What’s in Your Pocket

I sighed as I looked over the Sunday School lesson for the week. Just another lesson on stewardship, I acknowledged. It seems such lessons come around more often than ever. My interest was pricked, however, as the teacher began the lesson. He laid out on a small table several items including a cell phone, a recent book on prayer, a checkbook, a Bible with several verses underlined, and a James Avery designed gold cross. 

“Now think about this for a moment,” he said. “Which of these items tell you the most about my spiritual condition.” After a time of silence, he said, “Each of these items says something significant about me and my priorities. However, a good case can be made for the checkbook revealing the most about me and my priorities.” 

The teacher went on to say, “If you could go through a family’s checks, you would read the story of their lives—what they value, how they live, what they save, and how they spend. In fact, one’s checkbook reveals more about a Christian’s priorities and the seriousness of their relationship with God than anything else.” 

Could it be that one of the reasons Jesus talked so much about material things is that our attitude toward the concrete reflects deeply our attitude toward spiritual things? The New Testament is peppered with references to money and material things. Indeed, it was a major component of Jesus’ teaching. For example, 

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:13-14 NIV) 

Paul adds his encouragement: 

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (II Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV) 

A long time ago I heard someone give a simple formula for financial happiness. The not too secret plan is “give 10%, save 10%, and spend the rest with joy and thanksgiving.” 

What does your checking account say? 

Written by Dr. Wayne Grant
Stewardship Team Leader