by Ron Bare
Without a doubt, my favorite moment when flying on a plane is the descent. We’re finally about to land at our destination, whether it is a beautiful beach, a tropical island, or majestic mountains. And every time, I am in awe at the landscape below me. The way that the mountains, forests, oceans, and cities weave together captures all my attention. It’s stunning.
But I soon start to wonder. How do you get down there? Where does that path lead? Are there waterfalls in that forest that I can’t see from up here? What kind of wildlife lives in those mountains? These questions can only be answered on the path, in the forest, in the mountains, on the ground.
Today I want to take you with me to the ground. Last month, we were on the plane, looking at the idea of faithfulness from 10,000 feet in the air – what it means and what things hinder it. But simply talking about faithfulness can leave us lingering with questions about what it truly looks like on the ground, in real life.
As we consider faithfulness practically, we have six big thoughts and then a few practical tips that we believe are beneficial.
First, remember that God owns everything, and we are simply stewards. When we understand that everything we have belongs to the Lord, our heart is naturally drawn toward gratitude and faithfulness.
Second, work is important! God has given each of us resources to manage and they cannot be managed without discipline. Resources will not grow overnight; we must work to increase and invest in them.
Third, find contentment in the time, talent, and treasure God has given to you. Contentment is hard, that’s just the reality of it. Yet when we become content with our resources, how much easier it is to be faithful! We’re not constantly longing for more, promising that when we get just a little bit more, then we will choose to be faithful.
Similarly, be generous with this time, talent, and treasure! Generosity is the overflow of a content heart. When we understand that nothing we have is truly ours and are not longing for more, we will be generous.
Next, grow what God has given to you! In the parable of the talents, we see the master (Jesus) pleased with those servants who have increased what he originally gave them. While the master is gone, the servants are working hard to invest and even double what the master has given them to manage.
Finally, transfer stewardship to the next steward coming after you! Think of the generations to come after you – what can you teach them about stewardship? What have you learned in your lifetime both from successes and mistakes that can be passed on? Are you investing your wisdom into your kids, grandkids, neighbors, friends at church, or employees?
As we consider what faithfulness looks like, we’ve found two key practices that help get our minds and hearts in the right place.
Studying God’s Word and specifically the passages related to money is a great place to start. There are so many passages, and we’ll list a few of them at the bottom of this post!
Additionally, we’d encourage you to begin each day with this prayer – “God, all I have is yours. What would you have me do with the time, talents and treasure that you have placed in my hands?” As you pray this prayer, consider your impressions. Write them down, share them with your spouse or trusted friends, and engage with what God might have you do.
What have you discovered in your time on the ground? What is God asking you to do with what He has entrusted to you?
Fun fact – there are over 2,300 passages relating to money in the Bible! Here are just a few passages to consider when studying what God’s word says about faithfulness, stewardship, and money.
- I Timothy 6:17-19
- Psalm 24:1
- Jesus’ parables (about one third of them have to do with money)
- Matthew 13:44-46
- Matthew 25:14-30
- Luke 12:13-21
- Luke 18:10-14
- Luke 16:1-13
- 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9
- Malachi chapter 3
by Ron Bare
I learned all about hard work growing up on a farm. I understood that the small,
unglamorous jobs had to be done. Yet this didn’t make my first job off the farm much easier. I
was working at a local lumber yard, and my job was to catch wood as it came through the
saw. Exciting, right? One day, my supervisor asked for someone to work outside to unload a
huge truck full of wood, and you better believe I was quick to volunteer! When I was done, no
one was around, so I went to find my supervisor to let him know. He was baffled. It was a
project he thought would take all day, and it had been done in just a few hours. He promoted
me on the spot, and I said goodbye to my lumber-catching role.
I was trusted with catching wood, and then I was trusted with unloading a truck, and
then I was trusted with even more responsibility. As I continued to prove faithful, I was
entrusted with more. And I believe this principle stands true spiritually as well. As Christians,
we are called to be faithful with what God has given us.
Jesus illustrates faithfulness in the parable of the talents – many of you have likely
heard this story found in Matthew 25. In this story, the master left town and entrusted his
possessions to three servants. Two servants invested what they had been given, making
double what they had received by the time the master returned. One servant buried what he
was given, fearful that he may lose it. The master was pleased with both servants who had
multiplied what they’d been given, and displeased with the other.
In this parable, we see the master, who represents Jesus, giving servants talents. After
he returns, he is pleased with those who have multiplied what he left them with. It all
belonged to him in the end; the servants were just stewarding what had been given to them.
Scriptures like Psalm 24:1 remind us of this very reality. All we have is God’s. And all of
these things we’ve been blessed with – finances, family, time, resources, etc. – we’re meant to
manage them in a way that honors Him.
What a tall task. And don’t overlook the fact that many temptations will arise,
encouraging you not to be faithful with your resources, and most of these dress themselves as
fear. We each have fears, especially when it comes to managing money. If I give some away,
will I have enough? What will others think of my financial decisions? Questions like these
will come from everywhere – culture, others, the enemy, and even from ourselves. We must
decide ahead of time that when we feel fearful, we will still choose to be faithful.
And when we choose to be faithful, we might also be led to ask what things God is
asking us to be faithful with. What does this really look like? First, God gives us time. How do
you spend your time? If you examine your time, what can it tell you about what you value?
Second, He gives us talents. What are you doing with the gifts and abilities God has given you?
Are you serving others with the specific giftings you have? Are you pointing back to God when
others praise you for these giftings? Third, He gives us treasure. How does your financial
management point to God?
When we are faithful with the little that He gives us, He entrusts us with more.
Faithfulness is not for the faint of heart. It demands that you recognize God as the
owner of everything you have. Once you acknowledge that, how much easier it is to be
faithful! God’s gifts to each of us in the form of time, talents, and treasure are unbelievable.
Let us thank Him for these gifts through our acts of faithfulness.
This year at Bare, we’ll be focusing on the year of faithfulness. As we provide
excellent wealth management grounded in Biblical wisdom, we have developed resources to
share with you that will help you identify and focus on key areas to grow in faithfulness. We
can’t wait to meet with you and talk about what faithfulness looks like.