Discipleship Matters in Personal Finances
Back in 2014, the church I was serving at had to cut one of our short-term mission budgets to the Natives we had been committed for many years. The budget cut was rather sudden so the majority of high school and college students who comprised the bulk of the group were not quite ready with the doubling of the mission registration cost. I was getting rather worried and began to wonder if people will be able to afford to join the team and serve as we had done before.
It was during the early spring of 2014 when a friend of mine just called me out of the blue. I hadn’t spoken to him for about 5 years and the day he happened to call me was the day after I found out about the short-term mission budget changes.
Just when I began to complain to God about the injustices of this sudden change, my friend called and asked me if I had any financial need. He began to tell me that he felt prompted by God to call me and give to any need I may have. I was speechless and so humbled as I was reminded by God that he knew our situation and heard my cry.
I began to share with my friend about our sudden turn of budget constraint that was placed on the team I was leading. After I shared, he simply asked me how much we needed. Just like that? I said that the price was doubled from $400 to $800, and this affected roughly about 15 people, so the total we needed was $6000. My friend wrote a check out for $6300 that very day and mailed it out right away. I got the check a few days later and submitted it to the church and we were able to provide a scholarship to those who needed the funds.
That year, we took a team of 20 people as we did annually, and we were able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Natives we had been ministering for close to a decade. All because God had prompted a family’s heart, and this family was positioned to give generously and was heeding God’s leading in the way they can bless the church of Christ.
What was especially amazing for me from this experience was that my friend was a high school teacher. How does a person with a teacher’s salary manage to save up so much money and give so generously? And I began to think more seriously about what we needed to do to disciple our people to be positioned to give generously when prompted by God.
In order for God’s people to be positioned to give generously, a few things must have happened in their lives.
- Whose is it? My friend and his wife embraced the reality that everything belonged to God and that they were temporary stewards (managers) of God’s finances.
- How much do you need? They also knew what they needed to provide for their family. Because they knew what was given for their family’s need, they also knew what was given to them to give away generously.
- Prioritize giving regularly. He and his wife spent less than they earned and intentionally saved for giving. I believe this is a mark of God’s people who give consistently and generously.
- Seek the Master’s wishes. People who want to follow the wishes of their Master seek the Master’s input. They prayed and listened. They sought and waited to see where God might want them to give.
- Obey the Master. After praying, they obeyed by responding to how they believe God had prompted them to give.
I remember sharing this amazing news to my congregation a few Sundays after the donation. A member came to me afterward. She shared how encouraged and challenged she was to see such generous and sacrificial giving.
I told her that she too can do what my friend did if she also began to live out her life as God’s steward by 1) recognizing that everything belongs to God, 2) spending less than what she earned by living with a budget, and 3) prioritizing giving.
We all want to. We have the desire to give generously to God and God’s purposes, but it is not enough to have great intentions. If we want to give generously and sacrificially to God, we have to position ourselves by managing God’s treasures wisely. That takes work and discipline like anything of value.
Dream here with me.
What could your local church do if the people of God in your church were managing finances God’s way by spending less than they earned, didn’t have any debt, and tithing and giving above and beyond with generosity? Imagine the kind of ministry you can do for your community and the world with the unique call God has placed in your local church’s heart?
I’m reminded of the parable of the talents from Matthew 25 which teaches us about the principle of stewardship. We are reminded that 1) the Master owns it all, 2) the Master gave temporary management of his treasures, 3) the Master will come to judge how we have managed.
Church, how are you discipling God’s people in this important area of managing our treasures? We do such a good job of discipling our people in time and talents, why not treasures? After all, Jesus talks quite a lot about it in the Scriptures.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Jang serves as an Associate Pastor at Church Gathered and Scattered in North Haledon, New Jersey. He is also Certified Financial Coach & Church Stewardship Ministry Consultant at www.jangfinancial.com