God who created us knows full well the trials and temptations the
pursuit of money and possessions can have on our lives. That’s
why He gave us His owner’s manual, The Bible. The Bible is
filled with His insights and wisdom when it comes to money matters.
A friend of mine, purchased a new Bible a number of years ago and
highlighted in yellow every verse in the Bible that had to do with
money and material possessions. When he was all done, he
discovered he had highlighted 2,350 verses on financial subjects
including wealth, generosity, borrowing, investing, financial
planning, business, inheritances, taxes, purchases and possessions.
of years ago, Martin Luther, one of the great leaders of the
protestant reformation said: “People go through three
conversions: their head, their heart and their pocketbook.
Unfortunately, not all at the same time.”
this article, I would like to share with you some proven Biblical
and practical principles, practices and resources that can assist
you on your spiritual financial conversion.
of the most significant truths a person must come to grips with is
that God is the True Owner of all we currently have or ever will
have. This side of heaven, we are not owners, but merely
“temporary possessors” (managers, trustees) of the money,
materials and things that God chooses to entrust to us.
Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us that the Lord will someday ask us to
give an accounting of how well we used what He entrusted to us
during the life He allowed us to live on this earth.
me explain it this way, suppose I fly into a city to conduct some
business. After getting off the plane, I pick up a rental car
that I reserved in advance. They give me the keys to the car
and off I go. The car is “mine” in that I am the temporary
possessor of the car and the keys and I can take it wherever I want.
But is the car really mine? No. At the end of my trip,
the owners (Hertz, Alamo, Avis or whoever) will inspect the car to
see if I used it properly and returned it in good condition.
Once I accidentally ran my rental car into a metal pole at a gas
station. When they inspected the car, the real owners (Alamo)
charged me $600 to repair the damage. We also tend to think
that we are the owners of any house we purchase. But are we
really the owners? If we miss four or five payments, guess
what? -- the real owners (the bank or mortgage company) will come
and take back the house from us.
my son, Jeremy was two, he would grab things away from other people
and yell, “MINE!” Some adults still hold the same
perspective as my toddler son. Many people will think or
sometimes even say aloud, “It’s MY money! It’s MY house!
It’s MY car! No one is going to tell me what to do! I
earned it. It’s MINE! I’ll do with it what I
want!” But in Deuteronomy 8:17,18 the Bible cautions us not
to have this type of attitude when it says: “You may say to
yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced
this wealth for me." But remember the LORD your God, for
it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
it comes to a list of what God owns, here is a partial list from a
variety of Bible passages:
animal and bird and creature (Psalm 50)
the silver and all the gold (Haggai 2:8)
the land (Leviticus 25)
wealth of the nations (Haggai 2)
wealth of the sinner (Proverbs 13:22, Ecc. 2:26)
in heaven and earth (1 Chronicles 29)
who live in the world (Psalm 24)
and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity (Proverbs 8)
power and counsel (Job 12)
sun and the stars in the heaven, even the highest heavens
things (Colossians 1:16-17)
of darkness and secret riches (Isaiah 45:3)
and promotions (Ps. 75:6,7; Ps. 113:7,8; Daniel 2:21)
honor, strength and power (I Chronicles 29:12)
the years, my wife and I have hosted a number of Crown Ministries
12-week Financial Bible studies in our home. One of the most
meaningful exercises in this study is to make a “list” of
everything you “own” and then symbolically “sign it all
over” to God. This is not a weird cult-like activity.
It is actually a legitimate recognition of who is the Owner of
everything we have. Once you go through with this action, you
can then live a more liberated life as you seek to look to God and
His direction for how He wants you use what He’s given you.
One single woman in her fifties one day told me that all her life
she had worried about money. How “she” was going to
provide and take care of “herself’. Once she came to
understand from the Bible that God was the Owner and she was the
manager and trustee of what He had given her she said she had
victory over the financial worries that had troubled her for many
years. She said she now saw God as her Provider and Protector.
If you want to ever know God’s complete peace and freedom in
financial matters, it will be vital for you to make a spiritual,
emotional and financial decision to recognize God as the true Owner
and Provider of all you have or ever will have. With this
foundation firmly in place, you can then move on to discover God’s
principles of generosity and financial management that will
positively influence your life.
God’s Pathway to Joy and Freedom
the years, I have done financial and debt counseling with many
people in the midst of financial hardships. As strange and as
unlikely as it seems, I have discovered the surest long-term path to
get out of debt and financial troubles is to make a decision to
“give 10% of your income to God first” from right “off the
top” of whatever He gives you. In my counseling sessions there
have been people who looked at their situation and said there was no
way they could give to God first. I frequently shared with
them that it was going to take “all the help of heaven” to get
them out of the deep financial pit they were in. I would tell
them that honoring God from the first part of their income was vital
to their long-term stability and financial freedom. Those who
chose to follow God’s counsel grew in their trust and
understanding of God’s firm grip concerning financial concerns.
order to help you understand the importance of Biblical generosity
in your life, I would like to share six principles that might help
you govern your giving to God and His work.
to God first
I preached a sermon on the importance of generosity, an older man
told me how 50 years earlier, he and his wife made a commitment give
God the first portion of their income. As a young married couple,
they studied their budget to see how they could cut expenses but
found there was no way to do this and still meet the needs of their
over their decision, they began giving to God first anyway even
knowing that by the end of the third week of every month they would
be out of money.
God provided faithfully, month after month and year after year. He
creatively cared for their family through odd jobs, leading others
to share clothing or home grown vegetables, a bonus or overtime pay
from work, close-out priced items in stores and the list went on.
making giving to the Lord’s work their first financial priority,
they learned more about the love, care and reality of God as their
Heavenly Father than through any other spiritual discipline.
is a story in 1 Kings 17 about a widow and her son who were about to
eat their last meal and die due to severe famine in the land. She
gave to God’s servant Elijah first before caring for her own
needs, and God worked miraculously so that "her jar of flour
was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry."
we give to God first, regardless of our needs, we see how big God
can be in our lives. If we withhold from the Lord, we miss the many
blessings and provisions the Lord is longing to shower on us.
to God systematically
leading a Sunday school lesson on giving, I encouraged 8-year-old
Alex to set up three jars: one marked "God’s money," the
second "savings," and the third "spending
money." Whenever Alex was given money, he could put the first
portion in "God’s jar" and the second and third portions
in the "savings" and "spending" jars.
few months later when my wife and I were preparing for a 5-week
ministry trip to India, Alex came to me and pushed three crumbled
dollar bills into my hand. He said, "Do you remember the time
you taught us about the three jars? Well, I went home and did that!
Now your going to India to do God’s work, and God wants me to give
you some of His money."
acknowledged that everything he had came from God’s hand, and he
implemented a practical way to regularly lay aside for God what he
received. He then gave from those stored resources as the Lord
people have opened an additional bank account to separate their
giving from their household expenses. Others track their finances
with bookkeeping accounts and regularly make certain they are
"caught up" with their giving. Some Christians in India
set aside the first of their rice and eggs for their pastor’s
who don’t have a regular way of laying aside the first of what
they receive for the Lord often feel pressed and confused when it
comes to giving. Many people making comfortable incomes experience
no joy in giving because they haven’t determined how they will
to God cheerfully
Corinthians 9:8 tells us, "God loves a cheerful giver."
When Nancy was abandoned by her husband and left to support their
three children on the $25 a week he sent for groceries, she was
excited that she could finally give to the Lord’s work as her
husband never allowed it before.
of her grocery money, she gave to God, though the small amount she
had could never cover her family’s living expenses. But God
provided Nancy with an assistant position to a photographer of
cookbooks. When the photo sessions were over, the photographer gave
Nancy all the food. Her cupboards were full with the provisions God
provided for her family.
LeTourneau, a Christian businessman, once said, "I shovel out
and God shovels in – but God’s shovel is always bigger." We
should never "give to get," but we can trust that as we
give, our God will meet our needs, sometimes in very special ways.
Instances arise when it makes no financial sense to give to the
Lord. Yet, God wants us to give at times with the realization that
we are totally dependent on Him to meet our basic needs and desires.
to God eternally
with an elderly couple who had financially supported a Christian
camp for more than 40 years, the wife expressed feelings of failure
over not being used by God during her lifetime. She hadn’t led
anyone to the Lord, and as a result, feared her life was a waste.
never realized that her family’s giving had been used by God to
reach thousands of people. The Bible teaches that those who stay
with the supplies and send the supplies will share equally with
those who are on the front lines of ministry. I Timothy
6:18,19 says, "Command those who are rich…to do good, to be
rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this
way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation
for the coming age." From an investor’s perspective, giving
to the Lord’s work is the safest and wisest investment we can ever
make. Our giving will pay heavenly dividends throughout all
God promises we will share in the reward. "For God is not
unfair. He will not forget the love you showed for Him by the help
you gave and are still giving your fellow Christians," (Hebrews
you have learned to recognize God as the Owner of all you have and
you are actively honoring Him with the first part of your income, it
is important to go on and learn additional financial principles that
will help you in your life.
what you have vs. wishing for more
people think that the real answer for their financial future is
“more money”. The desire to always have more can lead
people into dishonesty at work, credit card debt, gambling, long
work weeks, foolish investments, get-rich-quick schemes, and much
worse. The Bible actually teaches that managing what you have
is more important than getting more. Luke 16:10 tells us:
"Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be
faithful in large ones.” Over the years I have counseled
with many people in deep financial problems. The ultimate
answer for their problems was seldom “more money” but usually is
was more careful, thoughtful and prayerful management of what they
already had. Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 tells us: “Those who
love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth
brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to
help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth--except
perhaps to watch it run through your fingers!”
a written plan
people have a vague understanding of where there money is really
going. Once I counseled with a couple whose income had
increased 400% in 5 years. And although they still lived in
the same house the entire 5 years, they always lived from paycheck
to paycheck with no real plan on who they were going to spend their
money. Regardless of how much their income grew, the money
seemed to flow through their hands like water. Haggai 1:6
says: “Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful
thought to your ways…You earn wages, only to put them in a purse
with holes in it."
will be vital to your financial future that for a 30-60 days you
record in detail where your money is going. Once you have
tallied this information, you can then sit down and determine is
this the best use of the money God has entrusted to you. You
will then be able to move towards telling your money where to go
instead of asking where it’s gone.
Bible says in Proverbs 27:23 “Riches can disappear fast…watch
your business interests closely. Know the state of your flocks and
your herds.” In other words, know in specific detail the
condition of your income, expenses, debts and investments.
Have a written plan to manage what God has entrusted to you.
Christ more than credit
the world we live in, there are easy credit terms and options
everywhere we turn. Almost anyone in America can have multiple
credit cards, easy car loans, huge house mortgages, and furniture
and electronics products with no money down and no interest for 90
days! No longer does America save for anything. Today,
we borrow and charge to get what we want, when we want it. But
in Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “Beware! Don't be greedy for what you
don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own."
knows we need certain things to live in this world. Most
people end up paying to their Master card to have things they
don’t really need, with money they don’t really have, to impress
people they don’t really like! There was a time in my life
when I had more month than money. I then learned I could pray
to the Master (instead of paying to the Master Card) to meet my real
needs. Over the years, I have seen God guide and provide for
His answers to my prayers for housing, employment, transportation,
clothing, recreation and so much more.
I discovered that if you have $3000 on a credit card and you are
only making minimum payments, it will take you more than 30 years to
pay off the full amount! No wonder the Bible cautions us in
regards to growing indebtedness when it tells us in Proverbs 22:7
that “the borrower becomes the lender's slave.”
of how much of a mountain of debt some people find themselves under,
I have discovered that with God’s help, most people can become
debt-free of all their short-term indebtedness within 1-5 years.
I have seen many people even go on to become mortgage-free within
5-10 years. With God’s help, you could be completely debt
and mortgage free in the years to come.
God’s blueprint for finances
good friend, Howard Dayton, President of Crown Financial Ministries,
discovered the 2350 verses in the Bible on finances and material
possessions summarized all these verses into eight primary
principles that every Christian should seek to understand and
Crown Ministries 12-week financial Bible study that is available in
English and Spanish across the country, is a great tool to help you
more fully understand God’s blueprint for your financial future.
on Christian Giving
advice from years of teaching and counseling people concerning
personal finances, debt, and giving
YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN:
worry about giving to God -- but realize and accept what God wants
to give to you -- complete forgiveness, eternal life, and a brand
give to your church first. After your faithful church support, then
give special gifts and offerings to other Christian causes that you
feel are important.
YOU WANT TO BEGIN TO GIVE TO GOD FIRST:
you get any money lay aside the first part in a special place to
give to the Lord as He directs you, OR whenever you put a deposit in
your checkbook, write out a check for the % you want to be giving to
the Lord's work, OR if you track your income and expenses, set up a
category for your church giving and another one for giving to other
Christian causes (then regularly review these accounts and give to
the Lord based on the % or amount(s) you decided on).
YOU ARE MARRIED TO A CHRISTIAN BUT ARE STILL NOT IN AGREEMENT ON
GIVING TO THE LORD'S WORK: Have
your spouse read this information and then talk about how to set up
a mutually acceptable plan on how you can more regularly or
generously give to the Lord's work.
YOU ARE MARRIED AND YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT A CHRISTIAN:
See if your spouse would be willing to read this material, OR
Identify any money you know you do have freedom with (read Luke 8:3)
and set aside the first portion of this money to give to the Lord's
Suggest to your spouse that you try this faith experiment for 3
months. Begin to give some money and then look back each Sunday to
see if any special financial things begin to happen.
OFF THE NET OR GROSS: Pray
and ask God which you should do. If He prompts you in your heart to
give off the gross, go ahead and do this and trust Him with the
results. If giving 10% or more is a new experience for you, begin
with giving off the net amount for a few months and see what
happens. If after a few months you experience His creative care in
your life, begin giving 10% or more off your gross.
YOU ARE A PARENT: Help
your children set up a place where they can set aside "God's
portion" of any money they receive (i.e. - allowances, work
projects, gifts of money, etc..). Have them give their own church
and ministry offerings from this money they set aside.
A FAITH BUILDING EXERCISE TO TRY:
3 scripture passages on giving (including Malachi 3). Then make it a
priority to give 10% of your income to the Lord's work each time you
get paid or when you put a deposit in your checkbook. After 90 days,
evaluate how God has worked in your life.
wish you God’s very best on this important journey in your
spiritual life. May you be one person who has been spiritually
converted in your head, heart and pocketbook!
14:19 (Abraham gives of 10%)
28:20-22 (Jacob decision to give 10% to God)
35:4-29 (Moses and the people’s gifts to build the tabernacle)
27:30 (Tithe of everything is the Lord’s)
18:21 (Tithes support ministers of God)
12:5-7 (Tithes, special gifts, freewill offerings)
14:22-29 (Set aside a tenth to learn to revere God)
Chr 31:2-12 (Hezekiah generosity & giving instructions)
10:35-37 (Nehemiah’s giving instructions)
3:7-12 (Holding back tithes & offerings is stealing from
23:23 and Luke 11:42 (Jesus’ affirmation of tithing)
Kings 17:8-16 (Elijah and the starving widow)
8:18 (God gives people ability to produce wealth)
3:9-10 (Honor the Lord with your wealth & firstfruits)
36:3-6 (Moses restrains people from bringing offerings)
1:6-14 (Malachi’s rebuke for bringing bad offerings)
1:4-11 (Haggai’s giving challenge)
Chr 29:2-9 (David’s generous gift & giving
Chr 29:11-17 (Everything we have and gives comes from God)
6:38 (Give and God will see others give to you)
Cor 8:2-21 (Rich generosity in the midst of extreme poverty)
Cor 9:5-15 (God loves a cheerful giver)
11:24-25 (Generosity is the pathway for more)
22:9 (Generous man will be blessed)
28:27 (Give and have enough, withhold and be cursed)
6:25-34 (Don’t worry, but seek first the kingdom of God)
12:41-44 (Rich people giving and the widow’s mite)
16:10,16,17 (Give in proportion to the blessings the Lord has
Cor 16:2 (On the first day of each week, give according to
Tim 6:6-11,17-19 (Cautions about the materialism and the love of
4:34-37 (No needy persons. Sale of lands and houses.)
12:13 (Share with God's people who are in need)
Jn 3:17 (Do you see brothers in need – help them)
18:22-25 (Rich man turns away from Jesus)
6:6 (Support financially those who teach you the Word of God)
25:35-40 (Helping the least of the brethren is helping Jesus)
20:35 (It is more blessed to given than to receive)
Financial Ministries 12-Week Financial Bible Studies and Video
Series. 1-800-722-1976 www.crown.org
resources and video series by Ron Blue. 1-404-705-7000
Word for the Wealthy” by Brian Kluth. Personal or small
group Bible study highlighting 600 scripture verses summarized
into 40 Biblical principles about God’s wisdom and warnings
concerning wealth and generosity. 1-888-443-7407
website (www.kluth.org) by Brian Kluth. Helpful resources
and hotlinks on generosity and financial matters for
individuals, churches and ministries.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Kluth is a national and international speaker and writer
on Biblical generosity and financial matters.
He is also a church pastor and the founder of MAXIMUM Generosity, a public ministry dedicated to advancing Biblical generosity through inspirational preaching, leadership training seminars, writing, resources and the media. Brian’s written materials have been distributed to more than 350,000 Christian leaders in more than 100 countries .For additional materials or to contact Brian, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
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