Stewardship: 70 Things Every Man Needs to Know
Excerpted from Pastoring Men, Moody Publishers.
Teach men that stewardship means to honor God with 100 percent of their time, talent, and treasure. Challenge your men to consider and choose among four lifestyle/spending approaches.
First, to live “above” their means.The spendthrift lives up to limits of his income and beyond. He teeters perpetually on the brink of financial disaster. He is constantly refinancing and borrowing more. Teach men that debt is dumb. The problem is you have to pay it back. It has not occurred to most men that it takes more energy to earn a living and service a debt, than just to earn a living. The Bible doesn’t prohibit debt, but it is never recommended. The Bible is full of cautions against debt and offers much counsel about how to overcome the negative consequences.
Second, to live “at” their means. A lot of men want more of the good life. However, they are not so foolish that they borrow for “experiences” or depreciating assets, but neither are they so wise that they think about a rainy day. They are like the man who hears God’s Word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it and make it unfruitful.
Third, to live “within” their means. Men who live within their means recognize that everything they have belongs to God, and the Bible calls all men to be stewards of what God has entrusted to them. Not only do such men save for a rainy day, but they have a well thought out retirement plan as well. They tithe joyfully.
Concerning tithing, teach your men to tithe. Many men think the concept of tithing is an Old Testament idea that no longer applies. Yet tithing is fully ratified by Jesus himself. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law-justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things” (Matthew 23:23 NLT). Jesus said, in essence, “Look! You scrupulously give ten percent of every nickel you earn, but you’re careless about your behavior! You need to add ethical behavior, without neglecting the tithing you already do.” Remember, belief determines behavior. Let God’s Word do its work.
Fourth, to live “below” their means. This unusually disciplined man has decided to live a lifestyle lower than he could easily afford. He wants to model the right values to his family. He does not want to be distracted by the worries, riches, and pleasures of this world. Though he uses the things of this world, he has not become engrossed in them. He has the gift of giving, and would rather make eternal investments than spend up to the limits of his income.
Only men in the third and fourth categories can reasonably expect to become financially independent in retirement. Ask your men, “Which category do you live in? Which category do you think God wants you to live in?” Then give them these practical suggestions:
- Don’t get engrossed with your possessions.
- Take care of the possessions you do have.
- Give 10 percent of your income to the work of the church.
- Give above a tithe as God blesses and as you feel led.
- Save 10 percent of your income.
- Get out of debt. Debt is dumb.
For More: (1) Read the related topics Priorities and Money and Possessions. Also (2) see part three, “Solving Our Money Problems,” in The Man in the Mirror, and (3) Chapter 6 in Ten Secrets for the Man in the Mirror.
#441 © 2011. Patrick Morley. All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced for non-commercial ministry purposes with proper attribution.