It may seem strange to think of how we manage our money as part of our spiritual walk with Christ, but Jesus was careful to warn his disciples to pay attention to their relationship to money. Jesus told his friends the truth: either money controls you or you control your money. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24. Does money control you? Or, do you control your money? As followers of Jesus, we recognize that our money, along with everything we own, is a gift from God. As Creator, everything belongs to God. What we own is indistinguishable from what we have been given.
The middle of the calendar year is a good time to check the “control” meter on our relationship with money. Is our money managing us or do we manage our money? Do we recognize the things we use our money for as a gift from God? Are there better ways we can use our money that would help us establish wider control and increase our financial generosity? If you feel “out of control” in your relationship to money, then it can be difficult to give to the church in a way that is joyful. Here are some practical questions for reflection and follow-up that can help us continue to give to the ministry and mission of our church as joyful stewards.
1. Assess your financial anxiety level? On a scale of 1-10, how much of your personal anxiety in life would you attribute to money or finances? Consider steps you can take to lower your financial anxiety level.
2. Assess your giving patterns before you assess amounts. Regular giving can be a rewarding spiritual practice. If you are not giving as a regular spiritual practice, it is okay to start small. If you give as a regular practice, it will be easier to include giving as a consistent part of your overall financial planning.
3. Evaluate your percentage of giving. Do you tithe (10%) or give some other overall percentage of your income?
4. What is competing for “control” over your ability to tithe or give a regular percentage of income?
Looking to God as our Creator and Sustainer, may God continue to bless us as we give our money, time, and talents for the sake of God’s mission at Smoke Rise Baptist Church.