Some Financial Advice for Pastors
Money is a big deal. We spend our lives making it, spending it, saving it and, of course, worrying about it. No wonder the Bible gives multiple warnings about riches. Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Paul concluded that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
Many of us have heard the advice John Wesley gave, “Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.” But have you heard this other comment he made? “Now, if that man when he gets all he can and saves all he can, does not give all he can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that man!” (John Wesley). Yikes! None of us can be hoarders, we must be givers!
Give to God. First, give to God. The Bible calls this tithing. I know there is debate as to whether or not tithing is Old Testament legalism, but giving generously is not debatable! As pastors, we must set the example for our congregation and don’t be afraid to speak on the subject. Linda and I have always felt our whole tithe, 10%, belonged to the local church. Our offerings, beyond 10%, goes to missionaries and other areas of need. Talking about money was never comfortable for me, but it is essential! I’m always worried about what we’ve all heard people say, “All the church wants is my money.” Giving is an act of faith. It shows what we value!
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Give to Others. I really believe that it is more blessed to give than receive. Give whenever and however you can. Give others your time, your resources, your encouragement. Even giving to your family counts. At Christmas, we love seeing our granddaughters open the gifts we gave them and play with them. (Although the younger ones just play with the boxes).
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (I Timothy 6:17-19)
Give to Yourself. Save for the future. Bankrate says 28% of Americans have no emergency savings and 25% of Americans have less than 3 months earnings in savings. Many of us would be in trouble if we had a major expense. Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University was extremely helpful for us personally as well as for the people in our church as we spent time to work on budgets and planning for the future.
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Proverbs 13:11)
This reminds us to avoid get rich quick schemes but to be diligent in saving money for the future. The way we handle money often reflects the way we handle other areas in our life. If we are self-controlled with finances, we are most likely self-controlled in other areas.
BEFORE YOU GO
I strongly recommend attending a financial seminar such as Financial Peace University. You learn the basics of managing your money and, if you are married, it gets you and your spouse on the same page! Very Important! Also, here’s a link to download a free devotional from the National Evangelical Association.
The bottom line, God does bless us! However, He blesses us so we can bless others!
“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him?” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)