By Terry Frisk
Happy new year! Greeting the new year is a good time to examine our priorities and set goals on how we can better serve the Lord. In his sermon titled “The Use of Money,” the 18th century theologian John Wesley suggested, “Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” This advice is as true today as it was then. Let’s examine how each of these three simple actions works together to serve God with our finances.
Earn all you can – Throughout the Bible, we are warned about the dangers of pursuing wealth. However, we serve God through our labor. God gives each of us unique talents. We, in turn, must utilize these talents to serve Him. In the Parable of the Three Servants, Jesus said: “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” – Matthew 25:29
What Jesus was imparting is to utilize your blessings to achieve even greater blessings. Apply the skills and talents you have been blessed with in your work to achieve greater levels of success. Share your blessings with others and you will be rewarded as they share their blessings with you. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Save all you can – Again, we are warned against building up treasures on earth, but build up treasures for yourself in Heaven (Matthew 9:19-20). In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus states whoever stores up things for themselves is not rich toward God. There is a distinction between amassing wealth for our own purposes and having a reserve fund to smooth out our financial ups and downs. Consider Proverbs 6:6-8: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and its food at harvest.”
Saving money allows us to be prepared for the future. Without a reserve fund, unanticipated expenses may require going into debt to cover the cost. Being prepared demonstrates good stewardship of the resources God has given us.
Give all you can – Giving back to God should be the highest priority. Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with the first fruits of all our produce. While it may seem odd that this was the last item in John Wesley’s sermon, I believe he was conveying that we can better honor God with our giving if we maximize our earnings and provide a reserve fund for unexpected needs. This is summed up in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Entering the new year is a good time to reevaluate our priorities and set goals for the upcoming year. Prayerfully consider how you can honor God by earning all you can, saving all you can and giving all you can. Take care and may God bless you in the upcoming year.
Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may be contacted through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.