When we initially launched the Cornerstone Portfolios, we wanted to help those who serve God reflect that in their finances – starting with their investment decisions. Each month with these blogs, we want to help people continue learning and applying Biblical principles to investing and finances. Now that we've covered all the Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) mandates, we're going to be learning how to cultivate an appropriate attitude towards finances and wealth in order to glorify God. Some key principles are described throughout the Bible which inform His people about how to approach financial decisions. Those decisions can impact our relationship with Him and with those around us.
Before we jump into the more specific concepts, let's first set the foundation:
If we have decided to follow God with our life, we have a responsibility to glorify God in ALL areas of our life (see 1 Corinthians 10:31).
What is the purpose of money/riches/wealth? There are three things you can do with money: give, plan, save (you can remember this by GPS).
Learning to do each of these well will help you glorify God in your finances. Our attitude towards our belongings (money, etc.) and the Lord are foundational, which is why we're going to spend this month discussing our attitude before jumping into more of the specific financial terms.
"You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." - Deuteronomy 8:18
Based on the above verse, we should have a shift in our perspective if we are Christians:
- Although God sustains us, we must still work hard.
- We must never lose sight of Him. [This tends to happen when things in your life are going really well. For example, if you get a promotion at work with a large raise. You need to remember that God is the reason for your wealth.]
- We must have a heart of intense gratitude towards God.
It's not bad to have wealth or "stuff"; however, we do have to be cautious of our heart. Having "stuff" can mess with our contentment and priorities. We can easily fall into the snare of wanting more and more stuff – leading to a lack of contentment and poor priorities.
Generosity can help us combat attacks against contentment and shuffling our priorities. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 is a good reminder for us if we're struggling to have the right perspective towards our stuff:
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."
More on contentment:
The chief component of attitude is contentment. Philippians 4:11-13 illustrates this well:
"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
The last verse is often misused and taken out of context. This verse is really referring to contentment because the Lord provides the needed strength for whatever situation you're in. Paul was content because he set his mind on Christ.
More on priorities:
"Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be."
Matthew 6:19-21 is a great summary of where our priorities should lie. If you struggle with putting too much of your focus on stuff, the antidote is having a generous heart.
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." -Proverbs 11:24
I want to wrap up this blog on attitude with a couple questions for you to reflect on throughout the month.
In a world that focuses on getting more money and stuff, let's work on being generous and content with our lives!