Biblical Finance 101: Stewardship Do's and Don'ts 1

I remember certain childhood experiences where my mother told me not to do something because of the potential negative consequences. For example, "Don't touch that pot on the stove because it's hot." Well, guess what? I touched it anyway because I didn't understand the consequences of my mom's statement. In many respects, Christians still act the same way when it comes to financial dealings. Scripture says not to do something and guess what. Someone finds a way of doing it anyway, despite the warnings, and face the consequences. This next series will address some of the Do's and Don'ts of Stewardship.

I believe one of the most financially troublesome things that Christians do is to finance depreciating assets. Even though it is a commonly accepted practice, there is no logic in scripture that validates this tool, and it has become a thorn in the side for many. A general rule of thumb is that if adverse conditions forced one to dispose of the asset, would the value received pay off the balance owed. If not, then one of two things should take place. First, the asset should not be purchased with debt. Second, other financial resources should always be available to offset the outstanding debt. Anything less subjects one to financial bondage. Otherwise, one may be left with an outstanding debt and no asset.

Considering the unpredictable nature of the world around us, practically anything (e.g. layoff, relocation, sickness, accident, etc.) could disrupt the delicate financial structure of any family at any time. Just because an asset may cost a lot of money does not mean you automatically go to the bank and get a loan. That quick assumption may lead one immediately out of God's will and provision. The bigger the purchase, the more time one should consider before a decision is made. As always, bathe everything in sincere prayer.

Gary Ellis, MBA, CFP
Association Stewardship Director