Military Finance Report: April 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Financial Stewardship in the Bible

Most of us celebrate Easter by reading Matthew, Chapter 28, Verse 6, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was laying.” (NASB) After your Easter celebration, stay in Matthew and read Matthew, Chapter 25, Verse 14, The Parable of the Talents.
I wasn’t a regular Church-goer and the one Church service my in laws took me to was a sermon about The Parable of the Talents. I loved every second of it. Throughout my pursuit of helping people with their finances I often hear the misquoted; Money is the Root of all Evil. When in fact, 1 Timothy, Chapter 6, Verse 10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” People “forget” to add the ‘for the love of’ part which warns about greed and they think the Bible somehow supports financial irresponsibility or a #YOLO (you only live once) mentality.

In The Parable of the Talents we learn that God wants us to practice good financial stewardship. Here is how you can apply the teachings to your financial situation.
To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.” Matthew 25:15.

·         God had given different amounts to the three people based off their abilities. Our socio-economic model in America isn’t as fair as God’s model; however, for the most part, with proper education and work ethic we too receive money based on our ability. By getting your college education and have a steadfast work ethic, we increase our ability to earn more income.
Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.” Matthew 25:16-17

·         We’ll see in the next couple of versus that in a certain amount of time God will come back and find out their status. Two of the men earned a great return on their investment. Both of them doubled the ‘talents’ or, gold and silver, they had received.  Back then, they had to barter and trade to invest their money. In our time we have many methods of investing our money. With compounding interest and stock market gains you can double, triple and earn a great return on your investment as well. We have to assume they didn’t have much or any debt because they wouldn’t be able to double their money if they were burdened by debt. These two men were good stewards of their money.
But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” Matthew 25:18

·         Unfortunately for our culture, this is what many people do with their money; often the same people misquoting the 1 Timothy quote mentioned above. If one talent is a person’s Net Worth (assets-liabilities), then most of us don’t even have the one talent that was given to us. Due to excessive debt, not only do we not have the one talent given to us, we have less than one talent and owe someone another talent. We have loaned out God’s money.
The next couple of versus are long but the men who doubled their Five and Two talents told God and he said, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21 & 23

·         God was pleased with their financial stewardship and responsibility. The person with Two talents didn’t complain about not receiving Five talents and managed to double his money and have four talents. The lesson I learned is financial responsibility isn’t about how much you make it’s about what you do with your money. Military members don’t make as much as their civilian counterparts with all the sacrifices we are forced to make but we should maximize what we do make.
And what about the man with only one talent that chose to do nothing with it? “You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.  Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.” Matthew 25:26 & 27

·         Is this something you want to hear from your Holy Father…your savior? A wicked and lazy slave? And remember, this man did save his money so he was able to give back the one Talent. How many of us won’t even be able to give back our one Talent because of our debt?
So enjoy your Easter celebration but starting tomorrow (Monday, 6 Apr 15) decide to do the right thing and take control over your finances. Leave a comment or e-mail me if you have financial questions. Seek help from someone if you need it. Either way, it’s time to start practicing good financial stewardship.