A recent advertisement by a leading seminary pictured stacks of money and piles of coins under the heading, “It’s put more Christians at stake than Nero.” The ad went on to state, “Throughout history, countless Christians have fallen victim to the power of money. So if you’re struggling to find the balance between finance and faith, remember this. Real security is not a matter of what’s in your pockets, but who’s in your heart.”
That’s good advice, isn’t it? Real security — God-given security — comes not from money or alarm systems, but from God and God alone. But the difficulty in finding the balance between finance and faith extends far beyond that seminary or its advertising. It cuts to the very core of why the “Effective Stewardship” program exists. This program, in fact, is an attempt to provide assistance to churches in finding a balance between finance and faith.
Most pastors preach with ease on the “time” or “talents” aspects of total stewardship. However, when it comes to money, well — that’s another story. And the reason is usually that those of us sitting comfortably in the pew have created an untenable situation for pastors when it comes to providing instruction about financial matters. Sure, we realize that Jesus talked a lot about money, material possessions and giving. And we know there are a lot of verses in the Bible about the same topics. But we don’t want our pastor preaching on money. Or how to handle material possessions. Or on giving. That just doesn’t seem very “spiritual.”
As a result, in many churches, a de-emphasis on finance and faith has been going on for two or three generations. In reality, the scale of total stewardship is badly tilted to one side, away from financial matters, so that a balance between finance and faith simply doesn’t exist.
The “Effective Stewardship” program provides a means to utilize the Scriptures as a low-key, yet powerful force in bringing the scale of total stewardship back into balance. Thus, if someone expresses concern about the direction or emphasis of the “Effective Stewardship” program in your church, encourage them to be patient. Changing the tilt of the scale is never easy, but it’s really worth the effort required in order to find a balance between finance and faith.