If I were to think through some of the more common personal financial objectives repeated in the church, I am pretty confident of a couple that would rank high on the list. Meaning that, if I were to list the most common financial goals that are often repeated across the nation in financial small groups, seminars, and sermons, I think I know two of the mostly commonly articulated goals. One is a goal most pastors would dream of and the other would be the pursuit of many people seeking stronger financial health. Can you think of what these two might be?
Here are a couple that I hear a lot. Most pastors would love for the entire church to be filled with tithers. Who wouldn’t? The Bible teaches it and if you do the math it is a no brainer for church finances. Most individuals pursuing a stronger financial position would dream of being debt free. Who wouldn’t? The freedom and extra cash would be great. But what if both goals are not to be life pursuits in and of themselves? What if they can unintentionally create shame, guilt, discouragement, or even false gods?
First, let me say that both pursuits are certainly worthwhile, can be supported strongly by scripture, and have immeasurable benefits for people and congregations. They are really good principles that can create great habits. However, what if both goals are kind of wrong or maybe not always the healthiest way to pursue our futures or maybe not always motivated by the highest motives? Again, I am for both, but let me explain some concerns.
Here is what I often see, related to these two goals:
- When it comes to tithing, pastors can speak in terms that lean more towards guilt, shame, and negativity as opposed to promise, hope, and faith.
- When it comes to tithing, pastors can ascertain the church financial challenges are clearly the result of poor giving as opposed to other factors like, overspending, lack of vision clarity, or an absent discipleship plan for generosity.
- When it comes to being debt free, individuals can actually reduce giving today and invest more resources in becoming debt free sooner.
- When it comes to debt free, individuals can feel overwhelmed, discouraged, even hopeless.
As you can see, the pursuit of two very good objectives, can have negative short term experiences. Let me unpack a few thoughts to encourage these pursuits to simply be one of many stepping stones we take on our life journey. Maybe we could think about these money goals to embrace every day.
Money Goal #1: I can be 100% obedient today with all my resources.
Money Goal #2: I can pursue every financial principle in scripture today.
Money Goal #3: I can fully receive every blessing God intends for me to have today as I apply his principles to my finances.
Money Goal #4: I can be more financially free today than ever by following God’s principles.
Money Goal #5: I can be far more generous today than I have ever been.
Money Goal #6: My obedience, freedom, and generosity will not be limited by 10% giving or by my current debt amount.
Those are just a few. Maybe you can think of some on your own. Let’s work on being as helpful as possible to the people we lead. All of God’s principles and freedoms are fully accessible today to everyone. You do not have to wait for another day to receive grace, fulfillment, or freedom. Being a debt free tither will be great one day or maybe it might feel a little empty if we have not learned to release all of God’s goodness in our financial lives. Don’t wait until another day when you hit the 10% tithe or $0 debt to be free.