K. Barton is president & CEO of Assemblies of God
Financial Services Group. He recently shared with Today’s
Pentecostal Evangel key principles for making the
most out of the material resources God gives.
is the biblical approach to using money?
It can be summed up in the simple theme of “sowing
and reaping.” The biblical principle of sowing
and reaping is not taught often enough — worse
yet, it has sometimes been rendered impotent. Pastors
sometimes shy away from this profound stewardship principle
because of excesses from “name it and claim it”
teachers who emphasize reaping as the end rather than
the means to enable the believer to do more sowing (Luke
are some other ways people ignore the biblical view
In our culture moderation is a virtue of the distant
past. What is moderation? Let me suggest some alternate
definitions that should fit everyone: (1) not buying
something you want and can afford, or (2) spending less
than you make. Pick the one that fits you and practice
obsessed with money, thinking it will make them happy.
Unfortunately, money and possessions never bring happiness;
they only weigh us down on life’s journey. Pilgrims
should always travel light. Who is our focus? Where
is our heart? What is our treasure? Where your treasure
is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). Too
often we hang onto possessions to provide comfort and
security here on earth. If we can shift our focus to
storing up treasures in heaven, we can do both —
have treasures here on earth that won’t be lost
and a treasure in heaven that is stored up for us (Matthew
about setting financial goals in life? Is there a place
in the believer’s life for that kind of focus?
It is empowering
to be goal-oriented. However, if our goals are all about
getting, achieving and accomplishing, we are missing
out on one of the most empowering exercises in goal
setting — goals for giving. Every church, every
family and every individual should set financial and
stewardship giving goals and “write them on the
doorframes of [our] houses” (Deuteronomy 6:9,
those goals are in place, how can they be achieved?
There is an unfortunate lack of discipline in stewardship
matters. Lack of discipline is a major impediment to
extravagant stewardship. All the good stewardship intentions
in the world translate into frustration without discipline.
Tracking expenditures, trimming expenses, living within
a budget, saving and tithing are basic financial disciplines
that allow us to translate biblical stewardship into
can Christians who are materially blessed reconcile
that blessing with the plight of the poor?
Some have concluded that a vow of poverty provides the
spiritual antidote to a stingy spirit. God’s Word
never says enjoying wealth is a sin. Instead, those
who are wealthy are commanded to be generous and willing
to share (1 Timothy 6:17-19). This means that if you
have two tunics and you meet someone who has none, you
should be left with one by the end of the day (Luke
Extravagant stewardship doesn’t take place in
the life of a believer or a congregation overnight.
It can only start by a disciplined effort to remove
the roadblocks that get in our way.
reminds us that it is all about eternity. Giving reminds
us that we exist for God’s good pleasure. Sacrificial
giving is a joyful surrender to God’s agenda.
Extravagant stewardship creates a chain of blessing
that brings us joy today, security tomorrow, and treasures
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