Money 9: Faith and Financial Planning

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Lesson Text

Scripture reading:

Discussion:

You have reached the end of this Bible Study on Stewardship & Money. We hope you have learned new things and have a greater understanding of who God is and what He expects from us. More than anything, our desire for this Bible study is that you enlarge your dependence on God, seek how to love God and love your neighbor, and invite the Lord into your personal finances.

Of all the stories that were read and considered for this Bible study, the story of Hans Egede, Norwegian missionary to Greenland, stands out as an example of Biblical financial planning. The story plays out in the 1700s.

Hans was a Lutheran minister and was called to leave Norway to re-establish the missionary work in Greenland. He knew of a prior work from the 1500s, and God was calling him to build on whatever remained of it. There was just one problem. His wife was adamant that they not leave Norway. Several years passed, until he finally told his wife that he had to go to Greenland or he would die. She was ready to say yes, and the family assembled a team complete with two ships to sail to Greenland.

All was well, save for a few interesting side stories time does not permit to include. That is, until winter approached. Hans became aware that they did not have enough supplies to last through the winter. At that point, he doubted the call to remain in Greenland. Of all people, it was his wife who convinced him to stay and to take action.

Probably unwittingly although unmistakably by God’s design, their story lays out an approach to Biblical financial planning which Zacchaeus Financial Counseling now uses in our work. Here’s what they did.

1. Counted all their resources and determined the number of days their resources would last before they had to make a decision to sail back to Norway. Hans determined they had 30 days. After that, their resources would only last the voyage back to Norway, and it would be the last opportunity to sail before the shipping lanes froze over.

Here’s why it honors God.

• If we don't know what we need, then how can we know if God is doing anything?
• If we do not know what it is we need from God, then how can we say for sure if God is or is not moving in our lives?
• If my money runs out and I still have bills to pay, my first easy response is to blame God for not being there or call it quits and abandon God’s call.

• Failing to plan leads to an abrupt end to the work when we are caught by surprise as resources run out, leaving no time to seek God or leaving Him out entirely in an impulsive decision.
• Instead, the truth is, I don’t not know how much I need, how much I have, and what it is I need from God.
• A plan clearly states the resources we have, how long those resources will last, and the gaps we need to fill.
• A good plan welcomes God into our lives.

Proper planning leaves room for God to work.

2. With renewed faith from his wife’s encouragement, Hans led the entire camp in prayer over the next 30 days. He committed to pray as long as they had resources and agreed not to leave until it was impossible to stay in Greenland any longer.

• Needs minus resources equal gaps. This was Hans’ basic formula.
• When we know what we need and when we need it, then we can go to God in prayer to help us fill the gaps.
• Only when we know our gaps can we bring our needs to God in prayer and have the ability to trust Him.
• When we know that we have a need and when that need will come, we can set a regular prayer regimen.
• Prayer lays up treasure in heaven, so it will be there when I need it.
• Prayer helps me get in tune with God, not just for what I need but also for what God wants to do with me.
• Much prayer is pleasing to God, and the benefits of pleasing God with our lives go far beyond the need we have today.
• A good plan gets us praying.

Proper planning helps us know how to pray and gets us praying.

3. With his newly strengthened faith, they could believe that, despite what might happen, God was trustworthy. Their faith became the springboard for deeper trust in God and would ultimately enable them to face bigger circumstances.

• When we know what we need and when we need it, we can learn how to trust God through faith to meet the need.
• As we see God work and fill our needs, our faith grows stronger.
• A strong faith is pleasing to God and helps us in our work for God.
• A good plan gets us working for God.

Proper planning builds our faith.

4. Before the 30 days ended, a ship with fresh supplies came into the harbor. As it turns out, the king of Norway was also a Christian and knew of their voyage. He knew they would need supplies for the winter and commanded that a ship set sail to ensure they could stay in Greenland through the winter.

• God’s timing is not ours. Careful planning, regular prayer and faith and trust in God align our will with His.
• God often wants to be at work in our lives, but He is sidelined by our decisions not to include Him, open the door to Him, or leave room for Him to work.
• When we allow room for God to work in our personal finances, lean on Him in faith, and trust Him in prayer, then and only then can we see Him at work.
• When we plan for the best use of our money and trust God for the gaps, then we can praise God when the needs are met.
• When we praise God, others learn about who God is.
• As others see what God is doing in our lives, they want what you have, and the gospel can take root in more lives.
• When God shows up in big ways, our faith grows, and we pray more.
• A strong faith is a bright witness in the world.
• A praying person lays the groundwork for God to move.
• A good plan gives God the glory.
• We know God desires to receive glory through us. Let it not be said of us that God did not work in our lives because He would get no glory.

Proper planning helps us see how God is moving.

Proper planning gives God the glory.

Proper planning can be a tool for spreading the gospel and bringing others into the kingdom of heaven.

5. It is here that we can contrast some modern situations. A medical missionary in Appalachia commented to Zacchaeus Financial Counseling that many people rack up credit card debt to cover their monthly expenses and are otherwise unwise in their use of money. The doctor commented that these same people express a belief in God and that God is going to one day make it all right.

• Is God going to work in a situation where He will get no glory?
• How can we give God any glory if we leave no room for Him to work or are not looking to Him to do anything?
• God desires the glory from situations such as the story of Hans Egede, and He desires that we deepen our faith and trust in Him.
• Even if God did show up among the people the doctor described, they would have no idea God was doing anything. (What motivation does God have to work in a situation like that? How would the person benefit spiritually from God’s providence if they didn’t know it was God?)

• When we have a plan for our money, it is the launching pad to be faithful stewards of what God has given us.
• A plan that follows the Bible makes sure that no resources are wasted and that all resources are put to their best use.
• A plan that follows the Bible puts the most possible money at work in the ministry of the kingdom of heaven.
• A plan that follows the Bible helps teach your children how to handle money and how to be good stewards.
• A good plan honors God.

Proper planning helps us honor God with our money and fulfill the commandments to love God and love our neighbor.

If you do not have a plan for your money, are you praying? Are you trusting? Can you be sure you are honoring God? Are you loving God? Are you loving your neighbor? How do you know if you are fulfilling either of the two greatest commandments?


Closing challenge:

What we do with faith determines what we do with money, but what we
do with money can seriously undermine our faith.


Don’t forget to contact us to schedule your free consultation which comes with this Bible Study on Stewardship & Money.

Also take a moment to check out Zacchaeus Financial Counseling’s e-book.