Financial Myths

Financial Myths

Financial Myths

Oftentimes, the complications that we have secured in our lives are due to myths that we have transformed into concrete ideologies and governing principles of our lives. I am going to break down four myths in the church that surround our financial stewardship.

Myth #1: It’s mine.

Many Christians are caught up in the American way of thinking—that we are self-sufficient and that we are responsible for all that we possess.

The Bible, of course, provides an entirely different perspective.

The American culture is bent on consumerism and capitalism. We have the mistaken idea that if I am able to produce wealth, then that wealth is mine. I earned it, I worked for it—thus I possess it. Unfortunately, while this may make for a strong economy, that is not God’s economy—nor is it a good axiom to live by in life.

The Bible provides a different perspective in that we are merely the overseers of God’s earthly domain, responsible for taking care of His resources until Jesus returns. In other words: even though I may be able to produce wealth, I really don’t own it—it came from God and it will return to God.

Everything is God’s; we watch over it on earth.

O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.

That Scripture is from the Old Testament book of I Chronicles, chapter 29.

One of the practices that I was taught as a child was to pray before meals. I did it halfheartedly and never gave thanks before a meal at school—or at least not in any form that anyone else would see it. I took this whole “meal blessing” relatively lightly. Then one day, this concept that I am sharing with you dawned on me. Everything in this earth is God’s. I don’t own it: I am only using it for the time being.

So, the first myth is the idea that we own what we have and we deserve what we have because we provided for it. According to scripture, this just isn’t true. God is the one who provided it, God is the one who owns it—we are simply borrowing it for a time.

Myth #2: Someone else will take care of it; it’s not my responsibility.

Many Christians acknowledge that they have a small degree of responsibility for the financial needs of the church but believe that someone else takes care of the lion’s share; thus, it is not their responsibility.

The Bible, of course, provides an entirely different perspective.

While many Christians feel somewhat responsible for the church, they assume the Bible does not prescribe a level of giving or a theology related to that responsibility. Consequently, their giving becomes random and emotional.

Imagine what it would be like if everyone in our congregation understood that God expects each of us to fund the church generously—that He accepts no excuses for stinginess, and that our lives are materially affected by our generosity to his work. God’s word gives us a guide in Luke 12:10:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Myth #3: God understands my bills.

Most Christians believe that their first responsibility is to tend to their personal needs, then to give God a slice of the leftovers.

The Bible, of course, provides an entirely different perspective.

You know what? We all have bills. It seems that no one walks through this life without some kind of bill. Food bill, insurance, car bills, house payments, electric, gas, phone: on and on goes the list of bills. For many Christians, the way they approach giving to God is that, once the bills are paid, then we will give to God if we have enough. Instead of the “first fruits”, they give God the leftovers.

The Bible tells us that before Cain killed Abel, he first burned with anger. But why?—because God looked favorably upon Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. Why did God look favorably upon the one and not the other? Abel brought God the best he had to offer, while Cain only brought the seconds or just the run of the mill, not the best.

God takes very seriously this idea of bringing him the first fruits. In other words, He wants us to bring the first cut of the pie before anyone else gets a piece.

But why?

I am not the smartest person, but this is the way I understand it. We bring God our first fruits because God is our biggest creditor. If God owns everything, I am simply borrowing it. He is my biggest creditor: not the light company, not the phone company, not the bank who owns the deed to my home. God also has the biggest power over me to take my wealth away.

Myth #4: Giving has no bearing on my trust in God.

Many Christians are caught up in the idea that giving has nothing to do with trusting in God, and that giving has little to do with holiness or our Christian growth.

The Bible, of course, provides an entirely different perspective.

One of the reasons God asks us to be stewards is to test our willingness to trust Him fully. He does not need 10 percent or 20 percent of even 100 percent of His resources to be returned by us: He can get the job done with us or without us, through us, or in spite of us.

By giving us free rein in managing them, though, the priorities of our heart emerge clearly. His desire is that we will consistently demonstrate unbridled obedience and trust, and thus recognize our place in creation. How generous we are in giving is therefore a direct result in our trust in God.

Many Christians see their creditors as more powerful than God and thus show their lack of trust in God by the way they spend their money. If you truly trust God, you will generously give to Him, even if the creditors are knocking on the doors.

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,  thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Put your hope in God, not in your wealth.

You might think, “it’s easy for you to say trust God, give generously, support the church responsibly—but you don’t know the bills I have.”

This is one of the fascinating things about stewardship. It seems that when we bring our finances in line with God’s will, suddenly, we begin to have money we never had before. I don’t know if this is a miracle or just plain common sense.

There was a single mother who had heard a Biblical financial teacher say, “Quit looking at your job as the source of your income. Look at your job as only one avenue, one channel that the Source—El Shaddai—uses to bring finances into your life. Begin to teach your children to look to their heavenly Father as their Source.”

When we spend as if it is God’s money and our spending is in line with His will, suddenly we stop living beyond our means—we stop being driven by our lusts and wants, and we start to have money and financial freedom.