I heard an excellent sermon yesterday on the importance of being a good steward (Luke 25:14-30).
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that everything we have comes from God; there are no ‘self-made’ men. We have a responsibility and obligation to do the best that we can with what we have, in order to give glory to God.
I think my favorite part of the sermon was on financial responsibility as Christians. Making sure that we’re spending wisely, investing wisely and paying off our debts. Why? Because when you buy a big house you don’t need, or very expensive cars, and pay 14-22% in interest on the balances on your credit cards, that is money that is being taken away from good works — whether that’s your own church or a charity or ministry that needs your support.
I remember telling my dad when I was a kid that I was going to pay cash for my cars. He laughed and said that I’d never save that much money. And you know what? He was wrong. We paid cash for our car, and the only reason we financed our minivan is because we are earning more interest on our money than it cost to finance.
I have never paid a late fee or finance charge or interest on any of my credit cards. In fact, we only use them because they pay us cash back. We’ve gotten almost $5000 just for using their cards and paying them off every month! Not a bad return on investment.
Some people might say I’m a little overly-conscious of money matters, but that’s largely because of the complete lack of fiduciary understanding I had growing up. I never learned to save, never learned to budget, never learned to be responsible with my money. I didn’t have a good example to follow, as my parents experienced a lot of financial problems throughout my childhood.
When I was 17, Dad tried to help me by taking my paycheck and giving me an allowance so that I could save enough money to buy my first car. And if he hadn’t, I would have frittered it away on worthless stuff. And while it helped me with my short-term goal of buying a car, it didn’t help me to learn responsibility and the importance of self-control.
In my early twenties I learned the importance of budgeting and saving. As a stay-at-home-mom, it’s especially important for me to make every dollar stretch as far as possible. I take this obligation very seriously; if I am a good steward of our household finances, then I will be an asset to my husband, set a good example for my children, and in turn we will be good stewards of all that He has provided to us.
I want to do my best and be able to stand before Him and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”