Posts Tagged ‘How to Manage Money’

How to Manage Money: Conclusion and Powerful Illustration

This is the last post of what was originally going to be seven posts on how to manage money by my guest blogger Richard L. Blake. This eighth post presents a conclusion and a moving illustration. For the other seven posts, begin with 3/11/2016 with “How to Manage Money.”

FINALLY . . . .

We have considered the foundational biblical principles that God owns everything, and that we are his stewards who will one day give an account. The practical counsel offered is consistent with those biblical principles. Now is the time for an examination of your own stewardship. Are you ready to give account? Remember, the landlord in the Parable of the Talents came at an unexpected time and demanded an account. Wouldn’t today be a good time to ask the Lord to show you ways you can be more faithful with the assets he has entrusted to you? God is telling us to prepare for a long tomorrow by using our short todays to exchange earthly treasures for heavenly ones. Resolve now to build those riches for eternity.

 

I want to share with you the story of a man who did just that. In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. For his graduation present, his wealthy parents gave him a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the need of the world’s hurting people for the Gospel. Finally, Borden wrote home that he desired to spend the rest of his life as a missionary. Upon hearing the news, one of his friends expressed disbelief that Bill was “throwing himself away as a missionary.”

William entered Yale University and soon began a small prayer group that gave birth to a movement that eventually spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting in such groups. His father passed away during his years there, leaving him the vast family fortune that came from silver mining and real estate. Upon his graduation in 1909, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers, not because he was a wealthy heir but because he was still focused on fulfilling his missionary calling.

Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he followed through with his plan to sail overseas in obedience to God’s call on his life, and in 1912 he set sail for China. Because he was hoping to work there with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted cerebral meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

Was Borden’s untimely death a waste? Not in Heaven’s perspective. When the news of Borden’s death was cabled back to the United States nearly every major American newspaper reported on it. As stated in his biography, “A wave of sorrow went around the world . . ..” Borden had walked away from his earthly fortune to take the precious Gospel of Jesus to the nations of the world. Most regarded it as a tragedy; however, God took the tragedy and did something far greater than Borden could ever do himself. When thousands of young men and women read Borden’s story in the newspapers of America, it inspired them to leave all they had and give their lives to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Borden left an extraordinary legacy, one that extended beyond his brief life and example, as he bequeathed $1 million to Christian missions (equivalent to $24 million in 2016), including the China Inland Mission (CIM) that he was joining, Moody Bible Institute and Moody Church, Princeton Theological Seminary, several Presbyterian mission boards and other Christian agencies. CIM established and dedicated the Borden Memorial Hospital to ministry in Lanzhou in northwest China, an area populated with Muslims like those Borden hoped to serve. In her introduction to his biography, Mary Taylor wrote, “Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice.”

When Borden’s family was given his Bible, they found three statements he had penned inside the cover. Just after he renounced his fortune to go to missions he wrote in his Bible the words, “No Reserves.” Originally, his father told him he would always have a job in the company, but at a later point he told him he would never let him work in the company again. At that time Borden wrote in his Bible, “No Retreats.” And then below those two statements his family read these words written shortly before his death in Egypt, “No Regrets.”

No reserves; No retreats; No regrets.

Borden’s story exemplifies the biblical teaching of stewardship of all of life’s resources. And it humbles me. We must continually evaluate our lives by the teaching of sacred Scripture. We are all challenged to keep eternity’s values in view in the investment of our time, our talents, and our treasures. If we will do this, we too can live without reserve, retreat, or regret. Will you join with me now in humble commitment to this standard?

—Richard L. Blake, President, Xtend Ministries International

 

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How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Work, Give, Live on a Budget

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part six), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

At this point we need to look at the lifestyle of a steward. While this is not the place for technical financial advice, we would do well to consider how to apply the biblical principles we just reviewed to the matter of managing money. I want to offer some basic money management counsel consistent with scripture and sound financial practices.

Work

         This is foundational to a steward’s lifestyle. The first thing God did with Adam was to put him to work: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). And in the New Testament, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

God is surely the provider of our money and every other blessing. But he expects us to work. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (3:23-24). And Proverbs says, “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase (13:11). Getting wealth is the result of faithful, diligent, hard work along with biblical management of that income.rucni-prace

Give

         While stewardship involves more than giving, it never involves less than giving. God entrusts wealth to us, not so we can spend on ourselves lavishly, but so we can give to others. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed . . . you will be enriched in everything for all liberality . . . ” (2 Corinthians 9:8, 11). Author Randy Alcorn says, “Too often we assume that God entrusts more to us to increase our standard of living, yet his stated purpose is to increase our standard of giving.”

The starting point in our giving should be the tithe, a biblical term meaning “a tenth part.” This was God’s requirement of the ancient Israelites. God made clear that the tithe belonged to him. Failure to tithe was to rob God: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). Notice that last sentence, “In tithes and offerings.” Giving is something that goes beyond the tithe. Since a voluntary “offering” was something God considered “due” him under the Old Covenant, why would we think it acceptable to do less under the New Covenant? Put another way, why should we do less under Grace than under Law?

Far more than mere tithing, the Old Testament emphasizes “freewill offerings” or “voluntary offerings.” These were included with the tithes: “Bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, your offerings to fulfill a vow, your voluntary offerings . . .” (Deuteronomy 12:6). The people were thrilled with giving far beyond the tithe, as evidenced in their joyful contributions toward the building of the Tabernacle: “The people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord” (Exodus 35:29).

Christians who consider tithing the high ground of giving are actually lowering the Old Testament standard, which merely started with the tithe but did not end there. Should the church, transformed by the redemptive work of Christ, experience such devoted, joyful giving any less than our Israelite counterparts? Or should we experience it all the more?

Remember what we said earlier about laying up treasures in heaven? Giving is one of the chief ways we do that.lossy-page1-800px-The_Child_At_Your_Door,_400,000_Orphans_Starving,_no_state_aid_available,_Campaign_for_$30,000,000._American..._-_NARA_-_512726.tiff

Live on a Budget

         This seems a logical thing to do yet many fail to employ such an important tool in money management. This involves planning and record keeping and it’s something any wise money manager should do. But before going into the specifics, some general lifestyle counsel is in order.

  • Learn to be content. The source of your contentment must never be from having more money or things because you will always require more to maintain the same level of contentment. True and lasting contentment comes from the Lord. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am . . . I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11, 13). “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Two great threats to contentment are coveting things and comparing our lifestyle to others, so be on guard against those dangers.
  • Make an effort to live more simply. Every possession requires time, and often money to maintain. Too many or the wrong type can harm our relationship with the Lord and others. Advertisers communicate their message that you can’t live without their product—but you really can. A simple, quiet life is the best environment for us to grow in our relationship with God and with others.
  • Submit spending decisions to the Lord. When it comes to purchasing things we rarely have to do it “right now.” Major purchases, especially, should be avoided until you have prayed about it and asked God to bring clarity to the decisions. Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean God wants you to buy it. Since he holds us accountable for wise money management, it makes sense that he would want us to seek his guidance in deciding whether to spend. Remember, decisions have consequences. God will help you, but he will not eliminate the consequences of your bad decisions. Therefore, seek the Lord.

th-2While you’re working on adjusting your lifestyle, begin living on a budget. This is simply your plan for how you will allocate your income. Most people have a fairly regular monthly income. A budget is your plan to divide that income into some specific categories so that you don’t overspend. These would include things like your tithe, rent or mortgage, utilities, food, clothing and all your other regular needs, even a small amount for some miscellaneous things. The implementation of your budget requires careful record keeping for all expenditures. Budgeting and record keeping will help you get a grip on your spending. Many problems in managing money occur simply because people are not paying attention to what they are spending. Proverbs counsels, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever” (27:23-24).

 

How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Stewardship

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part five), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

While God retains ownership of all things, he entrusts the management of those things to us, expecting we will use them wisely and in a way that honors him. This is the main point of several stewardship parables in the Gospels.

562px-Parable_of_the_Talents_001Consider the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). A man about to leave on a journey entrusted his possessions to three of his servants, giving to each different amounts but having the same expectation of faithfulness in their stewardship. Two of the servants invested wisely what was entrusted, but the third simply buried his master’s money in the ground. Upon the man’s return he called his servants to account and rewarded the two who had been faithful in their stewardship. But to the servant who had buried the money, refusing to steward it faithfully, the master said, “You wicked, lazy servant.” He was too lazy or scared to do what was right by his master, unfaithful with his money. Seeking safety, he lost everything.painting1

This parable teaches that we’re entrusted by God with different financial assets, gifts, and opportunities to have an impact on people for eternity, thereby making preparations for our own eternal future. The Scripture says, “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We’ll be held accountable for how we’ve stewarded God’s assets in this life. We’re to prepare for our master’s return by contributing to the growth of his kingdom through wisely investing his assets. That is not just money, but it does include money. A faithful steward handles all of God’s blessings in God’s way for God’s glory.

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How to Manage Money: Why A Biblical Mindset Matters

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction on this series, see the 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”

Maintaining a biblical mindset about God’s provisions matters for at least two reasons. First, it matters because of our relationship. We have been made in God’s likeness, fashioned for fellowship with him. He has redeemed us by the blood of his Son, showered us with blessings, and loves us with an everlasting love. Our response to this must be one of gratitude, and one way our gratitude is evident is in the way we manage the gifts he has given.

Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s expectations in response to his goodness:

800px-Foster_Bible_Pictures_0065-1_The_Israelites_Gather_Manna_in_the_WildernessH.M. Snyder, illustrator for the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster

“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth . . . And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:16-18a, 19).

In other words, God is paying attention to our response to his goodness in providing so abundantly for us. When we ungratefully receive and improperly use his provisions we wound his heart and injure our fellowship with him. Guard your relationship with the Provider, not the provision.

Another reason for maintaining this biblical mindset is because of our rewards. Scriptures teach us to view money and all materials things through the lens of eternity. Heavenly rewards await those who faithfully manage the provisions God entrusts to us on earth.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of money and rewards this way:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

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Jesus is asking us to see material things with an eternal perspective. This view sees all earthly treasures as not only a provision God makes for our own temporal needs, but also as a means to serve God and help others. In the process, we store up eternal treasures in heaven. To be sure, Christ’s words about storing up treasures in heaven can be broadly applied to how we spend our time and use our abilities. The Scriptures are clear that there are rewards for those things, as well. However, the central emphasis of this text is about giving and unselfishly using money and possessions.

We store up treasures on Earth by accumulating and preserving them. We store up treasures in heaven by holding loosely, sharing generously, and giving away earthly treasures for God’s Kingdom purposes. This is very practical investment counsel; invest in what has lasting value. Money is only of temporary value—unless, that is, it’s used and spent and shared and given with a view toward heavenly treasure. Moths destroy fabric, rust corrodes metals, and thieves can steal almost anything. No earthly treasure is safe. Yet even if they escape moths and rust and thieves, they cannot escape the coming fire of God that will consume the material world (2 Peter 3:7). Therefore, Jesus is not condemning wealth as morally wrong, but rather, he’s telling us it’s a bad investment.

Ultimately, we will die and everything we managed to hold onto in this world will be left behind. Whatever treasures we store up in heaven will be waiting when we arrive. Jesus is not telling us to avoid storing up treasures; in fact, he specifically tells us to do so. He’s just telling us to stop storing them in the wrong place—on Earth where they won’t last—and start storing them in the right place—Heaven, where they’ll last forever. Missionary Jim Elliot had this insight when he wrote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

How to Manage Money

For seven posts, my husband, Richard L. Blake, is my guest blogger. Recently he was asked to write conference material on how to manage money. I thought it was so applicable to this blog site that I asked his permission to include it on this site. In these posts, I will share his notes – verbatim (only excluding what was very specific for his target audience) – with you.

Like the other posts on this blog, this material is written from a Christian perspective.

The next six posts will contain:

  • How to Manage Money: Biblical Principles
  • How to Manage Money: Why a Biblical Mindset Matters
  • How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Ownership
  • How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Stewardship
  • How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Work, Give, Live on a Budget
  • How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Get Out of Debt, Save, Invest

HOW TO MANAGE MONEY

The matter of money management may at first seem an appropriate subject only to those who actually have a good deal of money to manage. Some may believe the subject of little value to them because they think they have so little to manage. A rethinking of this view is in order for several reasons.

First, the matter is broader than merely managing money. Our material possessions, our gifts and talents, our time—these also are resources that we are given to manage. Gaining wisdom about managing all these resources will benefit us now, not only in producing greater gain but also in reducing stress and anxiety.

Secondly, we actually are rich. If you have an annual household income of $11,000  you’re in the top 14 percent of income earners in the world. If your income is only $34,000 annually you’re in the top 1 percent. And even if you made only $1,500 last year you would still have more money than 75 percent of all people on Earth. You may not feel wealthy but from a global perspective we’re among some of the richest people on earth. With more than 1 billion people around the world living on less than 1 dollar a day, living in huts without indoor plumbing or running water and unsure of where their next meal will come from, it does change our perspective. With that change we begin to see more of the importance of money management.

Finally, we need to become good managers of our resources because it is what God expects. In Luke 16, Jesus made a direct connection between our handling of worldly wealth and his decision to entrust to us even greater wealth: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:10-11). God is observing what we do with our time, our talent, and our treasure. What may seem such little things to us are major factors in God’s decision to commend and promote us—or reprimand and demote us—in his Kingdom. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, “What opportunities are we missing, or one day will miss, because we have failed to use our money and other resources wisely?”