Managing Your Money. That is the title of an empowerment session the Legacy Group offered on a Wednesday night before bible study. As I was pondering the title, I had a revelation about its meaning. Obviously, this is a lesson of financial stewardship, but there is more. Let me share.
The first word in the title is managing. We know what managing means. It means to run, or to administer, or to control. To be a manager, you have to be in charge. You have to be in mastery over the money you are to manage. Managers must be free to exercise judicious authority; they need to be “on top of it”. When it comes to your money, who is in charge? Are you managing your money, or is it managing you? Are you telling your money where it is going through a budget, or it is just leaving and you are left finding where it went? If we are going to be good stewards over our finances, we need to get it together! We are called to managers, not slaves. And we decide whether we are going to be managers over our money or slaves to our money.
The second word, “your”, is kind of a misnomer in this context. Do you know why? It’s because the word “your” infers ownership. It’s so subtle; it seems like a small, insignificant choice in wording, but it is this inconspicuous point that most people miss. This one simple word, wedged in the middle of this short, three-word phrase, speaks volumes because it says something about the speaker; it reveals their perspective. And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the value of having the right perspective, but for good measure:
“Perspective gives us the ability to accurately contrast the large with the small and the important with the less important. Without it, we are lost in a world where ideas, news, and information look the same. We cannot differentiate, we cannot prioritize, and we cannot make good choices.” -John Sununu, Governor of New Hampshire
Perspective is key. If one’s perspective is askew, there is little hope to reaching our desired destination; financial independence. We have to know that we own nothing! Everything belongs to God (Ps. 24:1, Ps. 50:10). It is all His. We are managers put her to steward His possessions. That has been His plan from the beginning. Think about it. What was Adam, the original man, called to do? In Genesis 2:15 it says he was to dress and keep the Garden [of Eden]. In other words, he was to steward over God’s garden. He was the garden manager! Here’s another example. What about the richest and wisest man to ever lived, Solomon? In 1 Kings 3:5-10, we see God gave Solomon extraordinary wisdom after Solomon acknowledged he was God’s servant (a.k.a. God’s steward) who needed God’s help to manage and judge God’s people. Solomon was a people manager. Solomon had the proper perspective – he realized he was a steward over God’s people – and it pleased God so much, God made Solomon the richest king in the world as a bonus. (Talk about fringe benefits!)
And the last word, in the phase is money. Money, in its physical form, is nothing more than expensive paper, but it represents so much more. Money, in some circles, represents power and prestige, and to some others, it represents the sweat of their brow (or stored labor). We all have different viewpoints, but in general, money represents potential. Potential for good, and for bad. Money is not good or bad, but we all know it can be used well or mishandled. Whether it is used wisely to feed the hungry or fund someone’s college, or conversely, wasted buying drugs or gambling, its use is up to the quality of the steward. Money is just a tool. It’s the character of the one who manages it that decides its efficacy.
As you can say the topic of “managing your money” is a pretty deep topic. It can be rephrased as, “Taking the Proper Authority Over the Tools [Money] God Gives”. And it all starts with knowing it is all God’s money and we are God’s stewards entrusted to administer it for God’s glory. That is the first step; we have to have the right perspective. And that begins with knowing our source is the Lord and knowing our role. Then we can start to mimic Adam and Solomon and fulfill our personal stewardship roles. God Bless.
The month of April is Financial Literacy Month. Join the Legacy Group each Wednesday of the month of April at 6pm for 4 powerful empowering sessions purposed to help us understand and related to our money.