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Being a good financial steward as a Christian

Financial stewardship tips for Christians

by Nnamdi Udeze

How do we deal with your finances as Christians? If you grew up in a church like I did, you must have heard someone talk about being a good steward, especially with our finances, and we have given many interpretations to it over the years.  

How do we handle money as Christians? If you asked this question in a room full of Christians, you would most likely hear a variety of answers. 

In this piece, we'll examine what it truly means to be a good steward of money, and how, while it sounds great in church, what does it actually means in your day-to-day life.

What is stewardship

The term "stewardship" is derived from an Old English word that meant "care for" or "manage." A steward is someone who administers another person's property or possessions. 

As an example, consider a business owner who hires a manager to handle the day-to-day operations of the company; the manager is not the owner but a steward who is supposed to run the place well.

Many passages in the Bible discuss being excellent and faithful stewards. Here are a couple such examples:

1 Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (NIV)

 1 Corinthians 4:2 "It is required in stewards [of the mysteries], that a man be found faithful." (ASV)

We often act as if we are meant to be stewards of everything but our finances, but we are called and empowered by grace to be good and faithful stewards of all aspects of our lives, including our finances.

Luke 16:10-13 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (NIV)

Jesus calls our finances little and worldly wealth, let's look at some biblical truths about stewardship and money

Biblical truths about stewardship and money

When we talk about financial stewardship it's not about what you have but how you steward what you have and this starts with the heart.

  1. What is the condition of your heart? 1 Corinthians 13:3. Growing up, we learnt practical financial realities such as giving, but without the right heart and your heart being in the right place, it all comes to nothing. The place of prayer and fellowship assists us in maintaining the right motive.
  2. God is the source. Deut 8:18. Do you believe you deserve your pay or are you grateful to God for providing it? Do you believe it is your money or His?

This is the thinking and attitude of a steward: it is not mine, but God's. That means you have the mindset of seeking his thoughts on the resources in your possession. Abraham's attitude was one that always saw God as his source, as seen by how he presented Lot with an option of where to settle, as well as how he responded to the Kings of Sodom following the slaughter of kings.

From our reading we see that God has given us the ability (health, sound mind serenity) to create wealth; nevertheless, don't fall into the trap of believing that it is all up to you and your wisdom, intelligence, and so on. Stewardship acknowledges that everything comes from God's hand.

What it means to be a good steward

Spiritual Principles of stewardship

  • You must be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:8 We are blessed to be a blessing; we see a nice example in 2 Cor 8 where Paul made a request to the Corinthian church to give and the church's reaction was that of a steward; another example for us is the church in Philippa who always provided to Paul's needs.

According to 2 Cor 9:8, we are supplied for good deeds. Our good works please God and create a difference in the lives of others. We must recognize that the true purpose of money is to give. Because your father is a giver, you must be one as well. We are also encouraged to give joyfully, abundantly, and lovingly.

Our giving is a response to the ultimate giver, and there are many methods to give, including donating for the propagation of the gospel, giving to family, pastors and leaders, and other believers, particularly the poor.

  • Seek God's guidance. If you ask individuals or social media about how to manage your finances, you will be bombarded with varied ideas, some of which will be opposed to godly advice. As stewards, we must constantly seek God's advice on our finances.
  • Guard against greed. For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some have drifted away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs because of this yearning. 1st Timothy 6:10
In God's wisdom, loving money is the basis of all evil, which is why Jesus stated we can't serve God and money, not the devil, flesh, or anything else. This is so counter-cultural, which is why we must guard against greed.

Today's culture is one of materialism; it's a pandemic, yet the best defence against materialism is contentment. Being content does not imply becoming complacent.
It is critical for believers to not only protect against greed but also to recognize it as sin and utterly reject it. We must prioritize Christ in all aspects of our lives, including our finances.

Pray and seek the Holy Spirit's assistance in guarding your heart against the love of money.

Practical Principles of stewardship

  • You Need a Budget

“Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? Luke 14:28-30 MSG

Financial stewardship entails planning and budgeting, and the Bible urges us to do so. A budget serves only this purpose. Many individuals have a misunderstanding of what a budget is. A budget is forward-looking rather than backward-looking.

This means that if Nancy earns $3,000, she should consider how she should spend it. Asking this question within the context of what we've just discussed (being a giver, seeking God's guidance, knowing the source of your income), you can then establish a plan before the money hits your account. Congratulations on creating a budget.

Make a budget today using whichever tool you are most comfortable with, and there are various tools available, ranging from apps to spreadsheets to just a pen and paper. We have created a budgeting step-by-step guide.

If you already have a budget and it doesn't seem to be working. You can find out why here

  • Pay your Debt/Avoid debt

So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor. Romans 13:7 CEB

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.  Proverbs 22:7  

Debt might feel suffocating and, in most situations, appear to be hopeless, but there is hope. The first step is to decide in your heart that you will pay; the road will be difficult but stay on the path.

The Bible also instructs us to pay our bills and commitments, whether they are taxes, credit cards, loans, or a mixture of all of them.

  •  Save For The Future

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Proverbs 13:22

We learnt this through Joseph, who was a good and faithful steward from his days in Potipher's house to the prison and finally as Prime Minister, exemplifying everything we discussed previously.

There are several reasons to put money aside for the future. You could be saving for retirement, college tuition for your children, your next house or car, a dream vacation, or any number of other reasons.

Joseph, as a wise steward, conserved grain during the years of plenty to help the entire country and even those beyond the country survive a terrible seven-year famine.

Most Christians do not save anything and instead spend everything. However, we see that it is assumed that you have a storehouse. Many of us have learned to contribute to the church and to others, as well as to spend to pay our bills, but we often overlook saving.

It is quite sensible to set aside a percentage of each salary for savings; these savings may grow to the point where you leave wealth for your descendants.

  • Diversify your investment portfolio

But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. Ecclesiastes 11:2 NLT

This scripture explains why it is important to diversify your investments. A disastrous investment can happen to almost any sort of investment. We don't have a crystal ball to predict the future of a specific investment or industry investment. So it makes sense to place money into a variety of investments so that a single tragedy does not wipe you out.

This is why I encourage everyone to invest in index funds like the S&P 500 or a global index fund. Learn about how to invest in index funds here

 About Nnamdi

Nnamdi writes for The Wealthy Post. He believes that in order to build wealth; you do not need to be an expert. That is why he started blogging: to improve his finances, document his learnings and experiences, and assist others in improving their finances by taking action and developing good money habits.

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