”The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; Psalms 24:1
When God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, he expected Adam to be a good steward of the Garden. The same way that God wanted Adam to take care of the Garden is the same way God wants us to be good stewards of things in our lives. He expects us to be good stewards of our lives, our bodies, our family, our earth, the environment, our properties and our finances. This article will focus on the latter which is being good stewards of your finances.
I know some of you may be thinking how can you be good stewards of your finances when you have very little or no finances at all. However, no matter how much you have, you must still be good stewards. Do you remember the story of the parable of the bags of Gold in Matthew 25? The man who received five bags of gold put his money to work and got five more. The man who received two bags of gold put his money to work and got two more. The man who received one bag of gold dug a hole and put the money in it and hid his master’s money. The master was well pleased with the servants with the five bags and the two bags respectively. The master was upset with the servant with the one bag because he was lazy and did not take care of the one bag of gold. That servant ended up losing that one bag of gold as the master gave that one bag to the servant who had now acquired ten bags.
What is stewardship?
I believe stewardship involves taking care of something properly and responsibly. According to Wikipedia, “stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources”
How to be good stewards?
First of all, we must accept the fact that everything we have belongs to God. This fact alone should encourage you to take care of the money that was bestowed upon you as it does not belong to you. Let us look at this analogy, you may not have a personal vehicle of your own but a friend or a family member allows you to use his or her vehicle, I believe you will do your best to take good care of the vehicle as you may want to use it again and furthermore if anything goes wrong while in your possession, you may be responsible. Well, this is the same way we must take care of our finances.
I believe one of the first steps in being good stewards is to plan. Planning involves having a budget. Always have a budget and try your best to maintain your budget. In your budget, ensure that you have put aside 10% for your tithes. For the remaining 90% budget only what you need, not what you want. I know this can be a challenge given all of the marketing tactics we encountered daily but you must have discipline and control. Don’t get caught up in what others have for no one knows your condition better than you.
Get out of Debt
One of the major misuse of our stewardship is the fact that we find ourselves in so much debt. We have a lot of credit cards, a lot of loans and we owe our friends and family so much money. Part of Proverbs 22:7 stated that the “borrower is a slave to the lender. It is our responsibility to have a plan in place to get out of debt. Put aside a percentage of your finances each month to pay off debts. This will require some major sacrifices and perhaps a change in your lifestyle. Once you get out of debt don’t spend more than what you have. Get rid of all the credit cards except for one and preferably one that has reward points.
Invest and Save
I know some of you are living from pay check to paycheck but as part of being good steward, ensure that you invest and save some of your finances on a monthly basis. Put aside some in separate bank account that you normally do not use. You do not know what tomorrow will bring so have a savings account in the event of a loss of job. No matter how small the amount seems, put it aside monthly even it is only $10.
While this article is about being good stewards of our finances, please do not become lovers of money as the love of money is the root of all evil and it may reach a point in your lives where you become greedy and dishonest.
If you are having difficulty in a plan to start being good stewards, then find someone who can assist you with a plan.