Feature Article of Wed, 13 Sep 20171
Resource management for Christians
First of all let us understand what is resource? Resource is more than money. It means employment and job choices, spending, saving and investing money, career, professional and educational goals, future dreams and even family planning. Resource management simply means how we manage the above as a couple or as an individual.
Another word for resource management is stewardship. A steward is one who manages the assets and affairs of another person. Although not the owner of those assets, a steward generally has authority in managing them on behalf of the owner. Successful stewards bring growth and increase of the assets under their charge, leading frequently to their being entrusted with even more assets and greater responsibility.
In the Bible Joseph was a very extraordinary steward. Genesis chapter 37-50 tells us how Joseph was sold into slavery by his treacherous brothers, yet rose to become the prime minister of all Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh. Please find time and read those chapters.
Joseph prospered as a steward because he was faithful to his God and because he was faithful to his management of the resources entrusted to him. Recognising that God was the true owner of all things, Joseph took great care to discharge his responsibilities in an honourable manner.
You may ask what does all this have to do with success and longevity in marriage? Simply this: good stewardship is a solid biblical principle for growth, prosperity and happiness. Too many individuals and married couples struggle financially and in other areas because they have an inadequate understanding of the truth that, as creator, God is the owner of all things and that they are merely stewards and responsible to Him for how they manage the resources He places in their charge.
Two important financial principles
Tithing Budgeting All believers who want to be good stewards must understand and practice the above two principles. Tithing recognises God as the source of our resources while budgeting recognises our responsibility to God to manage those resources wisely.
Do not think of the money you earn as “your” income. Now you remove 10% of “your” money and give it to the church out of a sense of duty. This is not what God wants. Tithing should be a freely giving offering of “first fruit” in recognition that God is the creator and true owner of everything that we have. It reminds us not to hold on to our possessions too tightly because we are merely stewards, not owners. It helps us to keep our priorities in proper perspective, so that we do not make the mistake of allowing our possessions and pursuit of prosperity to supersede our relationship with the Lord as first place in our lives. Indeed, tithing reminds us that God is the source and giver of our prosperity. Deuteronomy 8:18a says: “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
Tithing is an expression of seed faith that operates on the principle of blessings and returns. It demonstrates our trust in God’s ability and promises to meet our needs day by day. For married couples who desire God’s blessings and prosperity in their lives and daily influence, a commitment to tithing is indispensable. It works equally in the lives of single individuals also. God has made this promise clear, “bring the whole tithe into the store house, 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 you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10). This principle is applicable at every level in individuals, couples, families and churches.
God desires that we give freely from a joyful heart rather than out of a sense of obligation, acknowledging Him as a source of our blessing. Paul says to the believers in the city of Corinth (2 Corinthians 9:7) “each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not to reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
God’s program of prosperity does not operate on the world’s principles. As long as we act as if we own our resources, we will tend to be very possessive of them, and unwilling to release them for Gods use. This will shut us off from His greater blessings, both the blessing of being used for His purpose and the blessing of being entrusted with greater resources. If as stewards we hold lightly to them, however, we can release them for the Lord’s use as He needs and by proving ourselves faithful with a little, He will entrust us with much.
Tithing should be one major facet of a couple’s overall financial plan. Next, every household should operate on a budget, or a financial plan. Budgeting is basic principle of resource management. A household budget should be no more complex than needed to manage the family’s resources effectively. Depending on a couple’s circumstances, a simple ledger to keep track of income and expenses may be all that is necessary.
The complexity of the family budget also will depend on the dreams and plans of the couple. Do you want to buy a house?, if so , you will need to initiate a clear plan for saving money regularly, as well as being very careful with your credit and with managing debt. Do you need to invest? These plans needs to be specifically in your budget or financial plan and you need to agree together as to how you are going to pursue your goals.
Don’t neglect to budget “fun” money. Leisure and recreation are important for overall physical, mental and emotional health and they should be provided for in the budget. These do not have to be expensive. Every partner should have a regular “allowance” of money to spend entirely on their own. A budget represents good management and an honest effort at wise stewardship. God honours both.