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When is Enough Enough?

 
“Who is rich?  He that is contented.  Who is that? Nobody.”  Benjamin Franklin.
 
Although wanting more than what we have is not a bad thing, it can lead us to being discontented no matter what we acquire.  In the 2006 article “When is Enough Enough?” in the magazine Giving, Shane Stanford discusses six Biblical principles in handling personal finances.  Over the six weeks of our fall pledge campaign "Growing in Grace" we will focus on one a week.
 
The first is “The Principle of Enough” found in Hebrews 13:5.  “Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have.”  Stanford asks “What happens when consuming becomes our God?  The writer of Hebrews encourages us to be satisfied with the indispensable promise of God’s faithfulness.  Regardless of the ebb and flow of the world’s gifts, God’s gift will never rust, fade or slip away.
 

Proper Perspective

The second of six Biblical principles on personal finance is “The Principle of Proper Perspective.”  Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon”.
 
“Such clear distinction between the things of this world and the things of God gives us the opportunity for clarity in our decisions," maintains Shane Stanford.  "What seems like a stark, declarative statement actually provides a clear point of reference by which we can understand God’s plan for our lives.”
 

Good Steward

The third of six biblical principles on personal finance is “The Principle of the Good Steward” found in Matthew 19:16-22.  In verse 21, Jesus says to the rich man “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven and come and follow me.”
 
“In a world where ‘good’ is defined in terms of the accumulation of material possessions, Jesus counters that ‘good’ is a matter of care and stewardship, even to the point of giving away that which we treasure.  Most financial problems come when the things we possess in reality possess us,” says Shane Stanford.  “Part of being a good steward involves understanding the temporary nature of all the material goods we possess.”
 

Dishonest Manager

The fourth of six biblical principles on personal finance is “The Principle of the Dishonest Manager” found in Luke 16:1-18.  In verse 10, Jesus says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least, is unjust also in much.  Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”
 
“Clearly, Jesus is not endorsing the manager’s dishonest practices” states Shane Stanford.  “Rather, he is teaching us that, like the manager, we are called to be shrewd managers of the resources that God gives us.  The parable might be paraphrased, ‘If only we were as wise and shrewd in achieving eternal things as those who are intent on possessing dishonest things.’  Only when we spend as much time and effort preparing our lives and resources for kingdom good, as we do for pleasure, will we experience a true measure of God’s enormous potential in both our earthly and our eternal lives.”
 

Widow's Mite

The fifth of six Biblical Principles on personal finance is “The Principle of the Widow’s Mite” found in Mark 12:41-44. In verse 43, Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

“What does it means to give out of poverty?” asks Shane Stanford. “Jesus understands that trusting God is much easier in our times of abundance than our times of need. However, some of life’s greatest lessons are learned from our commitment and response as we experience times of hardship and sacrifice.”

Faithful Giver

The last principle is the Faithful Giver” found in 1 Timothy 6:17-18 that tells us to avoid arrogance or trusting in uncertain riches but to trust in the living God, who gives us all to enjoy, to do good, to be rich in good works and to give.

“Paul’s command highlights the nature of why we give – because God expects us to do so,” maintains Shane Stanford. “Our resources serve as another opportunity to be a part of the work of God in this world and to do things in God’s name. We do not share our resources for pride or personal gain but because God covets the whole of our lives, including our earthly possessions, to be offered in God’s service.”

Conclusion

These six principles of finance provide a framework for stewarding our resources for significance in the kingdom of God. Stanford states, “Jesus taught that our resources give us opportunities to live faithfully before God and one another. Money, for Jesus, was another tool for doing great good in the world. To this end, Scripture gives us principles that we can shape our financial future into nothing less than a spiritual gift.”

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