A Faithful Written Accounting

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” I Corinthians 4:2

Yesterday, we found that a steward is faithful in his current expenses by writing them down … keeping a record of them. How would the master feel if he came and the steward had nothing to show for his accounting? The steward would have nothing to show for what had come in and what had gone out … or where it went or where it came from. That is not a very faithful accounting, my friend! We will need to do better than that.

Personal finances not only involve faithfulness, but they also involve discipline. We will be looking at that more later. It is amazing to see how our faithfulness in one area can also affect our faithfulness in another area. If we are not faithful in our personal finances, we will not be faithful in our churches finances.

If our employer has not learned how to give a faithful accounting in his personal finances, he will not be able to give a faithful accounting in his business finances, which will bring the ruin (closure) of his business. I have seen this over and over again. So, it is very important to master your faithfulness in this “small” area because it will have a profound effect on the other areas of your life as well.

I trust that you took time to write down every expense that you have into a monthly expense format. Today you will now add your monthly income to that same paper. These two together, your expenses matched up to your income, make up a budget.  A budget is not where you simply write down every month what you project your expenses to be. No, my friend, it is much more than that! It involves now matching up those expenses with your income. This is where the rubber meets the road!

So, how is it looking? Do you have more income than expenses? Or more expenses than income? If you follow the #debtfreecommunity at all, you will see the phrase “living paycheck to paycheck” quite often. What are they saying? Well, what they are really saying is that they are barely making enough income to pay for their expenses. Others “have more month than they do paycheck” aka they cannot even make it to the end of the month before they run out of money. Either scenario is not a pleasant place to be and brings with it a truckload of stress … take it from someone who knows! Well, do not despair!

Through following these biblical financial principles, you will make it through that endless tunnel of darkness! You will come out the other end living in the light of God’s blessings from your obedience.

Spiritual Principle #4: Some people disregard the importance of a zero balance budget … EVERY penny accounted for. One day we will be standing before a righteous and holy God and will be giving an accounting for EVERY thing that we have ever done or not done. Do you think that He will require any less faithfulness in our personal finances … of which He owns?

Faithful in our Present Finances

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” I Corinthians 4:2

We have seen that a steward is one who is accountable to his master for his past, his present and his future stewardship. For the past couple of days, we have talked about our past debts and also the importance of getting to the root of our financial problems, which have stems into our past. If the root problem(s) are not dug up and disposed of, the present and the future will continue to be a problem. So, I trust that you have taken time into at least seeking God’s wisdom and letting His truth reveal what those root problems are. You will NOT regret it!

Today I want us to now move into the present. Our verse reminds us that we are to be faithful in our stewardship. How can this take place? How does faithfulness occur? Well, I do guarantee one thing and that it does not happen by chance. If we treated our jobs like we do our finances, we would not have a job. Faithfulness in a job comes with structure. It comes with outlined procedures. But, yet, it comes with its rewards as well.

So, how are you and I going to be able to be faithful in our present finances? We need structure. We need some procedures laid out for us to follow. When we follow those, that is when we will be rewarded. I follow a number of Instagram accounts of those in what is called the #debtfreecommunity. I have noticed an interesting thing. I have noticed that it does not matter how much money a person makes, if they are not faithful in their finances, they can accumulate some horrendous debt! I do not know if that makes you feel any better with your minimum wage job or not, but it should.

God requires us to be faithful in our finances whether we are rich or poor.

So, here is the question … how faithful are you in your present finances (with your daily living expenses)? I would wager a guess that they are not as good as you would like them or you would not be reading this devotion on biblical finances, correct? There is room for improvement to be found for all of us. Do you not agree?

Today you will drag out that pen and a clean sheet paper again and you will write down every current expense that you have … EVERYTHING … dog grooming, coffee runs, manicures and pedicures, subscriptions, etc! If you pay it quarterly, divide it by 3 and find out what your monthly expense is. If it is bi-yearly or yearly, divide it accordingly. This shows you what your current expenses are for each month. See, that was not so bad after all, was it? Well, tomorrow will bring a little more heat on as the rubber really meets the road. But hang in there! You can do this!

Stewardship Principle #3: If we are not faithful with our present everyday expenses, our finances can get messed up in a hurry and we can quickly end up with some astronomical debt before we know it. It is much easier to stay out of debt than to get out of debt … and it begins with getting your daily expenses in writing.

Digging Up the Roots

“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord … if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Luke 19:8

Yesterday we briefly looked at the accountability of the steward. Every steward will give an accounting to his master. Every person on earth will also give an account to the Lord for how they have handled the money and possessions that God has given them. I encouraged each of you yesterday to sit down and write an accounting of your past. If you have not done so, I highly recommend doing it now. The healing that you so desire in your finances begins here … in your past.

If there are ANY bills or financial agreements that you have made to anyone in the past and you have not paid them, you still owe them. If you refuse to pay them, make excuses about them, lie about them, or deny that you owe them, all you are doing is allowing that sin to fester. It will not stay hidden forever. It will come out and most likely at a very inopportune time. Do not hide your head in the sand any longer and think that things will get better. They will not. Please seek God’s forgiveness and then like Zacchaeus make things right … restore (pay) what you owe.

I know this is a very daunting place to be, especially if you struggle with your finances, because a lot of the problem lies in your past … bills that you have let accumulate, bills that you have ignored (with thoughts and hopes that they will magically disappear … they do not), misuse of credit (i.e. student loan debt and credit card debt), insanely high interest and penalties, etc. Do not despair.

There is light at the end of the tunnel … even though the tunnel is very long and you cannot see the end yet.

I hate to throw too many tough things at you that are hard to swallow, but I really feel that there is another issue that needs to be addressed here before we go further … and that is the ROOT issue of your financial problems.

Yes, every problem has a root and until you discover what it is and dig it up lock, stock, and barrel, you will never gain victory in your finances. What is it? I do not know. Each person is different. It could be overspending, discontentment, unwise choices, not budgeting, not tithing, trying to fill a void in your life, dishonesty, and the list is endless.

What is the root cause of your financial problems? You may know or you may not know. If you do not know, you need to be on your knees right now seeking God’s wisdom. Ask Him to show you. He will … so be prepared! When Zacchaeus met Jesus that day on the road to Jericho, God made a change in his life. Are you needing a change in your life? Let God help you by showing you where your problems began … where the roots lie in your finances.

Stewardship Principle #2: Dealing with the past is an important part of your financial healing. Paying those that you owe is an important place to start. But, without fail, you are going to have to address the root cause of your financial problems too. Do not let them mar your present and your future. Dig them up!

Who is a Steward?

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” I Corinthians 4:2

Today I am trusting to lay a foundation for us to build upon this month as we talk about biblical finances … from the standpoint or eyes of a steward. So, to begin, what is a steward or who is a steward? A steward is one who has been given the responsibility, accountability, or management of another man’s property.

Psalm 24:1 tells us that, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” So, who owns the earth? The Lord. Who owns all that is in the earth? The Lord. Who owns us? The Lord. Who owns all that we have and more specifically our money and possessions? The Lord. So, if the Lord owns our money and our possessions, then we are just stewards of them, are we not?

The principle of stewardship (how a steward handles that which he has been entrusted with) can be found in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Did you notice that the servants (stewards) were all given different amounts of talents? Not all of us will have the same amount of money. Not all of us will have the same amount of income (salary). But, EACH of us are responsible … and accountable … for EVERY penny that the Lord allows us, his stewards, to have. Not only are they responsible for what they currently have, but they are responsible for their past and their future.

How did stewards keep an accounting for their masters? Did they just do it in their heads? Did they write it down or record is somewhere? What did they do? Well, I can assure you that their master wanted to see it in writing. Why the importance of writing it down? Well, for starters, there is less likelihood of lying. Secondly, there is less likelihood of forgetting. Thirdly, there is less likelihood of mismanagement or lack of management.

The same goes for your family’s finances. You need to write them down. In fact, you need to start with ALL debts from the past that have not been paid … a cell phone bill or whatever bill … even if it was from 10 years ago or to a family member, you still are accountable to God for it. Remember that all of your money is God’s and if you cheat someone of money, you are cheating God Himself. Until you are honest and open toward God and man, God will not bless your finances.

You and I are accountable to God for EVERY sin that we commit … whether a sin of commission or a sin of omission. Am I not correct? Therefore, you and I are accountable to God for EVERY penny that He has allowed us to have … from our past to our present and even into our future. Stewardship Principle #1: All that you have is God’s … your life, your family, your job, your possessions, and your money. A steward is accountable for every penny … past, present, and future. Start with your past … make it right with God!