No one has helped me think through biblical stewardship more than Dave Ramsey. In our household we take his advice, use his systems, and have been on his show. If you’re moving toward the end of 2015 without a financial plan you’d be remiss to not avail yourself of the resources that he’s published. Some of Ramsey’s best advice is contained in his work on budgeting, a topic that most folks think falls between monotonous and only for times of fiscal crisis, when in reality budgeting is the core of any financial plan. Ramsey’s oft repeated slogan is, “Give every dollar a name.” Assign every dollar a name, a budget category, that tells it what to do. This simple advice turns a tipping view of finances into an equipping view of finances.
A tipping view of finances sees wealth as an opportunity to appreciate the world and all it has to offer, similar to the like or favorite button on social media. A “tipping” style spending plan is controlled by what you like, appreciate, and want. It's as if the consumer is tipping the commerce industry for a job well done, for desire met and pleasures fulfilled, like one would a waiter.
An equipping view sees dollars as missionaries. Wealth, however defined, is a legion of gospel emissaries assigned to support and extend God's purposes in the world. Instead of being governed by fickle desires (tipping) the equipping method of budgeting is led by God's will and word. What might this look like? How can you send your dollars out like a missionary force?
- Assign money to take care of personal needs. Each Christian is a missionary called to reach the community to which he or she is called. God's fiscal provision is his commendation on vocation, family investment, and personal evangelism. Christians should budget to keep their family as fiscally healthy as possible to extend their gospel legacy as long as possible.
- Assign money to tithe to your church. God's design for funding local churches is the generosity of those churches' members. The biblical expectation for Christians is that they begin with tithing (10%) and pray that God would enable them to give more than that as he provides whatever prosperity he might want to meet whatever need the local church might have.
- Assign money to power God’s kingdom with generosity. Once a Christian reaches fiscal health, including tithing, he has the opportunity to not only have a little fun but to invest to an even larger degree. There are ministries, needs, and opportunities outside of the local church that are in desperate need of adequate funding.
Picture yourself as the leader of a large missionary organization, staring out over a map of the world, pins in it marking every area in which one of your missionaries is laboring. What would you feel? What do you have? What urgency do you feel to push the work forward? That is how you should feel about your wealth, the engine of God’s mission work in the world. Your budget is the map of your mission work, where you think God’s called you to work for his glory. Whether you have a ton or a little, the principle is the same. Are you tipping or equipping?
- Congregational Meeting - We will have a short congregational meeting at the conclusion of our service on December 6th to conclude the incorporation process.
- Pray for Jeff Stables - Jeff’s health continues to deteriorate. Please continue pray for him, Becca, and the boys. You can see Becca’s blog for more information on his condition.
- Advent Postponed - I made a mistake in my sermon planning and realized that I have one last sermon in the James series even though Advent traditionally begins this Sunday. So we’re going to wait one Sunday before jump into our Advent sermon series. I suppose this is keeping with our Presbyterian tradition that has always looked askance at the church calendar.