The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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Financial Fitness: Formulated with Honesty

      Several members of a church where I once served as pastor were members of a local civic organization. At one of the group’s meetings each year, several “Honesty and Integrity” awards were presented to high school students from the community who had been nominated and selected for recognition based on their character and potential for service. While this organization was not promoted as a “Christian” organization, I appreciated the emphasis on honesty and integrity in general and the focus on young people in particular…especially in a society when honesty often seems to be an unpopular and unpracticed quality.                   
      When applied to financial fitness, honesty is of paramount importance for Christians. Why? Because Christians must be honest with themselves and with God by realizing that all that they “own” actually belongs to God. As such, Christians must further recognize that we have been enlisted by God to serve as His stewards. In this role, we have been entrusted by God to manage all that is His in an honest, active, and appropriate manner (Matthew 25). Stewarding what is God’s is not only a privilege and a responsibility, but honest and sincere stewardship is no easy task and one which should not be taken lightly.
      As noted in an earlier article, financial fitness is a continuous journey both in the present and in the future. In the present, we give of our financial means to take care of our family, to enjoy the blessings provided by God, and to support ministry and missions through our church and other avenues.     
      I have preached a message entitled “Why I Quit Tithing.” The focus of this message highlights the practical reality that tithing (10%) should be considered the baseline or starting point for giving in the present. Making the decision to quit merely tithing and to begin offering more than 10% is a life-changing experience as some of you who are reading this article can certainly testify. After all, “The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). [On a side note, I am convinced that if Christians would at least tithe then blessings from God would follow (Malachi 3) and many of the government-supported and subsidized social programs would become increasingly unnecessary as the church has the financial means to expand ministry efforts. Why? Because Christians are offering honest and faithful stewardship of time, talent, and treasure.]
      When quizzed about the lawfulness of paying taxes to the Roman government, Jesus responded “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). When financial fitness is formulated with honesty, then Christian stewards will give to Caesar (i.e. pay taxes) in an honest and appropriate manner. While wise stewardship includes utilizing available tax rules and tools to avoid rendering more than is necessary to Caesar, Christians should use consistent and honest measures in this important area (Deut. 25:13-16).     
      When rendering unto God the things that are God’s, remember that God doesn’t need (or even want) “your” money. Why? Because He already owns everything. The psalmist declared “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and all who dwell in it” (24:1). God owns the “cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10). Rather, God’s greatest desire is to have all of you…as represented by your heart. Loving God “with all your heart” (Matthew 22:37) is the very essence of worship as complete love for God means ascribing to Him what only He is due. Inasmuch as everything you and I do should be an act of worship, then the decisions we make and actions we take regarding finances underscores how we feel about and relate to God. To this end, financial fitness that centers on worshiping God is formulated with honesty and begins with an honest heart. As such, may I submit that an honest heart is a:
  • Reliant Heart as the Christian steward dependence upon God is evidenced by a life highlighted by complete and unwavering trust in Him for life and the provisions of life. The apostle Paul underscored such trust with “And my God shall supply all your needs according to the glory of His riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippian 4:19).
  • Compliant Heart as the Christian steward lives in obedience to the will of God. Rather than seeking to chart one’s own course, the Christian striving toward financial fitness not only follows the example and attitude of Jesus (Matthew 26:42, Philippians 2), but he or she also will “seek first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33) while living “yielded and still, seeking Thy will.” The result will be available resources being utilized with a view toward the heavenly, in humility, for humanity, and through hospitality/generosity.
  • Giant Heart as the Christian steward is “big-hearted” toward others by “putting one’s money where their mouth (or heart) is.” In other words, letting their light shine brightly through generosity and a willingness to help others in a manner that brings glory to God the Father (Matthew 5:16).
  • Suppliant Heart as the Christian steward prays for opportunities to “serve the Lord with gladness in works and ways” with the financial resources that God has entrusted to them. The Christian steward entreats God to “make me a blessing to someone today” through the honest stewardship of everything entrusted to them.


Dear Heavenly Father, may I be an instrument of Your peace through the honest stewardship of everything that has been entrusted to me. May I give myself completely to You…all that I am and all that I have. Like David, will you create in me a clean and honest heart in every area of life including the area of financial stewardship. Amen.