By Todd McMichen
Preaching on money can be a tough issue. Many pastors avoid the topic because of the misperception of others that “the only thing churches are interested in is money.”
Unfortunately, millions of Americans live in financial bondage and that includes millions of churchgoers. They need to hear what God has to say about money. Generosity breakthroughs will never come until pastors gain confidence and get comfortable with money as a life issue and discipleship topic.
Reading Proverbs 21, I noticed 10 practical financial principles that can help churchgoers look at their finances from a biblical perspective.
1. Gain Perspective. When people focus on money it can lead to pride, compromised character, unhealthy pressure, defeat, worry, and anxiety just to mention a few.
God promises to channel the heart of the king to provide an overflowing stream of resources to those who please Him. God is the sole owner of every resource and the path on which they travel. (Proverbs 21:1)
2. Show Patience. Money needs a plan. When my kids were young one of them let money burn a hole in his pocket. As soon as he got his allowance it was gone. Now he’s in college and a planner.
Every penny is accounted for, and he patiently sticks to the plan. Develop a plan, live the plan, and patiently watch God transform your finances. (Proverbs 21:5)
3. Prepare Yourself. Money has its ups and downs. When I was in seminary, I was so poor that other students had to pay my rent and provide my wife and I with food. Years later, I’m in a position to bless others as I was blessed.
Money comes and goes. Always listen to the cry of the poor and help, being mindful that one day you may need to be on the receiving end. (Proverbs 21:13)
4. Pull Back. The easiest way to have more money is to spend less money. You’ll never gain financial peace spending every penny, then borrowing money, then not paying it off quickly.
Money will follow what you love. If your heart is passionate about hunting, hobbies, travel, or shopping, you can really watch your funds dwindle. However, if your heart is passionate about God you’ll not be able to stop the spirit of wisdom over expenses and giving generously. (Proverbs 21:17)
5. Put Away. One day the car will break, the house will need to be painted, or you’ll need surgery. Large sums of money are hard to come by. You must learn to save a little every week and not touch it.
Moderation, restraint, and contentment will be required. These disciplines come from discipleship. (Proverbs 21:20)
6. Pursue Righteousness. Proverbs is full of verses about God’s desire to bless us. But people chase money thinking they’ll find prosperity. God says chase righteousness and love to find life and true prosperity. (Proverbs 21:21)
7. Plow Hard. Pastors have rightly condemned workaholism and parents’ misplaced priorities by spending time at work and not with their children. However, we should be challenged to work hard.
In creating the world, God worked six days and said the work was good. Work is a way we bring glory to God. God challenges us to be hard workers. Laziness is a difficult path to produce abundance. (Proverbs 21:25)
8. Pump The Breaks. Spending money on fun stuff is not automatically wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a new car, nice home, or taking nice vacations.
However, you should guard your eyes, your wants, and your cravings. If cravings are running wild, money will be running away. Abiding in Christ and allowing Him to meet our cravings will be a far better spiritual and financial decision. (Proverbs 21:26)
9. Give Generously. God is a giving God and we are made in His image. Learn to be generous with every word, thought, moment, passion, and resource.
Give without expecting anything in return. Give to bless others and be a living demonstration of the gospel. Not all sacrifices are considered equal. Your motive really matters. (Proverbs 21:27)
10. Pursue God’s Dream. God is undefeated. He is unstoppable. He has a financial plan for your life (and church) that includes saving, giving, surplus, prosperity, impact, and life.
As a child of the King, his heart is moved toward you. His hand created the river that flows with everything you need. (Proverbs 21:30-31)
For more financial wisdom from the book of Proverbs, check out book Todd McMichen’s book Leading A Generous Church.