Stewardship Conversations: Five Financial Areas – Earning
This month, we talk to Sid Yeomans about earning, the first of the Five Financial Areas.
GS: There’s a lot of emphasis in our culture on making money. What does the Bible tell us about earning?
Sid: As in all areas of financial stewardship (earning, giving, saving, spending, and debt); the “pull of the culture” vs. “the mind and heart of God” can pull us toward being foolish or faithful respectively. Specifically regarding earning, and emphasized in the Good $ense Freed-Up Financial Living curriculum, our culture tells us that one’s value is measured by position, paycheck size, the kind of car driven, or home location/pricetag. Also, our culture continually whispers in our ears that a little more money will solve all your problems! Conversely, the mind and heart of God would have us understanding that our value is not measured by what we earn or do, but by who we are: beloved sons and daughters of God. Work is a blessing and we are called to join God in the ongoing management of His creation.
GS: Paul tells us in Colossians 3:22-24 to work as though we were working for the Lord, not for men. How important is the attitude of the heart as we work and earn money?
Sid: At Good $ense we often describe a diligent earner as one who works with commitment, purpose, and a grateful attitude. Colossians 3:23 encourages each of us to “work willingly at whatever you do…” and be purposeful….”work as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” We work to serve God. Therefore if someone we respect leaves a position in business, church, ministry, academia, or government we of course will be sad but it doesn’t need to derail our work or impact because we are working to serve God not the person leaving. We also work to provide for ourselves and those dependent on us since 1 Timothy 5:8 indicates that ..”those who won’t care for their relatives…have denied the true faith…”. And we can only be grateful for our work long term if the focus of our heart is to serve Him rather than just please another person. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 indicates “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…”
GS: What are some of the dangers associated with Earning? How can the believer be on guard against these pitfalls?
Sid: Watch out if you have the tendency to take things to extremes! Hoarding and laziness can both by detrimental to you, your family, and your closeness with God. To help bring this into focus, let’s review three Biblical financial principles and nine practical checklist items to know when enough is enough…. all of which can be found in the Good $ense Freed Up Financial Living resource:
Three Biblical Principles:
- Beware of idols:“You shall have no other gods before me.You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below…I, the LORD you God, am a jealous God…” Deuteronomy 5:7-9
- Guard against greed: “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed.Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15
- Be content: Contentment with the gratitude for what we have is the antidote to greed and envy.When we practice moderation and learn contentment, we become free to be generous and a blessing to others. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” I Timothy 6:17-18.
Nine Practical Checklist Items.
The Bible doesn’t give absolute guidelines for deciding when enough is enough, but the following nine principles can provide guidance for making wise financial decisions or evaluating a desire to work less….or more:
- Start with the right attitude – everything you have was created by God, is owned by God, and is to be used for God’s purposes.
- If the desire seems reasonable to mature Christian brothers and sisters whose discernment you respect, it is usually wise.
- If the desire arises from pain over the plight of the poor, the unfortunate, or the disenfranchised, it is likely to be Spirit-led and honoring to God
- If the desire involves the well-being of children, it is often right.
- If the desire is primarily one of wanting to improve your own living conditions or lifestyle, you should not automatically assume it is wrong.
- Consider whether the desire springs from an incompleteness in your relationship with Christ.Are you trying to fill with purchases or work or laziness, an empty place in your heart?
- Consider whether the resources of God’s creation would be adequate to provide for all of His children the thing you desire for yourself.
- Evaluate how important your desire seems in the context of your own mortality.Ask, “How important will this purchase seem to me when I am on my deathbed?”
- Ask, “What would Jesus do in my situation?”