As a believer, we all understand that God owns it all, that we are just the temporary managers of God’s assets. It is very common for us to meet Christians who think that the majority of what God has to say on the topic of money is to give some of it to the church (i.e. tithing). They are often surprised to find that the Word of God has much more to say on the topic of money and finance. In fact, all throughout the Bible, God is teaching us how to trust Him with our resources.
In this episode, we are going to introduce how we think, handle, and advise Christians on stewardship and prioritization.
In Haggai Chapter 1, verses 1-15 we see the nation of Israel return to their land along with their charge and challenge by God to rebuild the temple. This Biblical account lays the context of proper Biblical stewardship!
In the second year of Darius the king, …. the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
- Israel’s primary responsibility was to rebuild the Temple.
- Israel loses focus.
- Israel had many excuses.
- What was the reality of Israel’s situation?
Cost of Misplaced Priorities
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.
- The real cause of Israel’s struggles? Was it their excuses? God was getting the attention of Israel! He caused/permitted the Israelites to experience hardship to get their attention.
- “Consider your ways.”
- Sometimes, God uses difficulty and struggle to get our attention.
Hope for Those with Misplaced Priorities
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.
Israel’s Reactions / Responses:
- They feared the Lord – We must recognize who He is and who we are compared to Him.
- They obeyed the Lord – Israel changed their behavior. They fear of the Lord.
God’s Response – “I AM WITH YOU!”
Result of Repentance – God enables you to do that which He called you to do.
Theological / Financial Connection:
- Our priorities are revealed in our spending habits.
- Sometimes financial difficulties are God’s way of getting our attention.
- God enables us to do that which He calls us to do
- Evaluate your priorities in life to see if they do not line up with what God has laid out in Scripture.
- Because God loves us, He will not let us continue to live with the consequences of misplaced priorities.
- There is hope for those with misplaced priorities!
- Consider your ways.
- Repent of your financial shortcomings, if needed.
- Obey the principles of biblical stewardship.
- Remember God’s PROMISE that HE will be with you IN and THROUGH this journey of moving toward biblical stewardship!
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