Saturday, October 6, 2012

Examing Our Stewardship Style

October, Stewardship Month, is a good time to look at our relationship with all the blessings the Lord has entrusted us with and to examine our ‘stewardship’ style. For this commentary let’s look at the various ways people handle money. Here is a list of words, positive and negative, used to describe ways people relate to money:

Accountable                       Charitable                           Extravagant                        Foolish

Giver                                   Good steward                   Greedy                                  Hoarder

Impulse spender              Irresponsible                     Miser                                    Open handed

Penny pincher                   Philanthropist                    Reckless                              Saver

Spendthrift                         Squanderer                        Stingy                                   Tightwad

Wastrel (waster)             

Let’s look at some negative ways of relating to money;

Extravagant, Squanderer, Greedy, Hoarder, Impulse spender, Irresponsible, Miser, Tightwad, Penny Pincher, Reckless, Spendthrift, Wastrel, Stingy.

Notice that these negative attitudes are not all about greed.  There are as many frivolous attitudes as there are selfish ones.  So if greed is not the motivator here, what is the common denominator?

The answer is that each of these negative relationships with money is led by an emotion. Each unhealthy attitude indicates an emotional response to a financial decision; not thought out, not preplanned, and without any commitment to a consistent course of action. These “off the cuff” or “knee jerk” responses to a spending decision are very common. There is an entire market strategy aimed at capturing the dollars of the impulse or emotional buyer.

In contrast, the more positive relationships with money listed below are well thought out.  They are practiced as the result of a “pre- event” decision made by a good steward to control finances in a healthy, responsible, rational way. Some healthy financial attitudes are;

Accountable, Charitable, Open handed, Good Steward, Philanthropist, Saver, Giver.

Scripture tells us that a person’s relationship with money is an indicator of where their heart is.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21 KJV, Luke 12:34 KJV

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. Matthew 12:35 KJV, Luke 6:45 KJV

A person’s relationship with their money might be a good indicator of how they relate to life in general. How a person treats their money might be the same way they treat their time, other belongings, things they might borrow, perhaps even their friends.

Are you allowing your emotions to dictate your response and relationship with money? Are you in charge of your finances? Are there areas that you’d like to have better control over? Identify the behavior that you wish to change, pray for strength and guidance, and then take control of your responses and your actions.

During October, Stewardship month, I challenge each of us to examine our own relationship with our ‘good treasure’. Could we be allowing our emotions to dictate our response and relationship with money? Are the areas of spending, saving, and giving in healthy proportion? Let’s take a close look at our position as director, controller and manager for each of our stewardship decisions.

Once you have made a decision to behave a certain way you need only to exercise that behavior. Do what you’ve set your mind to do. After the first experience in walking in this new path I assure you the Lord will bless you in ways you can only imagine. I’m not saying that making the right financial decision will always be easy.  As with any new behavior it may take a little time to get it consistently right. But you have the power in the promise of the Lord that once He has begun a good work in you He will be faithful to complete it!

May God continue to richly bless you as we turn to Him for insight and guidance.

Carol Dillard

Stewardship Ministries Director

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