April 2012 – Financial Stewardship

Did you know there is more written in the Bible about finances than on heaven and hell, prayer, or faith?Jesus taught more about this subject than any other, so it’s obvious that the stewardship of money is very important to God.

I know that as soon as a minister begins to speak on this subject, it is often met with skepticism, with people wondering about the motives behind the teaching. I understand why, and honestly, there are a lot of other subjects that I would rather teach. But, as God’s steward of this ministry, it’s not up to me—it’s up to Him—and God wants His people to understand how to operate in this area.

For those of you who have not followed this ministry long enough to know me, I want to say that I am not writing on this subject in an attempt to motivate you to give so that I can indulge my flesh at your expense. I am teaching this for the same reason I teach on healing, faith, grace, or any other subject.

When I teach on healing, it’s not so I can be healed; I’m already walking in divine health. Likewise, when I teach on financial stewardship, it’s not for my financial benefit, but for yours. Jamie and I love you and just want to see you walking in the grace of God, full of faith, healthy, and prosperous.

Financial stewardship is probably one of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bibleand yet one of the most important.

Jesus Himself said in Luke 16:10-11:

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”

In other words, if you can’t deal with finances and become faithful in that, you can’t be trusted with anything. Finances are just the beginning point.

Many people believe the money they have belongs to them. After all, they earned it. They’ve scrimped, they’ve saved, and they may even be working two jobs to make ends meet. They earned it, so it must be theirs. Right?

Wrong. It may seem that way, but it’s just not true. The first step in becoming financially responsible and blessed is to recognize God as the source of your prosperity. You may have worked a job, but it’s God who gave you your life, your breath, your talents, your abilities, the power to think, and the blessing of living at a time of unparalleled opportunity in one of the most prosperous nations in the world. You didn’t do any of that!

When we understand that God is the source of all our blessing, it’s easy to realize that we are merely the stewards of all that He gives us. The dictionary defines “steward” as a person who manages the affairs, especially the money, of another person. And when we get the mindset of a steward, it totally changes the way we think about and use money.

Abraham is a great example of a man who had the mindset of a steward. He completely understood and acknowledged who his source was, and because of that, God abundantly blessed him. Genesis 12:1-3 says,

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

A lot could be said about this passage, but I want to point out that this wasn’t just some kind of a spiritual promise. This is actually talking about physical, tangible results.

As you read through the story of Abraham, you’ll find that he was blessed, blessed, blessed—even when he didn’t act with integrity. For example, there was a time of famine in the land of Canaan, so Abraham traveled to Egypt. Because of his fear, he lied to the pharaoh about Sarah, his wife. She was very beautiful, and the pharaoh wanted her, so Abraham said she was his sister.

The pharaoh made her part of his harem, but before any sexual relationship took place, God intervened through a dream and revealed the truth to the pharaoh. Instead of the pharaoh exacting punishment for this lie, the fear of God came upon him because he knew God was with Abraham.

In fact, the fear of God was so strong on the Egyptians, they started giving Abraham their servants, slaves, cattle, sheep, and more. You can’t say that was because of Abraham’s shrewd dealing. And it certainly wasn’t because of his integrity.

God had promised He would bless him, and the blessing was independent of what he deserved, independent of his performance. It was the favor of God on his life that caused him to prosper. Can you connect the dots? Do you realize that it’s not about your work and effort—it’s about the favor of God?

That isn’t to say that you can sit in front of the television and expect God to put money in your mailbox. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, the Bible says that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. So, you are supposed to work, but you need to recognize that even though you work, it is God’s favor and blessing that bring the increase.

Continue reading about Abraham in Genesis 14, and you will find that he went to war against four kings who had conquered five cities, including Sodom and Gomorrah. They had also taken Lot, Abraham’s nephew, captive.

You know Abraham was rich, because he armed 318 of his trained servants, born in his own house, for war. They defeated the armies and not only brought back all the people, including Lot, but all the spoils and goods of the enemy. It was then that Abraham again acknowledged God as the source by giving a tithe of all to Melchizedek.

Then read what Abraham said to the king of Sodom after defeating the other kings and taking the spoils.

“And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons,       and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of         Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich” (Gen. 14:21-23).

Abraham knew that God was his source and was unwilling that there should even be an appearance that someone else was making him rich. God honored him by prospering him even more after that time.

It all begins with the understanding that you are a steward. Even though the bank account, the car, the home, or anything else you own is in your name, God is the one who gave you the ability to prosper. Deuteronomy 8:18 says,

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

So many good things begin to happen when you understand that God is your source and that you are simply a steward of the things He has entrusted to you. You’re not giving up anything; you’re actually opening the door of blessing from God. And knowing that the Master is responsible for you now, that your financial security doesn’t depend upon you, will bring with it a sense of peace.

As I wrote in the beginning of this letter, God spoke more about money than any other subject in the Bible. Why? Because it’s critical that every believer understands how to operate in the realm of finances.

This month, I am releasing my new book, Financial Stewardship, along with a new DVD called Financial Breakthroughs. It contains six powerful stories of people who experienced the financial blessing that comes when stewardship is understood and practiced.

I am offering the new book Financial Stewardship with the accompanying study guide, the Financial Breakthroughs DVD, and either the CD or DVD album for Financial Stewardship as a package for R580. Or these items can be ordered individually.

To order, go to our website: www.awmsa.net or call our Office: +27(0)28 722 1335 / 1344.

As you may have heard me say before, “If you will honor God with your finances, He will take better care of you accidentally than you ever could on purpose.”

 

We love you,

Andrew and Jamie

 

P.S. To learn more about the progress on The Sanctuary (the future home of Charis Bible College in Woodland Park), please go to our website, and view my recent internet broadcast at www.awmi.net/jan2012_special.

The building-permit process is taking longer than we anticipated; therefore, our original date for the groundbreaking on March 23 was delayed. We will notify you as soon as the new date has been determined.