Archives For money

Why preach on money?

Lisa Misner —  April 29, 2019

By Nate Adams

A pastor friend of mine recently told his congregation that he has preached on money, either an individual message or an entire series, at least once a year throughout his 30 years of ministry. When asked if he could tell whether it made a difference in giving to the church or not, he had to admit he didn’t really know. After all, that’s not why he did it.

Why does this pastor, and why do many effective pastors, speak regularly on the subject of money? Because money, and the effect it can have on people, is one of the most prominent subjects in the Bible, and one of the most important topics a true disciple of Jesus must consider.

Jesus talked more about stewardship, or the management of resources that God entrusts to us, more than heaven, or hell, or faith, or prayer, or a lot of other things. Over half of Jesus’ parables are about stewardship, and one out of every six verses in the Gospels has to do with stewardship.

Understanding stewardship is one of the keys to understanding the Christian life. If we don’t understand that God owns everything, that we are uniquely created in God’s image to be stewards of his creation, and that how we manage the resources God entrusts to us personally is a test of our faith in him, we will allow those very resources to tempt us into selfishness and even self-destruction. Money and possessions can quickly become the focus and goal of our lives. In fact, as the Bible says, the love of money is the root of all evil.

Generosity is the antidote to materialism.

No wonder The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) speaks so clearly to the biblical doctrine of stewardship in its Article 13:

“God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.”

When our boys were young, my wife, Beth, always gave them their weekly allowance on Sunday mornings, along with their church offering envelope. She made sure to give them dollar bills and some loose change, making it easier to calculate a tithe of 10%. As our own parents modeled for us, tithing is best taught at an early age.

One Sunday morning we noticed our youngest son, Ethan, placing all five dollars of his allowance in his offering envelope. “Son, you don’t need to give your entire allowance to the offering,” his mom assured him.

Ethan smiled and said, “I know. But you and Dad always give me everything I need. So this week I thought I’d just give it all.”

Generosity is the antidote to materialism. I think that’s why my pastor friend, and many effective pastors, choose to preach about money regularly. Some people will misunderstand and feel those pastors are simply seeking more money for the church. But avoiding sermons on money for fear of that perception would be a disservice to the congregation. Disciples that are growing to be more and more like Jesus are learning to loosen their grip on money, and thereby money’s grip on them. They are finding in generosity the true freedom from materialism that God desires for his people.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at

How a biblical proverb can help us manage modern money

COMMENTARY | Doug Morrow

Doug_Morrow_blog_calloutI’ve been working on a project since mid-November. Once a week (okay, once every two weeks), I write an extended devotional or comment based on a chapter of Proverbs and have been addressing it to my children. Proverbs represents some of the most amazing “counsel” ever written, and much is written as from a parent to a child. I’ve been trying to amplify the Proverbs into my own paternal voice for the benefit of Reed, Lauren and Claire.

It was in this process that I discovered a nugget that describes what I believe in so passionately, and the mission of the Baptist Foundation of Illinois:

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce,” reads Proverbs 3:9, “then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

King Solomon’s words can be difficult to translate to our time and culture. “First fruits” has a different meaning in an America so replete with cheap food that we’re far more likely to queue up at the McDonald’s drive-thru than pray for rain for the wheat crop. Few of us have barns, and ever since municipal water projects, there are even fewer with “vats bursting with wine.” So, what could the Spirit say to us through these words to those living in the wealthiest nation in our planet’s history? “Honor the Lord with our wealth?”

In truth, most of the assets we steward for the Lord aren’t in our income (technically our “first fruits”), or emergency cash. Over time, most people collect “wealth” in things like real estate (67% of Illinoisans own their home), IRA or other retirement assets (often acquired ‘pre-tax’), life insurance, or other “stuff” we collect over our lifetimes.

I think the way we honor the Lord with this wealth, along with our first fruits, is amazingly simple and can be found in the text itself. The pattern we apply to our wealth should be consistent with the pattern we establish with our “first fruits!”

Do we take care of our needs such as food, shelter and clothing with our first fruits?

Do we use those fruits to care for our children and dependents?

What about supporting the work of God’s church?

Absolutely, on all three counts. And because we do those things with our first fruits, we should do so with our wealth.

How does all of this come together in a way that accomplishes this God-honoring stewardship plan? Well, since most of our “wealth” is not accessed until our death, it’s important to put together a Christian Estate Plan now. Such a plan accomplishes the “pattern” that God has called us to live out in our lives—taking care of our own needs, caring for children and dependents, and investing in the work of God’s church.

These are the elements I commonly refer to as the “big four” parts of a Christian Estate Plan:

• A will and possibly a living trust
• A financial (durable) power of attorney (when not using a living trust)
• A health care power of attorney
• Careful attention to titling, beneficiary designations, or transfer on death devices on retirement assets, life insurance, financial accounts or other assets, since any asset designated in this way bypasses the will and the probate process

The Baptist Foundation has actually made the process simpler than you might imagine—and much less expensive than you might fear. A great place to start is with the Life Stewardship Navigator, a free download from BFI provides complimentary and confidential help in putting together a plan that enables you to provide for your family and support Christian causes in exactly the manner you wish to support.

Over the next few months, I’ll keep working on the Proverbs chapters (my wife wants me to arrive at chapter 31 in time for Mother’s Day). In the meantime, it’s important that we begin this year with the counsel that all we are, hope to be, or ever will steward belongs to our God. May we carefully honor Him in everything.

Doug Morrow is executive director of the Baptist Foundation of Illinois.