Faithful Stewardship Amidst Economic Uncertainty
If you visited a grocery store in the past few weeks, you probably felt a sense of panic among the people as you walked the aisles. I admit, when I walked into Aldi and saw a vacant bread aisle, my heart was tempted to fear what the future might hold.
If you turn on the news for even a minute, you can quickly gauge the world’s temperature as it fights COVID-19. But brothers and sisters, even in the midst of a pandemic, you and I are meant to be different. As believers, our lives are meant to be living testimonies of the One we serve! As Lead Pastor of College Park Church, Mark Vroegop, would say: believers are to have the “aroma of Christ.”
One huge aspect of life that should set us apart from the world is our financial stewardship. Thus, here are five faithful financial stewardship practices that you and I can live out through this uncertain season:
First and foremost, remember that God owns everything. The very first step in living out faithful stewardship is daily reminding ourselves that the resources in “our” possession are not ours, they’re God’s. Nothing in this life belongs to us, it is all God’s. Be faithful in what God entrusts to you during this season, whether it is more or less than prior seasons (Psalm 24:1).
As believers, we are called to give to God the firstfruits of what he entrusts to us. Proverbs 3:9-10 commands: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Scripture commands us to give regardless of the season, and in times of both surplus and scarcity. So, let’s give in faithful obedience to God’s ownership, and to further the Lord’s work!
First, if you are not using a budget, now is the time to start. A budget is the first step in any financial plan (check out the free version of Ramsey Solution’s: everydollar). Once you set your budget, analyze your monthly expenses and determine which expenses are actual needs and which can forgo for a season. Your financial priorities should always be the four walls: food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. During times of economic uncertainty like the present, I encourage you to focus on the necessities and cut out the luxuries like eating out, buying pricier groceries, purchasing new clothes, and subscribing to expensive cable packages. Your focus should be solely on necessities, so cut out everything else (Prov. 21:20).
TIP: If you are a dual income family, try living on one paycheck and storing the other.
4. Save (Build an Emergency Fund)
If you do not already have one, I highly recommend building an emergency fund with three to six months of your household expenses (note: that’s three to six months of expenses, not salary). Some of you might be thinking, “But Evan, it’s too late, the emergency’s already here.” It’s never too late to begin saving for an emergency! It may not be as easy now to save money, but analyze your budget (or make one for the first time), identify which expenses are needed and which are not, and store the extra in savings. Struggling to understand or implement this practice? I recommend reviewing the biblical example we see in Genesis 41:34-36 in the life of Joseph.
Finally, live out of a love of God and love of others (Matt 22:34-40). What does this look like? Well, we love God financially by living out the truth that God owns everything. We love him financially by honoring him with our financial decisions and by giving faithfully to the work of his Church in all seasons. Additionally, we love people financially by not hoarding resources (including toilet paper), by buying only what we need, and using our resources to care for those around us.
As my Grandma Emmalou has faithfully reminded me: “Come out… and be ye separate” (1 Cor. 6:17 KJV). In other words: as followers of the most high God, we are called to be different from the world in all aspects of life, including our financial stewardship! Faithful financial stewards: remember who is in control, give faithfully, reduce spending, save for emergencies, and live with love for God and love for others.
If we practice these stewardship principals, our presence in the grocery store will absolutely be different in this uncertain season.