“Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength.”
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (TLB)
1. Memorize: 1 Chronicles 29:11-12. “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength” (TLB).
Use the Quizlet memory verse tool.
2. Complete the Homework.
Overview. In this chapter, participants will discover God’s role and our responsibilities in financial matters.
Agenda for first class
1. (5 minutes) Open in prayer.
2. (5 minutes) Recite 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 from memory.
3. (85 minutes) Conduct the homework discussion.
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (NIV).
Read Hebrews 4:12. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
1. What do these verses say to you about the Bible? How do you think the Scriptures might help you make wise decisions in your finances and life?
[Inspired by God Himself, the Bible isn’t just wise or “inspirational,” it is alive. It equips each of us in unique ways to please the Lord in every area of our lives.]
2. Describe what you have used from the Bible that has been most beneficial to you and to your finances.
Read Isaiah 55:8-9. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (NIV).
3. Based on this passage, how do you think God’s principles differ from the way most people live life and handle money? Why do you think God’s ways are better than our ways?
[God’s economy operates with an entirely different frame of reference. The biggest difference is that most people don’t believe the Lord plays a role in their finances, but the Bible reveals He has the dominant role.]
Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-12. “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength” (TLB).
Read Psalm 24:1. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (NIV).
1. What do these passages reveal about the ownership of your possessions?
[God owns everything. We own nothing.]
2. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being always), how often do you actually think about God as the true Owner of your possessions? If you score low, what might help you improve?
Read Leviticus 25:23. “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”
Read Haggai 2:8. “’The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
Read Psalm 50:10-12. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills . . . everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.”
3. What are some specific things God owns?
[God owns all the land.]
[God owns all the gold and silver.]
[God owns all living things.]
4. Why do you think the Lord declared His ownership over these particular things?
[God identified these items because unlike today’s paper currency and digital economy, they were the primary assets when the Bible was written.]
Read Deuteronomy 8:16-18. “He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you, so that in the end it might go well with you. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (NIV).
Read Psalm 75:6-7. “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God” (TLB).
Read Genesis 39:2-3. “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man . . . 3his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.”
Read Isaiah 48:17. “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.’”
Read Exodus 36:1. “And every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work.”
1. In each of these passages, what role does God play in success, wealth creation, and our skills?
[God gives us the ability to make wealth.]
[God controls our promotions.]
[God made Joseph successful.]
[God teaches us to make a profit.]
[God gives us our skills and wisdom.]
2. Why do you think the Lord revealed this to us?
3. As you carefully reflect on God’s role in any success you have experienced and in the creation of your wealth, how does this influence your perspective?
Facilitator, you should have approximately one hour of class time remaining.
Read 1 Corinthians 4:2. “Moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful” (NKJV).
1. How would you define a steward? According to this verse, what is your requirement as a steward?
[A steward is the manager of someone else’s property. We are required to faithfully manage the resources entrusted to us, doing it God’s way.]
Read Luke 16:1-2. “Now [Jesus] was saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’”
2. Why did the master remove the steward from his position? How does that apply to you?
[The steward lost his position because he became careless with his master’s possessions. If we squander the possessions the Lord has entrusted to us, we may face serious losses as well.]
Read Luke 16:10. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”
3. Describe the principle found in this verse.
[If a person is unfaithful in a small matter, he or she will be unfaithful with much. The reverse is also true. It is important to be faithful in small matters.]
4. Think through your current circumstances. How might this apply to where you are in life right now?
1. When you think of your own possessions and resources, what are your greatest struggles?
2. Describe some of the blessings you have experienced and the opportunities afforded to you because of your resources.
3. What would you like to see happen in your life as a result of participating in this study?
4. What were the most encouraging and most challenging parts of his story for you? Why?
1. (10 minutes) Note in the Prayer Logs requests and answers to prayer.
2. (5 minutes) End in prayer.
STARTING WELL NOTES
For most people, making financial decisions can be compared to driving a car. Their cash and credit limitations serve as clearly defined boundaries. The budget and checkbook balance are like traffic lights for spending – red for stop, green for go, and yellow for caution.
However, for those with significant resources, the boundaries are not so clearly defined. Making financial decisions for these people might be better likened to navigating a ship on the open seas in the 1800s. In those days, there were no GPS systems to follow, directional markers to show you the right way to go, or signs to warn of dangers ahead. The captain had to learn how to navigate using a compass, a sextant, and a timepiece. A telescope would help him see lighthouses warning of danger.
With fewer financial limitations to serve as boundaries, those who have wealth face unusual challenges and opportunities. Fortunately, the Bible provides us with specific instructions, principles, and even warnings intended to help those entrusted with much as they navigate an ocean of seemingly unlimited choices.
God wants the best for you.
It’s important to understand that the biblical truths and cautions addressed to the affluent are intended for your good. God loves you with an unfathomable love. John 15:9 says, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you.” Imagine the depth of love God the Father has for God the Son. In the same way, He loves you! And just as a loving earthly father desires a close relationship with his children, so our heavenly Father hungers for such a relationship with each of us. God knows very well that wealth can present a potential barrier to this intimate relationship with Him.
God’s economy and the way most people view money are in sharp contrast. This should not surprise us. Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” God’s ways are not only different, they are so much better than our practices! The most significant difference is that in God’s economy, the living Lord plays the dominant role. He is central. As elementary as it appears, this distinction has profound implications.
Because God has chosen to be invisible and to operate in the unseen supernatural realm, most people view financial decisions based on the Bible as an illogical leap of faith.
You might be surprised to learn just how much the Bible says about money. More than 2,350 verses relate to handling money and possessions, including fifteen percent of everything Jesus said! There are three primary reasons the Lord said so much about this.
How we handle our money influences our fellowship with the Lord.
This is huge. Jesus equates how we handle our money with the quality of our spiritual lives. In Luke 16:11, He says, “If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of worldly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”. If we handle our money properly according to the principles of Scripture, our fellowship with Christ will grow closer. If we prove unfaithful, however, our fellowship with Him will suffer.
We see this clearly illustrated in the parable of the talents. The master commends the servant who had managed money faithfully: “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, emphasis added). As we handle money God’s way, we have the opportunity to enter into the joy of a more intimate relationship with our Lord.
Someone once told me that the Lord will sometimes allow a person to teach a particular subject because the teacher so desperately needs the content! That was certainly true for me. I’ve never met anyone who had more wrong attitudes toward money or who handled money more contrarily to the principles of Scripture than I was. But when I began to apply these timeless biblical truths, I experienced a dramatic improvement in my fellowship with the Lord. Each of these principles is intended to draw us closer to Christ.
Possessions compete with the Lord for mastery of our lives.
Imagine for a moment that you have never read the Bible, and you are asked to fill in this blank space: “You cannot serve God and ____________.” What word would you choose? Why?
It surprises many to learn that money is a primary competitor with Christ for the lordship of our lives. In fact, Jesus Himself tells us we must choose to serve only one of these two masters. “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Luke 16:13, NIV).
In the next verse, we are warned that many will reject this message. “The Pharisees [religious leaders], who loved money, heard all these this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:4, NIV).
God realizes that it is impossible for us to serve money – even in a small way – and still serve Him. When the Crusades were being fought during the twelfth century, the Crusaders purchased the services of mercenaries to fight on their behalf. Because it was a religious war, the Crusaders insisted that the mercenaries be baptized before fighting. As they were being baptized, the mercenaries would take their swords and hold them out of the water to symbolize that Jesus Christ was not in control of their swords. They wanted to retain the freedom to use their swords in any way they wished.
Though many people today may not be as blatant about it as were the mercenaries, they often handle their money in a similar fashion. Some Christians hold a wallet, purse, or stock portfolio “out of the water”. In effect, these people are saying, “God, You may be the Lord of my entire life, except in the area of money – I am perfectly capable of handling that myself.” Martin Luther recognized this struggle when he said, “There are three conversions: the conversion of the heart, of the mind and of the pocketbook.”
Much of life revolves around the use of money.
The Lord talked so much about money because he knew that much of our lives would revolve around its use. During your normal week, how much time do you spend earning money in your job, making decisions on how to spend money, thinking about where to invest money, or praying about your giving? Fortunately, God has adequately prepared us by giving us the Bible as His blueprint for living.
Division of Responsibilities
When it comes to the responsibility of handling money, the Bible shows us a clear division. Simply put, God has a part, and we have a part. God has retained certain responsibilities and has delegated others to us. Most of the frustration we experience in handling money is because we don’t realize which responsibilities are ours and which are His.
When the captain of an 1800's sailing vessel found himself in the open sea with no view of land, he depended on determining due north to keep his bearing and reach his destination. At night he would locate the North Star and use it to maintain his course.
For the wealthy faced with the challenges of handling money and assets biblically in an “ocean of choices without boundaries,” their North Star is understanding God's Part. If you miss this North Star, then every other financial decision you make is correspondingly skewed.
In the Bible, God calls Himself by more than 250 names. The name that best describes God’s part in the area of money is Lord.
For example, after losing his ten children and all his wealth – in a single day! – Job continued to worship God, saying, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Even in his grief, he understood God’s role as Lord of his possessions. Moses walked away from the treasures of Egypt, choosing instead to suffer with God’s people, because he accepted God’s role as Lord of all. There are several facets to God’s role.
The Lord is the Creator of everything. “For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things have been created through Him and for Him. . . . and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16). The Lord not only created everything, but He holds everything together. And by the way, He has never transferred the ownership of His creation to people.
Whether you realize it or not, the Lord owns all your possessions. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1, NIV, emphasis added). “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord . . .” (1 Chronicles 29:11, TLB). How much do you own? NOTHING! ZERO!
Scripture even reveals specific items He owns.
- God owns all the land. “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me” (Leviticus 25:23).
- God owns all the silver and gold. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” declares the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:8).
- God owns all the animals. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. . . . everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains” (Psalm 50-12).
If we’re going to be genuine followers of Christ, we must transfer ownership of our possessions to the Lord. “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33). We must give up all claim to the ownership of all we have.Sometimes the Lord will test us by asking that we be willing to relinquish the very thing most precious to us.
The most vivid example of this in the Bible is when the Lord asked Abraham to “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac . . . and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). When Abraham obeyed, demonstrating his willingness to give up his dear son, God responded, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad . . . for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12).
When we acknowledge God’s ownership, every spending decision becomes a
spiritual decision. Instead of asking, “Lord, what do You want me to do
with my money?” the question becomes, “Lord, what do You want me to do with Your
money?” When we have this perspective and handle His money according to
His wishes, spending and investing decisions are equally as spiritual
as giving decisions.
As we will see throughout this study,
recognizing God’s ownership is key to allowing Jesus Christ to become
the Lord of our money and possessions.
Nobody said it would be easy! Consistently recognizing God’s ownership is difficult. It’s way too easy to fall into the trap of making an intellectual assent to God’s ownership without letting that truth filter down into the nitty-gritty of daily life -- especially because our culture suggests an opposing view. Everything around us – the media, even the law – says that what you possess, you and you alone own. Genuinely acknowledging God’s ownership requires nothing less than a total change of perception.
To help you recognize God’s ownership, meditate on this passage for the next thirty days when you first awake and just before going to sleep.
“Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength” -(1 Chronicles 29:11-12, TLB).
2. Success and Wealth
How many times have we heard stories of individuals pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and becoming proud, self-made men or women of achievement? It’s certainly true that the creation of wealth usually requires great personal effort, but Scripture reveals that God plays the most important role. Consider this:
God Gives Us the Ability to Make Wealth. “He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you, so that in the end it might go well with you. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:16-18, NIV, emphasis added).
God Controls Our Promotion. Psalm 75:6-7 reads, “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God” (TLB). As much as it may surprise people, their boss is not the one who controls whether they will be promoted. It is the Lord alone who promotes.
God Gives Us Our Success. The life of Joseph is a perfect example of God working behind the scene to accomplish His purpose by elevating a person. “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. . . . his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3).
God teaches us to profit. “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go’” (Isaiah 48:17).
God Gives Us Our Skills. Exodus 36:1 illustrates this truth: “And every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work.” God has given each of us unique skills. People have widely varied abilities, manual skills, intellectual capacities, and sometimes hidden reservoirs of giftedness. It’s not a matter of one person being better than another; it is simply a matter of having received different abilities.
The true story of God’s role in creating an individual’s wealth stands in stark contrast to the assumptions of our culture. Most people believe that they alone are responsible for their job skills, success, promotions, and wealth creation.
A major contributor to wrong attitudes about money is not understanding God’s role. As devotional writer A.W. Tozer once observed, “There is nothing that twists the soul more than to think wrongly about God.”
Those with a biblical understanding, however, approach this with an entirely different frame of reference. For a few minutes, reflect on God’s role. He is the owner of everything you have ever had or ever will have. He gives you your skills, controls success and promotion, opens doors of opportunity for you, and provides you with necessary creativity and abilities.
God entrusts assets for a purpose
The Lord chooses different ways of entrusting people with significant assets: some inherit, others marry into a wealthy family, and still others develop a practice or a business or manage investments well. Regardless of how you have become wealthy, God has allowed this for a special purpose.
God has chosen to entrust you with much. Simply acknowledging this,you should not feel guilty or have a sense of condemnation for what you have been.God has given each person a particular calling in order to accomplish His plan for history. Acts 13:36 confirms this, “For David,after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep,and was laid among his fathers.”Handling your assets God’s way is a major part of His purpose for you.
This Charting Your Legacy study is designed to help you discover or better understand God’s purpose for you.
Getting to Know God
God, as He is revealed in the Bible, differs greatly from the way people commonly imagine Him. Our tendency is to shrink God down and fit Him into a mold with human abilities and limitations. We have a hard time recognizing God’s Part because we fail to understand the greatness of God, “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). How do we capture the true perspective of God? Primarily by learning what the Bible tells us about Him. The following is but a sample:
He is Lord of the universe.
Carefully review some of His names and attributes:
The Lord’s power and ability are incomprehensible. Astronomers estimate that there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe, each containing billions of stars. The distance from one end of a galaxy to the other is often measured in millions of light years. Though our sun is a relatively small star, it could contain over one million earths, and it sustains temperatures of 20 million degrees at its center. The enormity of the universe is mind boggling. “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).
He is Lord of the nations.
Examine the Lord’s role and position relative to nations and people. Isaiah 40:21-24 tells us, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? . . . It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers . . . He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither.”
From Isaiah 40:15,17 we read, “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales . . . all the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.”
He is Lord of each Individual.
God is not some aloof, disinterested, impersonal “force.” On the contrary, He is intimately involved with each of us as individuals. Psalm139:3-4,16 reveals,“You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV). The Lord is so involved in our lives that He reassures us, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). Our heavenly Father is the One who knows us the best and loves us the most.
God hung the stars in space, fashioned the earth’s towering mountains and mighty oceans, and determined the destiny of nations. Jeremiah observed correctly
When I first studied God’s Part, there was nothing that particularly surprised me. I knew all these truths – vaguely. My problem is that I do not always live as if they are true. In contemporary culture, God is thought to play no part in financial matters, and we have, in some measure, been influenced by this view.
Another reason for this difficulty is that God has chosen to be invisible. Anything that is “out of sight” tends to become “out of mind.” I get out of the habit of recognizing consistently that He is the Owner.
After learning God’s Part, some quickly jump to the conclusion that little responsibility remains for us. But this is far from being true! As we study Our Part, we will discover the Lord has entrusted us with great responsibility.
Henry Parsons Crowell was born into a wealthy family, and as a young man received a large inheritance when his father died. He could have quit work that very day, adopting a life of leisure for the rest of his days. But that’s not the option he chose. Instead, young Crowell decided to work hard, committing to give ten percent of his income to the Lord’s work.
Crowell founded the Quaker Oats Company, and he proved to be an amazingly creative marketing genius. At that time oats were sold in large barrels, often rotting before being consumed. Crowell introduced the smaller round packaging we are familiar with to this day, and determined to use only the highest quality oats. His company literally changed the way Americans ate breakfast and became remarkably successful.
In 1898, Crowell’s perspective on money and business was radically transformed by participating in a Bible study on money and possessions. Not only are we to honor Christ in our company, he thought to himself, but everything we have belongs to God – even the business.
Recognizing this changed everything! He felt as if he had been elevated from the role of just operating his business and handling his money, to the most important position possible – a person entrusted with managing God’s business and resources. For more than 40 years, he gave away over half of his earnings.
Henry Parsons Crowell had embraced the most significant truths for the follower of Christ in handling money – Ownership and Stewardship.
What is a Steward?
The word that best describes Our Part is steward. Today we would probably use the word “manager.” In the Bible, the position of steward is one of great responsibility. He is the supreme authority under the master and has full responsibility for all the master’s possessions entrusted to him.
It’s also helpful to think of being the trustee of a trust. The trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to handle the assets of the trust according to the terms and provisions of the trust. The trustee does not have unbridled freedom to manage the assets any way he or she chooses. In a similar way, God has placed certain assets into our care, and He has conveyed His wishes to us in a trust document, the Bible.
Our responsibility is to be faithful. “It is required of stewards that one be found faithful”
(1 Corinthians 4:2). Before we can be faithful, however, we must know
what we are required to do. Just as the trustee studies the trust
document to learn how to properly manage the trust assets, we need to
examine the Creator’s handbook – the Bible – to determine how He wants
us to handle His possessions. Those who are wealthy bear a particularly
heavy responsibility. There’s no getting around the Lord’s sobering
words in Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much
will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask
all the more.”
Several principles of faithfulness are important to understand.
Faithful with it all.
As followers of Christ we need to be faithful in handling all of the money entrusted to us. Christians usually have been taught how to handle only ten percent of their income – the area of giving.While this is crucial, we rarely talk about our God given responsibilities for the remaining 90 percent. Therefore, we know a lot more about the world’s perspective on money than our Lord’s perspective.
As a consequence of not being equipped to handle money biblically, many Christians develop wrong or distorted attitudes toward possessions, which leads them to make some unwise financial decisions.Hosea 4:6 tells us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Ignorance or disobedience of scriptural financial principles frequently causes suffocating materialism, fractured relationships, and even money problems.
Unfaithful not entrusted with more.
“There was a certain rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, for you can no longer be manager’” (Luke 16:2).
Two relevant principles emerge from this passage. First, wasting our possessions becomes public knowledge and creates a poor testimony. “This manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.” Second, the Lord will sometimes remove us as steward if we squander what He has given us.
In just three years a young entrepreneur earned a small fortune after founding a technology company. Then he went on an uncontrolled spending spree. Two years later he informed his staff that he had little left and everyone would need to economize. Shortly thereafter, he left for an expensive European vacation and had his office, already lavishly decorated, completely renovated.
I visited his office during his vacation and his staff was laughing over his spending habits. I left with the distinct impression that the Lord would soon remove this man from stewardship over much, and He did. If you waste the possessions entrusted to you, the Lord may not choose to give you more.
Faithful in little things.
How do you know if your son will take good care of his first car? Observe how he cared for his bicycle! How do you know if a salesperson will do a competent job of serving a large client? Evaluate how she served a small one. If we have the character to be faithful with small things, the Lord knows He can trust us with greater responsibilities. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10).
Almost every significant enterprise started out small. Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak tinkered with a personal computer in their garage. Sam Walton’s first store was a small five and dime store in Bentonville, Arkansas before he built the Wal-Mart company. As they were faithful with small things, they were given greater responsibilities. Think of the origin of your wealth. Who was faithful with small things?
Missionary pioneer Hudson Taylor said it this way, “Small things are small things, but faithfulness with a small thing is a big thing.”
Let the Adventure Begin
From God’s perspective, leaving a legacy is far more than just leaving a heritage to your family for a few generations. In this study, you’ll explore how you can leave a legacy that not only touches your family but also influences families around the globe in such a way that the impact will last forever.
Together with the others in your group, you will wrestle with issues such as:
In this study, you will be encouraged and challenged as you discover God’s perspective on money. These timeless truths will help you get a fix on your position and enable you to plot a life-course. In doing so, you will discover a greater measure of contentment, confidence that you are in God’s will, and the joy of making an eternal difference.
A Little History.
In 1974, my business partner, Jim Seneff, challenged me to join him in a study of Scripture to discover what the Lord said about handling money. We read the entire Bible and were surprised to learn just how much it says about finances. We identified 2,350 verses and categorized them according to their topics. Learning and applying these principles had a profound impact on our personal finances and business careers.
That study literally changed the course of my life.
In 1985 my wife Bev and I sold our real estate development company allowing us to become financially free. As a result, I was able to serve full-time as a volunteer, teaching what the Bible says about handling money. The Lord had me found Crown Ministries, which merged with the ministry started by Larry Burkett to form Crown Financial Ministries. In 2009, the Lord prompted me to launch Compass-finances God’s way.
I’ve had the privilege of leading more than 65 financial small group studies. In one of those groups everyone had a net worth of $5 million or more. As time went on, it became clear to me that the issues these participants were grappling with differed from those of average income earners. In the environment of the small group, the participants developed very close relationships. Because the discussions were confidential, they became candid with the issues and struggles they were facing.
We assembled a focus group to help develop this study. Some in the group were entrepreneurs who made their money, others inherited money, and still others married money. There were also wealth managers and an extraordinarily capable widow. The focus group met over two-and-a-half years and conducted countless pilot studies to produce this Charting Your Legacy small group study.
1. What did you learn from the Notes that proved especially helpful or challenging?
2. Describe how you will implement what you learned from the Notes.
To help you recognize God’s ownership, transfer the ownership of your possessions to the Lord by using the deed on the following page. This deed is not a legally binding document. It is solely for your use. By completing this deed, you establish a time when you acknowledge God’s ownership which is the foundation of Charting Your Legacy.
Please make sure to download the file to your computer or device before entering data!
The following directions will help you complete the deed:
1. Insert today’s date at the top of the deed. Then print your first name in the space after “From,” because you are transferring ownership.
2. There is a large space following the sentence: “I (we) hereby transfer to the Lord the ownership of the following possessions.” Review your Personal Financial Statement. Then pray about those possessions you wish to acknowledge that God owns, such as your family, residences, business, vehicles, and investments. Write them in the space.
3. In the lower right-hand corner are two blank lines under the heading “Stewards.” This is the space for your signature. If you are married, both you and your spouse should sign. In the lower left-hand corner are four blank lines for the signatures of witnesses. Others in your group will witness your signature to help hold you accountable to recognize the Lord as owner of your possessions.
3. What was the most meaningful part of executing the Deed? Did you find it difficult relinquishing the ownership of any of your possessions to the Lord? If so, what do you think contributed to the challenge?
1. The Financial Stewardship Bible
Created by the American Bible Society in collaboration with Howard Dayton and Compass – finances God’s way. It highlights each of the 2,350 verses dealing with money, and contains a 40-day-devotional addressing finances.
2. God Owns My Business- by Stanley Tamm
3. The Point of Creation Article - John Piper
1Cereal Tycoon, The Biography of Henry Parsons Crowell by Joe Musser.