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The Christian & Finances

by Robbin VanDervort



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I. Introduction

   A. Stewardship
       1. God entrusts to us within our ability.
       2. God owns all things. (Revelation 4:11, Haggai 2:8, Revelation 1:11)
       3. He has a right to those things He gives us.
       4. He expects dividends and returns. (Matthew 25:15-27)
       5. Money is a little thing. (Luke 16:11)
       6. Faithfulness in little things is an indicator of faithfulness in LARGE things. (Luke 16:10)
       7. Earthly things are temporal.

   B. Purpose of stewardship. (Matthew 7:11)
       1. To illustrate His power. (Proverbs 3:9 & 10)
       2. To provide for our needs. (Philippians 4:19)
       3. To unite us as Christians. (II Corinthians 8:14)
       4. Wants us to be productive.
       5. Wants us to be GIVERS.

II. Budgeting

   A. Definition-A plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures. (Lk 14:38-30 & 16:12)

   B. Purpose
       1. Define income and expenses.
       2. Detect problem areas.
       3. Provide a written plan.
       4. Control cash flow.
       5. To become better stewards.

   C. Problems
       1. Unrealistic in establishment (expectations/emergencies/Life changes)
       2. Start and stop.
          a. Confusion.
          b. Discouragement.
       3. Misconception of purpose of budget.
          a. Seen as a restriction to activity, whereas
          b. it should relieve tension and burden.

   D. Pre-budget preparation
       1. Pray about God's will in this endeavor.
       2. Determine in your mind you will do this regardless of difficulty.
       3. Get cooperation from spouse (if married *_*)
**This will NOT work if only one is willing/PRAY TOGETHER about it!

   E. Preparation
       1. Summarize present situation. Must establish where you are.
          a. Identify all sources of income that are usable.
          b. Identify all expenses.
          c. Identify all assets and liabilities.
       2. Establish goals in writing.
          a. Purpose of goals.
             (1). Provide direction and purpose.
             (2). Helps us consolidate our thinking.
             (3). Provides motivation.
          b. Barriers to goals.
             (1). Fear of failure.
             (2). False thinking that it takes too much time.
             (3). Don't know what goals to set.
             (4). Don't know how to set goals.
       3. Keep notebook of all spending for 3 months.
       4. Establish "needs" vs. "wants".
          a. Prioritize between needs and wants.
          b. List essentials first.
          c. May be necessary to eliminate some debt.
             (1). Sell off assets.
             (2). Consolidation loan.
             (3). Go to creditors with plan.

5 Considerations:

Is it necessary?
Does it reflect Christian Ethics?
Is it a "best buy"?
Is it on CREDIT? *o*
Does it have costly upkeep?

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Now, I've had this here on our homepage since 1998. Today, August 29th, 2002, I want to PERSONALIZE it for you. I really think that we all need encouragement to be better stewards of our time, money, and talents. So...in case you're wondering what our family is doing about what we learned from Brother VanDervort in Hawaii....

There is more to life than keeping up with the Joneses. Most of us do not realize this until something dramatically threatening comes into our lives. First of all, what is important to you? I started really thinking about this several years back, and when it comes right down to it, PEOPLE are the only non-temporal we can "invest" in. Our family, our friends, even strangers we are accountable to God for our interaction with! "BUT THAT'S WHY I NEED MONEY!!!!" Oh, I can hear you saying that because I've heard myself say it *_* But really, would you rather a neighbor give you a gift certificate or cash, or would you rather they offer to share their cookout yummies with you? THUS sharing their TIME with you?? Okay, bring it closer to home. Would your children rather have a $100 gift certificate to WORLD'S FINEST TOYZ, or would they rather have Mommy and Daddy home with them when they're home...reading, playing games, fellowshipping? Ut oh. Yes, I know if we're trying to "keep up with the Joneses" we NEED our new whammadine, showroom-scented vehicle every year or two. We NEED the latest, greatest wardrobe. We NEED.... But do we really?

Evaluate...prioritize. What is REALLY important? Do you NEED a beeper? Do you NEED 2 cell phones? Do you NEED cable tv? Do you NEED 2 brand new vehicles? Maybe if only one of you had a paying job, we wouldn't need all of the technology to find eachother during the day *_* Just a thought!

I remember Daniel & I talking about whether or not I should be a stay-at-home Mommy. That decision was QUICK! But what about the financial considerations? Well, if I stayed home and raised our child or children, I wouldn't need to have a business woman's wardrobe (including nylons, shoes, jewelry, hairstyle, nails...). I wouldn't need to buy my lunch every working day. I would have time to cook meals for my family, saving on eat-out costs. I wouldn't need to worry about transportation costs to and from work. But the biggie was, I wouldn't need to pay for CHILD CARE!!!! Hello? How much is child care a week? And really, do you want someone else teaching your children their values?? Not me. I don't even allow a "tv babysitter" to teach our children. My 3 year old was saying "Darn it" yesterday. She didn't learn it from Mommy & Daddy! Nope. She learned it from a very popular kids educational program!!!!! One of the FEW, I might add, that we still let them watch since so many of them were teaching things we did not agree with. Then of course there is the NECESSITY of beepers and cell phones to consider, and doubtless a LOT more that I just can't think of since I've been out of that "circuit" for a while. But I would have to make $50,000 a year to pay for all this junk...and to pay for someone else to raise my children. NO. Not gonna happen! Now, when my children are both school age, if there is a good Christian school within a reasonable driving distance, I will allow myself to consider having a paying job again. Right now, I have one in school and one at home, and I'm working as a web-page editor and graphics designer! I'm doing what I LOVE, but honestly, I would NEVER have known I could make money working at home doing this were it not for actually making the sacrifice.

A verse that has been branded into my memory is I Corinthians 10:31 -- Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. That is my focus...in what I eat (ask me about that some time *_*), what I drink, and what I do...and DON'T DO. No, I do not have a Lexxus. No, I do not have the latest styles in clothing. No, I do not have my nails "filled" *_* But just now when my 3 year old woke up from her nap, she came to me and said she wanted to be held. And you know what? I was here for her....

I would challenge you to sit down and prioritize your bills...your LIFE. What is important? When all is said and done, and your experiencing a 20/20 hindsight, don't have regrets that you can do something about right now. Spend more time doing for others, for the Lord's glory.

Back to the other Devotionals

dj

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