The Financial Message of the Ministry
Although it is each individual’s responsibility to learn God’s principles of finance as presented in the Word of God, most American Christians today don’t know where to begin, what to study, or how to implement what they have studied. Therefore, accepting the responsibility of teaching the biblical principles of finance should become a primary emphasis of all pastors.
God has given us more than 2,350 verses in the Bible to instruct us in how to be good stewards of what God has placed in our care, making it second to the subject of love as the most discussed subject in the Bible. In fact, two-thirds of the parables that Jesus taught are about money, possessions, and stewardship.
Scripture gives us very clear direction regarding earning, spending, saving, investing, giving, getting out of debt, and teaching children how to handle money. In short, the Bible addresses every aspect of every area of handling money. Yet, most Christians are unaware of the biblical principles because their ministers have not taught them the principles. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus issued the Great Commission:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The first step in fulfilling the Great Commission is to evangelize all nations. However, the second part of the command, “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,” has been largely ignored with respect to one of the most addressed subjects in the ministry of Jesus: God’s financial principles. Ministers must obey Christ’s command to make disciples by teaching people all that He taught. Because God says so much about money, ministers disobey the Lord if they neglect to teach His financial principles.
Most Christians believe that the Lord plays no part in their finances, but the Scripture reveals that He plays the central role as owner of all things (see Psalm 24:1).
If Christians have been taught any of God’s financial principles, usually it is confined to handling the tithe, 10 percent of their incomes. And although this is crucial, they don’t understand the Lord’s perspective for handling the other 90 percent. For those Christians who do tithe, most feel that once they have given their tithe and occasionally special offerings, the remaining 90 percent of their income is theirs to do with as they please. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Because all—including income, assets, and possessions—belongs to God; we own nothing. We are merely stewards or managers of what actually belongs to Him. Hence, we do not have the liberty to spend as we see fit. We are obliged to manage in a way that we know would be pleasing to Him and in a way that we feel He would want it to be managed.
If ministers are to be effective in presenting the message of the Great Commission, they cannot fail to address the subject of financial stewardship. By neglecting to teach the biblical principles of finance, a major segment of Jesus’ command, exemplified by His message, will be silenced.
Originally Posted January 25, 2012