In the article, "I Earned It, It's Mine! Right?", I wrote about the spiritual side of financial stewardship. Jesus taught more about this subject than any other, so stewardship of money is very important to God.
The Bible says in Luke 16:10-11 that if we are to be trusted with true riches of the kingdom, we must first be faithful in that which is least:
"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?"
The first big step toward financial blessing is to recognize that God is your source. As long as you think it's your ability and your talent that causes you to prosper, you will probably have difficulty being faithful in that which is least.
In this article, I want to address the practical side of stewardship. In the same way that faith is dead without works (James 2:20), believing for prosperity without practical knowledge about handling money won't work either.
To help with this, I have asked a member of my Board of Directors, Paul Milligan, to join me to discuss the practical side of financial stewardship. I had planned to teach this myself, but after speaking to Paul at a recent board meeting, I felt it would be of benefit to you if I included him.
Paul has a great revelation on the application of spiritual principles in practical ways. He is the founder and owner of several corporations and Life Walk International Ministries. He has accumulated a wealth of wisdom in business and finance, and teaches these principles at business summits, in churches, Bible colleges, and other organizations across America and around the world.
Paul has been active in establishing Micro-Enterprise business ventures in third-world countries such as Kenya, Poland, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and others. People living in some of the worst economic conditions are experiencing the prosperity that God's Word promises as they follow these principles. If what he is teaching will work in those countries, and it is, it will certainly work here.
Here are some excerpts of what Paul has to say about the practical aspects of stewardship.
I have talked to Christians all over the world who tell me that they have given faithfully but still experience lack and frustration in their finances. When questioned, I usually find that they are in debt, they don't save money, and they don't have a plan for their financial future.
Of the ones that do have a plan, many are like my father. They are more interested in financial security than financial freedom. He was raised during the depression and then sent off to war. For the first twenty-one years of his life, the world was either trying to starve him or kill him, which accounts for that security mindset.
However, financial security is a self-centered mindset that focuses only on what a person can acquire. It's the "get all I can, can all I get, and sit on the can" philosophy. That isn't the way God sees it.
Second Corinthians 9:8 says,
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
The Word teaches that if we will be good stewards of all that God gives, ready to distribute to help meet the needs of others, God is able to make all grace abound toward us so that we have an abundance. He wants us to have more than security; He wants us to have true financial freedom.
Although the church today has taught the great principles of giving and the promised blessings of God, I believe that only represents a part of what the Word teaches about finances. The spiritual side of stewardship must be complimented by the practical side.
Here is an example of what I mean. To be good stewards, we must agree with God about the purpose of money.
In Deuteronomy 8:18 we read,
"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."
God teaches that He does not give us wealth but He gives us the power to create wealth. This requires action on the part of the steward. There are some practical things we must do here, in the now, if we are to see financial success. Tithing and giving alone will not bring us the kind of abundance God speaks of in His Word.
One of the most neglected principles that God teaches is the storehouse principle.
Deuteronomy 28:8 says,
"The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."
God commands a blessing on our storehouses. However, most Christians don't have a storehouse. We do not save money, and therefore, we are missing the blessing that God commands on our savings. The priority taught in the Word for our finances is: Pay God, pay yourself, and then pay everyone else.
Most Christians have learned to give (pay God), they most certainly pay everyone else, but very few pay themselves. God wants to bless your storehouse. Begin the discipline of saving money regularly, and give God something to bless. God can only bless what you have; He cannot bless what you need.
So, it begs the question, how do you save money if you're head over heels in debt? The answer to that is part of what I teach in my seminar Establishing Your Financial House.
I teach how to create multiple streams of income (one of the fundamental secrets to creating wealth) and how to get out of debt using our Fast-Trak Method. We also teach the fundamentals of saving and investing and creating a financial family plan with obtainable goals. It's applying the practical using the spiritual principles that Andrew has been teaching.
I guarantee you that God wants you to prosper more than you do. If you will honor God with your finances and apply practical principles, He will take better care of you accidentally than you ever could on purpose.
Both the spiritual and practical must be working together for you to experience true abundance.