?

 

How do you handle finances in your church?  How do you compare what you do with the principles studied in this course?

 

Discuss action steps / new attitudes you will practice this month.

 

 

 

Prayer Time:

Pray on your own for a time about your attitude towards money.  If needed, repent, and ask God to help you have a better attitude.

 

Pray for one another for financial blessings.  Mention prayer requests to your group, and lift them up together.

 

 

 

Assignment:

During this month, pray about your finances.  Do one of the following:

1)  Write one page in an exercise book about how your attitude towards money is changing.  What is God teaching you about how you should view money?   OR…

2) Write some things you are changing in your life in order to bring about financial growth.

 

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Financial Accountability Form

 

 

Date

Description

Paid

Received

Balance

1-1-04

Tithes

 

4,000

4,000

1-1-04

Offerings

 

3,000

7,000

2-1-04

Pastor's needs

6,000

 

1,000

2-1-04

Save for building

500

 

500

5-1-04

Help person in need

500

 

-0-

8-1-04

Tithes

 

2,200

2,200

8-1-04

Offerings

 

4,000

6,200